In a highly unusual meeting, Eric Holder the US Attorney General met with Jamie Dimon JPMorgan’s CEO late last week to discuss how JPMorgan could get off the fraud hook once and for all.
Of course that wasn’t the way either of the men couched the meeting. Holder is keen to highlight his efforts (well not really efforts) to bring the big banks to heel. Dimon wants to look the big shot, but a respectful big shot. Neither man wants the negotiations to end with anyone going to jail.
Why? It’s obvious why Dimon wants to avoid talk of jail time. But why does Holder want to avoid slapping the cuffs on a few of the big time fraudsters?
Simple. He knows these guys. Heck, he’s defended many of them in private practice. Most importantly he wants to defend them again once he’s no longer the Attorney General.
But if he’s too aggressive even now after having let the banks off nearly scott free for years, he could screw that payday up. Holder won’t do that.
The Attorney General has done a good job of deflecting attention from Wall Street during a time which could have ended with guillotine blades falling and banker blood everywhere.
Holder has effectively kept the villagers at bay and the banks are very grateful. They will pay him. But now before he leaves at the end of this year for the green pastures of K Street, he must show to those who don’t know better that he was an effective prosecutor, so cue the kabuki with Jamie Dimon.
It only makes him more desirable as a corporate defense attorney next year.
It should also be noted that though Holder and the Obama administration have been good to Wall Street, Wall Street supported Romney more than Obama in 2012. In 2008 Obama was rolling Wall Street money but saw less of it the second go-round. Holder’s recent efforts are probably meant to keep Wall Street on its toes, to remind them that Obama isn’t a lame duck just yet, and that the White House hasn’t forgotten that the bankers overwhelmingly supported the opposition in the last election.
(From The Washington Post)
Even at $11 billion or more, the bank would be paying just a fraction of the damage it wreaked on mortgage investors, government agencies and homeowners. And a deal might ensure that no senior executives go to jail, which some experts say would let Wall Street avoid full responsibility.