Federal Judge to Approve Citigroup’s $75M Securities Settlement with SEC Over Bank’s Subprime Mortgage Debt Reporting to Investors

Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle says she will approve the $75 securities settlement between Citigroup and the SEC once the agreement includes changes that the bank has already made to its disclosure policy in the agreement. The federal judge says she wants the changes added to the settlement terms so that executives can’t revise them. She also wants the $75 million used to compensate shareholders who lost money because of Citigroup’s misstatements.

Last month, Huvelle had refused to approve the settlement over Citibank’s alleged failure to fully disclosure its exposure to subprime assets by almost $40 billion. The SEC accused the investment bank of misleading investors and telling them that its exposure was only $13 billion. When questioning the agreement, Huvelle asked why Citigroup shareholders should have to pay for the bank executives’ alleged misconducts. She also wanted to know why only two individuals were pursued.

The SEC had also filed cases against former CFO Gary Crittenden and ex-investor relations head Arthur Tildesley Jr. Both men have settled the cases against them without denying or admitting wrongdoing.

Despite giving conditional approval of the settlement, Huvelle noted that she didn’t think the $75 million would “deter anyone” unless Citibank abided by the changes to the disclosure policy. She also noted that the bank was “doing a disservice to the public” because other Citigroup executives were not held accountable for their alleged involvement.

The Wall Street Journal reports that lawmakers and others have becoming extremely frustrated at the considerably small number of senior executives that have been charged in connection with the financial debacle that has impacted Wall Street. The SEC has said that it can only file charges when there is sufficient evidence. Meantime, defense attorneys have argued that the multibillion dollar losses by investment firms were a result of bad business calls and not intentional fraud.

Related Web Resources:
Citigroup’s $75 Million Settlement With SEC Gets Green Light — Almost, Law.com, September 28, 2010

US court approves SEC settlement with Citi, Financial Times, September 24, 2010

Judge Won’t Approve Citi-SEC Pact, Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2010

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