Department Of Justice Sues Standard & Poor's Over Mortgage Crisis - Is Moody's Next?

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued McGraw-Hill (NYSE:MHP) subsidiary Standard & Poor's (S&P) late Monday for alleged illegal behavior in conjunction with the 2008 financial crisis. According to Reuters, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the civil suit seeks more than $5 billion in damages.

The DOJ Charges
The Wall Street Journal reported that the lawsuit alleges S&P ignored its own internal standards in rating mortgage bonds, or CDOs, which precipitated a financial crisis, costing investors billions of dollars.

The Department of Justice's action is the first by a federal agency against a major credit rating agency over alleged illegal behavior connected to the financial crisis.

S&P's Response
S&P issued a statement in response to the government's action which said, "A DOJ lawsuit would be entirely without factual or legal merit. It would disregard the central facts that S&P reviewed the same subprime mortgage data as the rest of the market - including U.S. government officials who in 2007 publicly stated that problems in the subprime market appeared to be contained - and that every CDO that DOJ has cited to us also independently received the same rating from another rating agency."

S&P's attorney, Floyd Abram, partner at the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel, in a CNBC interview on Tuesday said, "There was no fraud. The ratings that were issued were believed by the people that issued them."

Abram added, "The organization was trying its best to come out with answers at a time when answers were very difficult to come by."

"The government," Abram said, "doesn't have to show that people lost money, they have to show that S&P literally disbelieved its ratings. There is no proof of that, because it isn't so."

Abram pointed out that the ratings issued by S&P were identical to those issued by other ratings agencies and echoed the views on risk held by government agencies and officials at the time.

"I don't think we should be involved, and I don't think Moody's (NYSE:MCO) should be charged," Abram said, although he acknowledges he has no knowledge of Moody's actions prior to the financial crisis.

Not a Pretty Picture
The government's lawsuit against S&P paints a sordid picture of a company that knowingly misled investors and was more concerned about making money than about accurate ratings.

The suit says S&P delayed updating its ratings models, rushed through the ratings process and was fully aware that the subprime market was in trouble, even as it gave high ratings to investments built on shaky subprime mortgages.

The evidence includes a 2007 video of one analyst singing and dancing to a tune about the deterioration of the subprime market, with colleagues laughing.

The Moody's Question
When asked whether the fact that rival agency, Moody's, is not being sued indicates that the government is punishing S&P for its downgrade of the U.S. economy in 2011, Abram refused to speculate. He did say, however, that "the intensity of the investigation" into the agency's bond ratings "significantly increased" after S&P downgraded the U.S. government's credit rating in 2011.

Anthony Sabino, a professor at St. John's University's Peter J. Tobin College of Business, told Forbes that the DOJ lawsuit was "part of the federal government's continued effort to 'round up' anybody and everybody allegedly culpable in the financial crisis."

The Bottom Line
Does this mean Moody's is next? Forbes points out that S&P argues that it wasn't alone in giving insufficient ratings to toxic mortgage assets. BTIG Research expects more action from the government, saying that while agencies like Moody's and Fitch have been able to avoid a lot of litigation so far, that could change as the federal authorities feel more pressure to prosecute.



More From Investopedia

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • Russia jails leader of banned nationalist group
    Russia jails leader of banned nationalist group AFP News - 49 minutes ago

    A Russian court on Wednesday sentenced ultranationalist politician Alexander Belov, a former leader of a banned anti-immigration movement, to seven and a half years in prison for extremism and money laundering. Belov was formerly coordinator of the … More »

  • Euro area banks see net profit fall 20 percent in first quarter - ECB
    Euro area banks see net profit fall 20 percent in first quarter - ECB Reuters - 59 minutes ago

    Euro area banks saw their profits fall by a fifth in the first three months of this year as they made less money from trading and most other business areas, European Central Bank data showed on Wednesday. The ECB survey painted a gloomy picture, … More »

  • U.S. crude down 3 percent after big stockpile build report
    U.S. crude down 3 percent after big stockpile build report Reuters - 1 hour 2 minutes ago

    Oil prices tumbled on Wednesday, with U.S. crude falling about 3 percent, after an unexpectedly large inventory build in the world's biggest oil consumer renewed worries about oversupply. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported … More »

  • Defensive stocks take Wall Street lower ahead of Fed
    Defensive stocks take Wall Street lower ahead of Fed Reuters - 1 hour 3 minutes ago

    Wall Street was lower on Wednesday, led by declines in technology and defensive stocks as investors weighed up the possibility of a rate hike in the coming months. The market is awaiting Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech in Jackson Hole, … More »

  • European equities mainly rise on German GDP
    European equities mainly rise on German GDP AFP News - 1 hour 10 minutes ago

    European stock markets made limited gains Wednesday after a downbeat session in Asia, with sentiment partly lifted by German economic growth data. Strong foreign trade and buoyant consumption drove Germany's economy, Europe's largest, to … More »

  • European stocks rebound as euro slips; oil tumbles
    European stocks rebound as euro slips; oil tumbles Reuters - 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    By Hilary Russ NEW YORK (Reuters) - European stocks scored consecutive daily gains for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday, drawing support from a weak euro, but U.S. and Canadian stocks drifted ... … More »

  • Oil slides on surprise jump in US crude stockpiles AFP - 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    Oil prices slumped Wednesday as a surprise jump in US crude stockpiles added to lingering concerns over a global supply glut. The US Department of Energy said commercial inventories of US crude grew by ... … More »

  • Global Markets - European stocks rebound as euro slips; oil tumbles
    Global Markets - European stocks rebound as euro slips; oil tumbles Reuters - 1 hour 20 minutes ago

    European stocks scored consecutive daily gains for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday, drawing support from a weak euro, but U.S. and Canadian stocks drifted down as lower metal and oil prices weighed on the materials sector. On a light day … More »

  • FTSE underperforms European peers, miners hinder
    FTSE underperforms European peers, miners hinder Reuters - 1 hour 41 minutes ago

    Britain's blue-chip share index retreated on Wednesday, underperforming its European peers, as a sharp drop in metals prices put pressure on the mining sector and South Africa-exposed stocks fell as the rand slipped. Glencore GLEN.L was down 3.1 … More »

  • Up 57 percent, Britain's inflation-linked gilt tops all bonds in 2016 Reuters - 1 hour 49 minutes ago

    The longest-dated UK government index-linked gilt has been the best performing government bond of 2016 as investors scramble to buy inflation protection in the wake of Britain's shock decision to leave the European Union. The UK government's 0.125 … More »

  • Stocks edge lower as mining and materials companies slip
    Stocks edge lower as mining and materials companies slip Associated Press - 1 hour 50 minutes ago

    Stocks are edging lower in midday trading on Wall Street on Wednesday, led by drops in mining and materials companies, giving back a modest increase from the day before. The declines were light but broad ... … More »

  • Sensors, other devices can help prevent hot car deaths
    Sensors, other devices can help prevent hot car deaths Associated Press - 1 hour 56 minutes ago

    Hot cars are a danger to children, particularly in a sweltering summer like this one. There are some devices on the market — built into cars as well as child seats — that can help prevent kids from being ... … More »

  • Markets Right Now: US stocks edge lower at midday Associated Press - 2 hours 1 minute ago

    The latest on developments in global financial markets (all times local): 11:45 a.m. Stocks are moving slightly lower in midday trading on Wall Street as the market gives back a modest gain from the day ... … More »

  • China’s Shadow Finance Is Reminiscent of Pre-Crisis U.S.: Q&A Bloomberg - 2 hours 2 minutes ago

    The nation has at most about 18 months before this funding -- derived largely from wealth-management products offering higher returns on riskier underlying investments -- hits a wall, says Wright, director of China markets strategy for New … More »

  • New PBOC Money-Market Tactic Has Traders Trying to Decode Signal Bloomberg - 2 hours 3 minutes ago

    The People’s Bank of China sold 50 billion yuan ($7.5 billion) of 14-day reverse-repurchase agreements on Wednesday, its first offering of anything with a tenor other than seven days since February. Officials are signaling they’re ready to curb … More »

  • Italy quake unlikely to trigger 200 mln euro cat-bond default
    Italy quake unlikely to trigger 200 mln euro cat-bond default Reuters - 2 hours 6 minutes ago

    A powerful earthquake in Italy on Wednesday is unlikely to force UnipolSai's 200 million euro ($226 mln) catastrophe bond into default as the bond has low exposure to the affected region, the Italian insurer said. The earthquake devastated a string … More »

  • Glencore’s Worst Profit Shows Miners Still Reeling From Rout (1) Bloomberg - 2 hours 7 minutes ago

    Weak raw-material prices caused profit at the commodities giant to plunge 66 percent in the first half to $300 million. The shares dropped 3.1 percent in London even as Glencore promised to cut debt even further and said it may resume paying … More »

  • Syria rebels backed by Turkish tanks 'seize' IS-held town
    Syria rebels backed by Turkish tanks 'seize' IS-held town AFP News - 2 hours 9 minutes ago

    Turkish tanks and hundreds of opposition fighters thrust deep inside Syrian territory Wednesday in a lightning operation that within hours ousted Islamic State jihadists from a key Syrian border town. The air and ground offensive -- the most … More »

  • TABLE-INDONESIA KPB NUSANTARA PALM OIL PRICES - Aug 24 Reuters - 2 hours 15 minutes ago

    Aug 23 (Reuters) - Following are Indonesian prices for crude palm oil (CPO) quoted at an auction by PT KPB Nusantara (formerly known as the state marketing centre) on Monday. Buyer Volume Price Terms (tonnes) ... … More »

  • RUBBER-Tokyo futures prices after evening session Aug 24 Reuters - 2 hours 16 minutes ago

    Following are prices for Tokyo rubber futures at the end of the Tokyo market's evening session on Aug 2016. Contract Day Volume Evening Volume * Aug 162.5 26 157.6 4 * Sep 160.2 33 158.5 1 * Oct 160.0 ... … More »

  • Copper Drops to Erase Year’s Gains on LME as China Imports Slide Bloomberg - 2 hours 25 minutes ago

    Glencore Plc, the top copper supplier, fell after reporting profit declined by two-thirds. Copper for delivery in three months fell for a fourth day, declining 1.4 percent to $4,641 a ton ($2.105 a pound) at 4:33 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange … More »

  • Nigeria's Central Bank bans 9 local banks from trading forex Associated Press - 2 hours 39 minutes ago

    Nigeria's Central Bank has banned nine local banks from trading in foreign exchange, accusing them of withholding $2.1 billion in government funds and "round-tripping" to profit from a devalued ... … More »

  • Why has Turkey launched an operation against IS in Syria?
    Why has Turkey launched an operation against IS in Syria? AFP News - 2 hours 48 minutes ago

    Turkey launched its most ambitious operation of the Syrian conflict on Wednesday with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying it targeted the double threat from Islamic State extremists and Syrian Kurdish militias. Turkey says the air and ground … More »

  • Kuroda Money-Go-Round Undercuts Japan’s Negative-Rate Windfall Bloomberg - 3 hours ago

    Japan’s Ministry of Finance made about 110 billion yen ($1.1 billion) more in the year to April than it would have if yields had been zero, according to Bloomberg calculations. This money-go-round shows how intertwined the finances of the BOJ and … More »

  • Mobius Says Helicopter Money Will Be Japan’s Next Big Experiment Bloomberg - 3 hours ago

    Haruhiko Kuroda decides to act. Helicopter money is coming, says Mark Mobius, even as soon as next month. For Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, traditional easing measures have just made people save instead of spend … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.1290.0000.00%
    N21.SI
    0.250.00-1.96%
    5ME.SI
    0.60+0.04+6.57%
    5TP.SI
    0.99-0.02-1.98%
    Y92.SI
    0.156+0.007+4.70%
    AFC.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.30+0.06+22.45%
    T18.SI
    0.15+0.02+15.38%
    5TI.SI
    0.225+0.025+12.50%
    Y35.SI
    0.51+0.05+12.09%
    BHU.SI
    0.162+0.017+11.72%
    QS9.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.011-0.115-91.27%
    QF6.SI
    0.23-0.17-42.50%
    AWI.SI
    0.205-0.055-21.15%
    I06.SI
    0.45-0.10-18.18%
    BFK.SI
    0.385-0.085-18.09%
    E8Z.SI

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.3547+0.0034+0.25%
    USDSGD=X
    1.5254-0.0016-0.10%
    EURSGD=X
    1.7930+0.0103+0.58%
    GBPSGD=X
    74.1430+0.034+0.05%
    SGDJPY=X
    5.7224-0.0131-0.23%
    SGDHKD=X
    2.9782+0.0024+0.08%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,781.1465-35.5576-0.36%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9122-0.0012-0.02%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.0315+0.0026+0.25%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,329.50-16.60-1.23%
    GCZ16.CMX
    18.53-0.39-2.07%
    SIU16.CMX
    97.75-6.14-5.91%
    ^XAU
    2.08-0.03-1.61%
    HGU16.CMX
    46.77-1.33-2.77%
    CLV16.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.14-0.01
    ^FVX
    1.550.00
    ^TNX
    2.240.00
    ^TYX