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.
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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.
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.
Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.
He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.
Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.
As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri
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