Maria Bartiromo: Tim Geithner apparently flagged the problem 5 years ago. Why didn’t he do more about this? He basically called the Bank of England and said he was worried about the approach in terms of Libor, that they needed to change it. Did he do enough?
Eliot Spitzer: Look I think it would be preemptory to say one way or the other. This is something that needs an awful lot of examination. I think the fact that he knew in ’07, sent a memo in ’08 is only the first layer of inquiry. Did he follow up on it? Libor, as everyone who watches CNBC knows, is the heart and soul, it is the blood stream of the financial system. If anyone is rigging it or playing games with it then you must follow up. Anybody who is in the regulatory position that Tim Geithner was in, in my view the most important bank regulatory position in the world, how do you not follow up and say wait a minute guys what have you done? So it’s unclear, and I hate to use this metaphor perhaps, but was this the sort of memo that was being sent at Penn State where you just kind of brush it aside or was it really an effort to do something?
MB: Oh god.
ES: This bears an awful lot of inquiry. Because it goes to the very real question of whether the NY Fed did not fulfill its fundamental function to ensure the soundest [and] security of the balance sheets of the banks all the way through the period leading up to the crisis. Is this one piece of evidence that runs contrary to that or one piece of evidence that supports it? We don’t know yet.
MB: What a comparison.
ES: Well let me tell you Maria, unfortunately when you see memos at the top being written like that, you never know, you have to ask the question, what preceded it, what came after it, otherwise you don’t understand the texture of what was being done by that senior person. Read more »