Charlie Gasparino’s latest column at the NY Post explains why this rightfully hasn’t happened:
Most of what went on in the buildup to the 2008 financial crisis wasn’t criminal fraud as much as it was a collective bout of greed and stupidity — aided and abetted by years of government rescues that gave big-firm CEOs every reason to believe there was no real downside risk.
Gasparino says the SEC is under pressure to prosecute someone at Lehman Brothers, but that they would have a hard time proving criminal activity even by Dick Fuld:
The problem’s obvious to anyone who’s studied the last 30 years of the government’s repeated assistance of Wall Street risk-taking. In 1994 and again in ’98, Lehman faced vast losses and possible death because it was holding toxic debt — and the feds stepped in and bailed out its losses with cheap money and/or a directly engineered a bailout.
As for the accounting gimmick Lehman used just before its ’08 implosion, it was approved by the firm’s auditor, Ernst & Young — which OK’d it because other firms had used similar techniques to mitigate losses, without a peep from regulators.
In other words, Fuld really did think Lehman would survive — because in the past, with the help of the feds, it had.