Bank Bosses Should Leave After 'Massive Fraud', Filmmaker Says at Cannes
Comment of the Day

May 18 2010

Commentary by David Fuller

Bank Bosses Should Leave After 'Massive Fraud', Filmmaker Says at Cannes

This is an interesting article by Farah Nayeri for Bloomberg. Here is the opening
The chief executives of U.S. investment banks that led to the financial crisis should be removed from their jobs, a documentary shown at the Cannes Film Festival advocates.

"Inside Job," directed by filmmaker Charles Ferguson, says Wall Street bosses should be as accountable as those executives who were imprisoned for the collapse of U.S. savings-and-loans institutions.

"I think it's inexcusable that they still have their jobs," said Ferguson in a Cannes interview. "There haven't yet been adequate or full criminal investigations, which is partly why we can't say exactly who should go to prison, but it is extremely clear there was massive fraud."

Ferguson spoke out after bankers came under attack in other films such as "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" by Oliver Stone (also at this year's Cannes Festival) and "Capitalism: A Love Story" by Michael Moore. Ferguson's previous film, "No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq," was nominated for an Oscar.

"Inside Job," narrated by Matt Damon, spotlights the events that led to the collapse in September 2008 of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the $700 billion U.S. bailout of the financial system, and the worst recession since the 1930s.

Ferguson -- who holds a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- shows how finance got the world economy in a pickle. His explanation is contained in one word: deregulation.

Big Risks

Rules that banned retail banks from also being investment banks were lifted, he says, allowing financial institutions to take big risks with other people's money. It was, as the Financial Times's Martin Wolf puts it in the movie, "a great big national, and not just national, Ponzi scheme."

Astronomical take-home packages and year-end bonuses rewarded the risk takers, who splurged on houses in the Hamptons, yachts, private jets, holiday homes, and prostitutes. A woman who once ran a prostitution ring says half of her 10,000 clients were from big-name banks, many charging their corporate cards.

David Fuller's view Oliver Stone's film will be entertaining; Michael Moore's will have his populist slant; Charles Ferguson really knows what he is talking about. I have already asked Amazon UK to notify me when "Inside Job" is available for purchase.

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