New York Times: Sources Say Justice Department Investigating S&P Regarding Mortgage Securities (Misc News: August 18, 2011)
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the nation’s largest credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, improperly rated mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis, The New York Times reported.
Citing two people who were interviewed by the government and another who was briefed on the interviews, the Times said the government has been asking about instances in which the company’s analysts wanted to award lower ratings on mortgage bonds, but may have been overruled by other S&P business managers. If true, it could undercut S&P’s long-held assertion that its analysts act independently from other parts of the business.
Recently, the NCUA has filed several suits against financial institutions including Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland and J.P. Morgan Securities and may file more lawsuits in an effort to collect as much as $2 billion from the underwriters of the questionable securities. Click here to read about the NCUA lawsuits against the investment firms. The federal credit union regulator has not issued a statement regarding Justice’s investigation of S&P.
The Times report said sources did not know if the other two ratings agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, were also being investigated.