Not only do the general counsels of Wall Street’s biggest global banks get to fashion their own system to hear claims against the banks but they get to meet in secret every year for two decades to strategize on other topics impacting their common interest.
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade
Wall Street is the only industry in America that is allowed, in broad daylight, to operate its own private justice system while making its employees and customers sign binding contracts to take their complaints to that venue to seek justice. That’s like sticking your arm into the mouth of an alligator that just grabbed your purse and expecting to come out whole.
Endless reports by journalists on how rigged this private justice system is have done nothing to reopen the nation’s courthouse doors to claims against Wall Street.
Not only do the general counsels of Wall Street’s biggest global banks get to fashion their own system to hear claims against the banks but they get to meet in secret for two decades to strategize on other topics impacting their common interest.
In 2016, Bloomberg reporters Greg Farrell and Keri Geiger broke the exclusive report that Wall Street’s top in-house lawyers for the mega banks had been meeting in secret for two decades with their counterparts from foreign global banks. The 2016 meeting took place at a ritzy hotel in Versailles. Past tony venues included Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne and the bucolic panoramas of Connecticut’s historic Litchfield County, according to the report. (Plotting how to rip off Main Street and remain out of jail is so much more relaxing while sipping brandy from the veranda of a 19th century inn.)
At the secret 2016 meeting, the following lawyers attended: Goldman Sachs General Counsel, Gregory Palm; Stephen Cutler of JPMorgan Chase (a former Director of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)); Gary Lynch of Bank of America (also a former Director of Enforcement at the SEC); Morgan Stanley’s Eric Grossman; Citigroup’s Rohan Weerasinghe; Markus Diethelm of UBS Group AG; Richard Walker of Deutsche Bank (again, a former Director of Enforcement at the SEC); Robert Hoyt of Barclays; Romeo Cerutti of Credit Suisse Group AG; David Fein of Standard Chartered; Stuart Levey of HSBC Holdings; and Georges Dirani of BNP Paribas SA.
Surely former Directors of Enforcement at the SEC know that it’s an anti-trust issue to be meeting in secret once a year with your counterparts from global banks – with no public announcement, no published minutes, and no press in attendance…