Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Illinois AG Lawsuit: Ratings Agency "Used Every Trick Possible To Give [MBS] Deals High Ratings In Order To Retain Clients & Generate Revenue"

From the Office of the Illinois Attorney General:

  • Attorney General Lisa Madigan [] filed a lawsuit against Standard & Poor's for its fraudulent role in assigning its highest ratings to risky mortgage-backed investments in the years leading up to the housing market crash.

  • Madigan filed her lawsuit today in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that Standard & Poor's, or S&P, compromised its independence as a ratings agency by doling out high ratings to unworthy, risky investments as a corporate strategy to increase its revenue and market share. The Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that S&P ignored the increasing risks posed by mortgage-backed securities, instead giving the investment pools ratings that were favorable to its investment bank client base and S&P's profits.

  • "Publically, S&P took every opportunity to proclaim their analyses and ratings as independent, objective and free from its desire for revenue," Madigan said. "Yet privately, S&P abandoned its principles and instead used every trick possible to give deals high ratings in order to retain clients and generate revenue. The mortgage-backed securities that helped our market soar – and ultimately crash – could not have been purchased by most investors without S&P's seal of approval."

For the Illinois AG press release, see Madigan Sues Standard & Poor's For Enabling Financial Meltdown (Lawsuit: 'Profits Were Running the Show' at Leading Credit Ratings Agency).

For the lawsuit, see People v. The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc. et ano.

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