John Cassidy has a remarkable story out in the New Yorker this week about a sweetheart deal cut by the Justice Department with one of the wealthiest men in the world, Steven A. Cohen (who may be pictured here at a standard picnic, or not). Cohen’s company would pay $626 million but not have to admit any wrongdoing and Cohen would face no personal sanction. The billionaire appears to be celebrating this month with a buying spree with a Picasso painting and a huge new mansion. What is amazing is that various Cohen subordinates have pleaded guilty and Cohen has been tied directly to an insider trading allegation. Yet, he appears to “too big to jail” as a continuation of the Obama Administration’s bifurcated legal system for the super rich and the rest of us.
This is a standard ploy in which a sweet deal is reached to protect a powerful individual by setting a huge penalty to be paid by his company. The Obama Administration has been flogging the size of the payment to distract attention from the fact that Cohen will be left entirely untouched.
There is still a chance that the judge presented with this settlement could reject it for lack of any admission of guilt. Judge Victor Marrero already seemed shocked by the lack of such admissions: “There is something counterintuitive and incongruous about settling for six hundred million dollars if it truly did nothing wrong.” Amen brother. He could reject it but it would be a rare assertion of judicial authority in a case with such a high financial penalty.
I recommend Cassidy’s article to you below but I suggest not driving or operating heavy equipment after reading the piece.
Source: New Yorker