Here is Your Open Thread

I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that America’s system of jurisprudence simply isn’t up to the task of holding banks and bankers accountable for their actions. The only people who ever get prosecuted are small fry and insider traders, rather than the people who really caused the biggest damage. And the lesson of Sergei Aleynikov is that if and when the laws get beefed up, the banks will simply end up taking advantage of those laws for their own vindictive purposes, rather than becoming victims of them.

That’s Felix Salmon commenting on Michael Lewis’s latest investigative piece on a former Goldman Sachs’s programmer who was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for downloading eight megabytes of code he worked on while working for the investment bank. Lewis, who wrote The Big Short, Moneyball, and many other pieces about Wall Street, does a terrific job of walking readers through Aleynikov’s case and the world of high frequency trading. Like Salmon, I have similar viewpoints about how our justice system seems to treat financial institutions that are caught doing bad things (sure, sentence a programmer to prison for something neither the FBI nor the jurors on the case fully understood, but when HSBC violates the Trading with the Enemy Act and conducts illegal transactions for Cuba, Iran, and Sudan + launders money for drug cartels, send no one to jail).

Photo: Spoon Monkey

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