Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why The NY Fed Prevented AIG Bailout Documents From Being Released. GS Had $17B in CDOs. Would It Have Survived?

Bloomberg reports a shocking article today.

At the congressional panel hearing last month Representative Darrel Issa presented a 5 page document showing and itemizing the mortgage securities on which banks had bought $62.1B in credit-default swaps from AIG. This has apparently slipped below the radar. Incredibly, it is so outrageous.

Says the article:

"These were the deals that pushed the insurer to the brink of insolvency -- and were eventually paid in full at taxpayer expense. The New York Fed, which secretly engineered the bailout, prevented the full publication of the document for more than a year, even when AIG wanted it released".

"The document Issa made public cuts to the heart of the controversy over the September 2008 AIG rescue by identifying specific securities, known as collateralized-debt obligations, that had been insured with the company. The banks holding the credit-default swaps, a type of derivative, collected collateral as the insurer was downgraded and the CDOs tumbled in value.
The public can now see for the first time how poorly the securities performed, with losses exceeding 75 percent of their notional value in some cases. Compounding this, the document and Bloomberg data demonstrate that the banks that bought the swaps from AIG are mostly the same firms that underwrote the CDOs in the first place".

“It’s almost too uncanny,” Calacci says. “If these banks had insight into the underlying loans because they had relationships with banks, originators or servicers, that’s at the least unethical.”
The identification of securities in the document, known as Schedule A, and data compiled by Bloomberg show that Goldman Sachs underwrote $17.2 billion of the $62.1 billion in CDOs that AIG insured -- more than any other investment bank. Merrill Lynch & Co., now part of Bank of America Corp., created $13.2 billion of the CDOs, and Deutsche Bank AG underwrote $9.5 billion.

These tallies suggest a possible reason why the New York Fed kept so much under wraps, Professor James Cox of Duke University School of Law says: “They may have been trying to shield Goldman -- for Goldman’s sake or out of macro concerns that another investment bank would be at risk.”

One can only say "wow". What would ahve happened to GS had AIG not been bailed out. Why was Mr. Paulon was so desperate to get these bailouts going at the time?

Just too outrageous.

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