It looked like Citigroup and its wayward executives might finally get their due. Or so I thought until I read the submissions in the case and did some further reporting. The S.E.C. may have been lucky to get what it did. It’s a textbook example of why it’s hard to hold anyone legally accountable for the financial crisis. You can’t fault the agency for not trying — it spent four years digging into Citigroup’s mortgage derivatives operation. If anything, the S.E.C. might be criticized for being too aggressive, using its considerable power to extract a settlement in a case whose weaknesses, if it finally goes to trial, will probably become readily apparent.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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