More Subpoenas for Big Banks, This Time from Cuomo

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After filing suit earlier this week against Ivy Asset Management for feeding pension fund money to Bernie Madoff, NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is turning his attention back to the big banks, which will obviously score many more political points when he runs for governor in November.

The latest probe from Cuomo involves the banks' efforts to mislead the ratings agencies on structured products. His office is looking into whether Moody's, S&P and Fitch tinkered with their models so banks could get higher ratings on CDOs and other products.

Subpoenas recently went out to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole and BofA/Merrill Lynch, according to the New York TImes.

Cuomo is also looking into former rating agency employees who left to join the mortgage operations of big banks during the boom. The Times cites a former Fitch Ratings employee named Shin Yukawa, who was recruited by Goldman in 2005.

At the height of the mortgage boom, companies like Goldman offered million-dollar pay packages to workers like Mr. Yukawa who had been working at much lower pay at the rating agencies, according to several former workers at the agencies.

Around the same time that Mr. Yukawa left Fitch, three other analysts in his unit also joined financial companies like Deutsche Bank.

In some cases, once these workers were at the banks, they had dealings with their former colleagues at the agencies. In the fall of 2007, when banks were hard-pressed to get mortgage deals done, the Fitch analyst on a Goldman deal was a friend of Mr. Yukawa, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

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