I am shocked that you're shocked

By Cassandra*

It is undoubtedly all over the web, the news reported by Bloomberg that The (aptly named) Galleon's been hit sending her and her booty plummeting to the icy depths. Her buccaneering skipper's been taken prisoner and is presently in irons (along with friends and friends of friends). I think this is most excellent, even if it is only a small flesh wound to the crony form capitalism. Cynics will argue that it's all show. The current administration is no different - just look at Geithner's mates. Perhaps Raj just didn't donate enough (though this is admittedly a long-shot). And they may be right. But appearances - the vigour with which laws (both letter and spirit) are enforced (and, when things go, or are likely to go awry, made!) ARE important, if only to get the working man out of bed in the morning. The so-called "free-money", so clearly pegged to the wrong price, during the eight years of the Bush Admin, is finally getting priced.

Samberg got away (under the SECs catch & release program) . Cassano remains unindicted (where does one start? ummm asset freezes, tar & feathering, for starters?). Martha Stewart got spanked (hard), but little more. Innumerable traders, hedge fund managers, even entire mutual fund groups use dubious weight-of-money strategies, subvert the market by goosing the marks of existing positions - monthly, quarterly, annually, while corporations continue to surf the line of the ethical to hit numbers, subvert competition - in vain attempts to emulate Raj, or just make a few extra bucks to keep the balls of an unsustainable way of life in the air. The system is built upon it. However, mark my words: rooting out less-than-salubrious market behaviour will promote entropy and make the market more efficient to the long-term benefit of the greater good. But before big-swinging over-zealous shorts start, as Harvey Keitel warned as "The Cleaner" in Pulp Fiction, s*ckin;' each others' d*cks", they should take heed that entropy works both ways, and those who employ similar tactics should similarly be culpable (were I Sheriff).

But the most incredulous thing I read in the article was:

“My client is shocked and distraught,” said Kerry Lawrence, Moffat’s lawyer, in an interview in court today. He said his client learned only this morning of the U.S. investigation.

Yes, I am shocked that you're shocked. A Fraud. A Cheat. Call him (and especially Raj, who to his small credit issued no statement of being "shocked") what you will. Or wait til after the trial or plea-bargain and then throw mud. Next, use your imagination to extrapolate across The Street where even the cornerstone - "plausible deniability" - has seemingly been flaunted of late. But however you look at news of Raj's outing, it is a good day for honesty. Integrity may just have rallied a touch.

*not her real name. Cassandra is an investment banker who authors the blog Cassandra does Tokyo.


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