Posted on July 20 2012 – 10:00 AM – Posted by: Doug Brady
Tim Geithner had evidence of a financial crime of epic proportion — so he wrote a memo.
That’s about the only way you can sum up the then-New York Fed boss’ actions several years ago, when he was confronted with fairly compelling evidence that banks under his direct supervision were manipulating Libor — a key benchmark of global finance.
The Libor scandal has become pretty big news, with Barclays ousting its CEO and agreeing to pay a large fine even as it cooperates with civil and criminal law-enforcement authorities now investigating other big banks.
But it doesn’t end there: There’s also evidence that top regulators, including Geithner, now Treasury secretary, knew about and largely ignored the mess.
On Friday, the New York Fed released documents that supposedly exonerate Geithner. Selective leaks to friendly news outlets ensured kind first-day coverage, with one headline reading “Geithner tried to curb bank’s rate rigging in 2008.”
But that’s a bizarrely generous read of Geithner’s action (or inaction) on learning that Barclays actually admitted to one of his investigators that it had submitted false data for the computation of Libor, and that other banks were doing the same.