David Mandl on Tue, 25 Mar 2003 19:26:42 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Quick note on Weill, Spitzer, and the N.Y.S.E.

However you feel about New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's 
motives in his prosecution of Wall St. criminals, you've got to 
admire the guy.  He may merely be grandstanding (with his eye on a 
higher political office), and naturally he's been ignoring deeper 
Wall St. issues while focusing on the prosecution of high-profile 
bogeymen like Jack Grubman, but the guy just keeps drawing blood.

The latest: Sandy Weill, the C.E.O. of Citibank, was recently 
nominated as "a director to represent public investors on the board" 
of the New York Stock Exchange.  He withdrew his nomination a few 
days later after a public outcry, mainly from Spitzer, who said:

"I can think of few people less-suited to represent the public 
interest on the New York Stock Exchange board than Sandy Weill.  His 
company is paying one of the largest fines in history for 
perpetrating one of the largest frauds on the investing public. To 
imagine he should be the voice of the small investor is ludicrous."

I was stunned to read this, even though it's so painfully obvious. 
The fact is that even though Citibank has just been fined a 
staggering $400 million for defrauding investors (with Weill directly 
implicated in the chicanery, incidentally), the "public perception" 
of them really hasn't changed at all.  This is just not the kind of 
thing government officials say publicly about the head of Citibank. 
It was great to read it on the front page of the Wall St. Journal.


Dave Mandl

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