Features

Book of the week: The Chickenshit Club

Investigative journalist Jesse Eisinger examines why prosecutors in the US have become increasingly reluctant to charge white-collar criminals.


The Chickenshit Club:Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse EisingerPublished by Simon & Schuster, £20 (out on 10 August)(Buy at Amazon)

A few weeks ago several former executives of Barclays Bank became the first top bankers to face criminal charges from actions related to the financial crisis. Prosecutions of top financial figures have been even rarer in America. In this book, investigative journalist Jesse Eisinger examines why prosecutors in the US have become increasingly reluctant to charge white-collar criminals.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

Eisinger finds "an unmistakable decline" in the willingness and ability to prosecute corporate crime, says David Lynch in the FT. The key turning point was in the aftermath of the corporate scandals of 2001-2002.

After several convictions were reversed on appeal and other corporate cases misfired, senior officials grew more timid about white-collar cases. The author is particularly unsparing in his account of the Obama administration's failure to hold bankers to account in the wake of the 2008 crisis.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Eisinger doesn't consider that it may have been simply "too hard to prove" that the big players in the crisis violated the letter of the law, says James Kwak in The New York Times. Nevertheless, "Eisinger's account has the ring of truth" about it.

The real conclusion is that "trust in institutions has collapsed", says Guy Rolnik in Haaretz. Government prosecutors had "lost faith in themselves" and were afraid "to go against the big money". This "loss of trust within the institutions" led to a loss of public trust in the institutions themselves.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519325/six-contrarian-books-for-christmas
Films

Six contrarian books for Christmas

Merryn Somerset Webb picks six of her favourite contrarian books to help you look clever and perhaps win a few arguments over the Christmas dinner tab…
9 Dec 2019
Visit/513323/coming-to-terms-with-anna-sorokin
Films

Coming to terms with Anna Sorokin

My Friend Anna: The true story of the fake heiress of New York CityWilliams is a solid writer who does a good job of explaining how she, and other int…
21 Aug 2019
Visit/513324/book-in-the-news-the-inside-story-of-spains-tumultuous-crisis
Films

Book in the news… the inside story of Spain’s tumultuous crisis

After the Fall Crisis, Recovery and the Making of a New SpainA book that goes beyond politics to offer a deeply sympathetic portrayal of a country.
21 Aug 2019
Visit/513325/an-offbeat-take-on-economics
Films

An offbeat take on economics

Review: This Giant Beast That is the Global EconomyA new TV series outfreaks Freakonomics.
20 Aug 2019

Most Popular

Visit/personal-finance/pensions/pension-tax/600877/why-it-makes-sense-to-scrap-higher-rate-pensions-tax
Pension tax

Why it makes sense to scrap higher-rate pensions tax relief

The point of pensions tax relief is to keep you out of the means-tested benefits system. The current system is ridiculously generous, says Merryn Some…
24 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/property/buy-to-let/600849/come-back-buy-to-letters-all-is-forgiven
Buy to let

Come back buy-to-letters, all is forgiven

The government is winning its war against small private buy-to-let landlords. But who benefits?
23 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/gold/600887/gold-price-coronavirus-cost-of-face-masks
Gold

Gold, coronavirus, and the high cost of face masks in northern Italy

The price of gold is spiking – as it always does in a global panic. But this bull market predates the coronavirus epidemic, says Dominic Frisby, and w…
26 Feb 2020
Visit/investments/stockmarkets/european-stockmarkets/600725/is-2020-the-year-for-european-small-cap
Sponsored

Is 2020 the year for European small-cap stocks?

SPONSORED CONTENT - Ollie Beckett, manager of the TR European Growth Trust, on why he believes European small-cap stocks are performing well.
12 Feb 2019