“It is hard for us, and without being flippant, to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing $1 in any of those transactions,”
– Joseph Cassano, Head of AIG Financial Products, August 2007
This may be the most important and prescient quote you could possibly harvest to sum up the hubris, recklessness and deceit of the levered derivatives era. Joseph Cassano, the man that many are calling the architect of our economic destruction, actually made this statement on a conference call with AIG investors in August of 2007. As batsh@t insane as this type of comment sounds now in the spring of 2009 given what we’ve seen since then, the casual reader of this blog must understand that this exact type of swagger was on display pretty much 24/7 in those days, anywhere a banker was manipulating Other Peoples Money.
According to the NY Post and ABC News, Cassano, who is currently in London, is about to get dragged back in to the fray to answer for his role in a possible fraud during his time at the financial products unit of The Notorious AIG.
Essentially, Cassano did whatever he wanted, putting insurance on trillions in junk and moving things onto the balance sheets of entities he himself created in an effort to avoid taxes and regulation.
Wait, here’s the good news: For his hard work and fiscal demolition expertise, Cassano’s pay worked out to around $300 million US. Yep, he was paid the salary of Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, LeBron James and Christina Aguilera combined for a job well done, taking the global economy to the brink of catastrophe with nothing more than a spreadsheet.
He also was slated to receive $1 million a year in salary after he left AIG, but in an uncharacteristic move, someone in Congress woke up in time to call BS on that.
Anyway, Cassano may want to brush up on his list of non-extradition countries and helpful foreign phrases to be used at surreptitious border crossings. One never knows when they may come in handy!
Full Story: Ex-AIG Big May Face Fraud Rap (NY Post)