The I.R.S. scandal continues to dominate headlines in Washington. Last week, Congress held the first hearing into the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups for unwarranted scrutiny. But it may be criminal charges that the Agency has to worry about most. Law professor Peter Henning, contributor to our partner The New York Times and author of "The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption: The Law & Legal Strategies," explains what criminal charges the I.R.S. might face.
President Obama's nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White, continues to receive praise and criticism for her background. By some, she's hailed as the tough prosecutor who took down John Gotti and a laundry list of most-wanted terrorists. But White has also come under fire for her connections to big banks. Peter Henning is a law professor at Wayne State University. Formerly, he was a Senior Attorney with the SEC's Division of Enforcement.
If you think the government isn't serious about going after bankers, you don't work at the New York Attorney General's Office. Only weeks ago, Standard Chartered Bank made headlines when it was revealed that they allegedly laundered more than $250 billion for Iran, which is illegal in the United States. The State of New York has since settled with Standard Chartered, but now they have their eye on a bigger fish.
The Justice Department is said to be preparing cases against financial institutions in response to the Libor scandal, but Barclays has signed a non-prosecution agreement and is paying a penalty of $450 million – not much for a company with over $50 billion in revenue last year.
Facebook and its IPO's underwriter Morgan Stanley are facing at least three shareholder lawsuits alleging that the companies allowed misleading assessments and omissions in their IPO registration statement. This, on the same day that Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin issued a subpoena to Morgan Stanley in response to other allegations. Peter J. Henning, a professor at Wayne State University Law School who specializes in white collar crime, co-wrote an article about this for the New York Times' DealBook.
Wal-Mart stock fell nearly five percent to $59.42 on Monday after The New York Times reported that the company tried to cover up evidence of widespread bribery in its Mexican operations. Meanwhile, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have opened probes into the retail giant.