Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Probe the NYSE (again)?

New York Post columnist John Crudele, reacting to Dick Grasso taking the Fifth, suggests today that prosecutors initiate a criminal investigation of the New York Stock Exchange.

"Let's see whether illegal activity was condoned under Grasso's watch," says Crudele, who has been doggedly following NYSE floor-trading improprieties for some years.

Actually the operative term is "re-initiate," as there have been both civil and criminal proceedings involving the NYSE in recent years. The paper trail is pretty clear on just what happened, as I describe in Wall Street Versus America, and that means only one thing: Absolutely nothing is going to happen.

Still, as long as we're talking about stuff that isn't going to happen, why limit such a theoretical criminal probe to the Grasso era?

There's considerable evidence that floor trading improprieties go back quite a few years, and occurred during the administration of his predecessor, ex-SEC chairman Bill Donaldson. Why not probe the Donaldson era? Or his predecessors? (I know, I know... statute of limitations and all that.... Still, I can ask, can't I?)

Meanwhile I really wish Spitzer would stop wasting state resources with this silly Grasso litigation. There are so many other investor and consumer issues of greater importance, as anyone who has ever rented an apartment in New York City can attest.

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Wall Street Versus America will be published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.

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