Point: “The latest urban legend to spread on trading desks and through the executive suites on Wall Street goes something like this: coming this fall, as President Obama makes his final push for a second term, his Justice Department will finally give the public what it wants in the form of an arrest of a major Wall Street figure for his role in the financial crisis. The men at the top of this “October Surprise” list are two of the more infamous figures in the banking business: former Lehman Brothers chief executive Dick Fuld and current Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein. Using the Justice Department for political purposes is, of course, pretty sleazy.”
Counterpoint: “…But after speaking to my law enforcement sources — and you can throw people who work at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department in this category — I give low probability for this urban legend coming to fruition.”
“Here’s what I am told, confirmed by two senior law enforcement officials involved in the insider trading probe: investigators are looking at charging someone they describe as a “big fish.” The person has been described as someone I would know, which since I cover Wall Street, means that it’s a major financial type implicated in the matter. I cannot be certain of this because my sources refused to provide any additional details; the case isn’t complete. It involves cooperators, which means that it might go forward or it might not.
So the October Surprise is a very real possibility, much to delight of journalists like myself. But before rejoicing we in the media should take a deep breath. These same law enforcement sources investigating insider trading among Wall Street fat cats and other corporate titans are also looking at the alleged improprieties of a major journalist who covers stocks. That case, like the other, isn’t completed, but both have been described as “moving forward.” In other words, stay tuned.