A. U.S. Justice Department effort to obtain a guilty plea from Credit Suisse Group soon is expected to kick off a number of multibillion-dollar bank settlements, in what the Wall Street Juornaal calls Attorney General Eric Holder’s likely last push to pursue Wall Street for past conduct. Such cases have moved slowly for years, but there has been a flurry of activity in recent days. Holder this month listened to European government officials weighing in on behalf of their home-country banks. On May 2, the attorney general met with a minister from Switzerland to talk about the case against Credit Suisse for allegedly helping wealthy Americans evade taxes. An assembly line of expected settlements comes after years of false starts and complications, as investigators repeatedly failed to find proof of any crime stemming from banks’ conduct in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Early work in the department’s crisis-era bank probes was slowed by a lack of direction and focus, as interagency investigations became almost as sprawling and complicated as the transactions the government was seeking to unravel. That situation improved in 2012, when Holder reorganized the investigative structure and began leading meetings with the task force examining mortgage-backed securities. Among the issues being probed is whether banks ignored their own quality controls by knowingly packaging and selling shoddy securities to investors. Holder, who plans to stay in his job at least through the November midterm elections, said he wants to resolve the big financial investigations before he departs. “I am impatient,” Holder said in an interview. “We’re talking about conduct that contributed to the greatest financial disaster since the Great Depression. Not the sole cause, but contributed to it, so this is a priority, and that’s why I’m dedicating so much time to it.”