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January 08, 2010

Trouble for Geithner? TARP IG Barofsky Has Open Investigation

Posted in: Bailout,Financial Crisis,Tim Geithner

TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky

TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky

HuffPo reports that TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky has an open investigation into allegations that Tim Geithner ordered AIG to make material misstatements on an 8-K filing.

The matter is the subject of an “ongoing review” by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), communications director Kristine Belisle said in an e-mail to the Huffington Post. SIGTARP is headed by Neil M. Barofsky, a former federal prosecutor.

Barofsky is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney from the Southern District of New York. I don’t know him personally, but he enjoys an excellent reputation in financial crime investigation — which may be why he was named to his current role.

There was a lot of speculation about whether New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo or the Department of Justice would go after Geithner. Life’s a little tricky right now for Cuomo, who is waiting for a graceful way to enter New York’s gubernatorial race. He may feel some discomfort going after an Obama cabinet member at a time when he really needs Obama’s political support. There are no indications that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is gunning for any of his fellow Cabinet members, either. But Barofsky does not have conflicting considerations. Following the facts and the law on allegations of fraud in connection with TARP is exactly his portfolio.

It helps that Barofsky has the investigative chops to do a good job at this.

While at the DOJ’s SDNY, Barofsky was a Senior Trial Counsel heading the Mortgage Fraud Group.  The same group investigated and prosecuted all aspects of mortgage fraud, from retail mortgage fraud cases to investigations involving potential securities fraud with respect to collateralized debt obligations.

Perhaps Barofsky, the perfect guy with the perfect qualifications and the perfect mandate might actually do something about the alleged conspiracy to make material misstatements. Maybe something will actually come of this?

Dunno, I’m off to do a timeline of those emails between AIG and the NY Fed.


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