Saturday, October 18, 2008

SEC to accuse Bear Stearns of mismarking assets?

Here's the link and the the story:

s the SEC preparing to accuse Bear Stearns of intentionally mispricing assets to avoid taking write-offs? That's what is suggested in a story that shows up on Google as being published an hour ago by the Wall Street Journal. The actual story, however, doesn't appear on the Journal's site.

We called the apparent author, Kara Scannell, to ask her about the story. She couldn't immediately explain what was happening.

Here's our theory. The SEC may be preparing to announce its findings of Bear Stearns misdeeds. They've leaked the story to Scannell ahead of time, and Scannell agreed to embargo the story until it was officially released. Somehow it wound up in the Wall Street Journal's feed, however, and got picked up by Google. We don't know that for sure, of course. It just seems like a plausible explanation.

A previous case against Bear was thrown out because of the personal relationship of the lawyers involved.

In one of several scathing reports released in recent weeks, the Securities and Exchange Commission's inspector general said that a senior SEC official closed a long-running case against Bear Stearns amid an "ongoing personal relationship" with the lawyer representing Bear in the matter, who was a former colleague at the SEC.

It's not just Bear Stearns with their marks on the assets that were on their books. We'll soon find out if the Federal Reserve is mis-marking assets also. On October 23, they come out with the marks on Bear Stearn's toxic assets that they took on their balance sheet!

It used to be that those that "mis-marked" assets could use the Dick Fuld defence. Anybody care to use that now?

Maybe they can appeal to the Federal Reserve!

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