A scam that funded a movie about scams? True life is stranger than fiction.
With a quick reminder at the end that you can to this day go pay somebody to teach you how to do it yourself.
Studio execs do test screens and decide to glamorize the debauchery to extreme levels and give it tons of screen time, because "that's what the people want".
So at the end of the movie, you no longer merely empathize with the antagonist, but end up idolizing him. Why else do college bros know the "Greed is Good" speech by heart? Or Bateman's opening monologue in his apartment?
EDIT: Found the link to the interview I'm misquoting. Here's the original passage:
"I had no great agenda, apart from telling what I took to be a remarkable tale, but if you got a few drinks in me and then asked what effect I thought my book would have on the world, I might have said something like, “I hope that college students trying to figure out what to do with their lives will read it and decide that it’s silly to phony it up and abandon their passions to become financiers.” I hoped that some bright kid at, say, Ohio State University who really wanted to be an oceanographer would read my book, spurn the offer from Morgan Stanley, and set out to sea.
Somehow that message failed to come across. Six months after Liar’s Poker was published, I was knee-deep in letters from students at Ohio State who wanted to know if I had any other secrets to share about Wall Street. They’d read my book as a how-to manual."
There was always the third hand accounts of something happening. I did work in backoffice IT and not for one of the desks, so not odd I wouldn't have seen anything firsthand.
Probably closest I saw to show of wealth would be the rare occasions I drove in and parked in the building. You'd see a few Ferraris parked even in the middle of winter in Chicago, and that's not counting the CEOs cars that were kept behind a keycarded garage within the garage.
But just the opposite has happened; they are revered by fans specifically for their lack of ethics because of how "badass" it came off on screen.
Whether this is problematic or not depends somewhat on your view of the world. I recommend Arthur Melzer, Philosophy Between the Lines for a much more thorough historical treatment of the subject. By his reckoning it goes back to the ancient Greeks, at least.
To children: no shit they felt reinforced, the history has shown that this type of stuff goes almost unpunished.
Scorsese crime dramas (e.g. Goodfellas, Casino) tend to have a flair for showing the the up-and-up side of crime with a very brief ending in reality. The Departed is an exception in that you saw the story from both "rats" sides, and the undercover cop had it much worse than the mole cop.
Kind of the message of "Gulag Archipelago".
Boiler Room and The Smartest Guys in the Room are my other go-to business movies.
Question: How does Goldman Sachs still get away with this stuff? Due to their lengthy rap sheet, multiple governments and every law enforcement agency in the world should be watching their every action. It's a safe bet they're going to do something illegal again... and again... and again. Why aren't they being caught in the act and stopped before they can waltz off with the profits? Why haven't they been shut down or barred from doing business in the jurisdictions they've screwed over? Malaysia is going after Goldman Sachs for reparations, but have they kicked the company out of Malaysia?
The book 'Confessions of Economic Hitman' perfectly illustrates a sort of "active measures" that take place with increasing lethal consequences for those that oppose them.
1. identify elites in a country (ex. bankers, biz ppl)
2. lucrative contracts and monopoly handed out to elites via government.
4. If no profit, use bribe to corrupt key players.
5. If still no profit, send in the jackals (what EH calls professional assassins), put poison in cigars, drone strike.
6. If tradecraft fails, then they put boots on the ground.
Answer: Because there's a history of Goldman Sachs executives going from Wall Street to Washington DC (Government) taking up top positions - ex: Paulson as Treasury Secretary - so they can create and change Laws to suit their business.
In short, it's like a Thief who gets himself appointed as the Judge for his own Trial.
> As the man who presided over the biggest market meltdown in recent U.S. history, he has become a symbol of two worlds colliding—he's the Goldman Sachs CEO who came to Washington and then had to bail out his old friends on Wall Street.
Related:  Why Goldman Always Wins => https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/10/why-gol...
When reality doesn't agree with logic, it's time to examine your premises.
In this case, the premise that there is any force on the planet more powerful than concentrated money and power. Who, exactly, is going to stop them?
From the article:
> The authorities said that at least one high-ranking executive in the bank’s Asian operations was aware of the scheme, which dodged Goldman’s systems to detect the payment of bribes. That person, unidentified in the court filings, has not been charged. According to three people familiar with the matter, the executive was Andrea Vella, who was the co-head of Goldman’s Asian investment banking business.
>Federal prosecutors said Tim Leissner, a former Goldman investment banker who spent years courting Mr. Low, pleaded guilty in August to taking part in the bribery and money laundering scheme. He left the firm in 2016 after the scandal first emerged.
So it seems like rogue employees (since they had to hide from the company) and not some orchestrated thing where GS (as a company, under the direction of a lot of execs and everyone being on board) actually planned and executed.
Goldman is Goldman everywhere which makes this more concerning.
Even more troubling are reports that the new GS CEO, David Solomon, reviewed multiple of the 1MDB deals. To be fair its not clear if he personally reviewed them or they were just a meeting note in a senior partners meeting.
Going in GS favour is that they fired Leissner, the GS point man, when the allegations originally came out in 2016 and they self reported the incident, though its not clear if they reported it before the original incident was first reported on.
I'd imagine since GS is blaming the bankers ability to circumvent internal controls to catch bribes and kick backs, that things are about to get even more bureaucratic over there.
Also watch for any indication of events that can tie this to the Euro zone. I have a feeling regulators in Europe would love to lay a large fine on a US bank, given how many fines European banks have paid in the US recently:)
A research note I just saw, estimated this could cost GS more than $1B in fines in the US alone.
In practice obviously that headquarters organisation has considerable control, and key people merrily teleport from one "independent company" to another over their careers.
The appropriate word to describe them is probably "corrupt". If I can have two words, how about "very corrupt" ?
Big accountancy and legal firms have good historical reasons for those corporate structures.
They basically license the brand out, whether they're willing to acknowledge it or not.
2) If that doesn't work, bribe them outright
3) Take a piece of the gargantuan bond issue contract, do whatever it takes to get people to buy those pieces of paper, including cooking the books
4) Collect year-end bonus and absolve yourself of all responsibility after the deal is done.
It's the same playbook every time. Greece in 1999, Libya in the post-Gaddafi era, and now Malaysia. Probably many others that I'm not even aware of.
"Hot Mess: How Goldman Sachs Lost $1.2 Billion of Libya’s Money"
But the part that has completely blown my mind, ... Jho Lo is a fugitive!
Federal law enforcement in this country has become a total laughing stock. High profile arrests/pleas for process crimes and 7-day sentences after multi-million dollar investigations, and then this.
Where was Treasury? Where was FinCEN? Where were the Feds?
To say nothing of the apparently hundreds of people implicated in receiving stolen property. If you receive gifts worth millions of dollars which was stolen money, I mean are they even trying to claw back any of these millions from the “stars” he lavished?
To say nothing of the investors who actually bought the bonds of the now bankrupt fund?
“A billion here, a billion there, eventually you’re talking about real money.”
This guy is a financial terrorist. If you can’t extradite him, legally designate him an enemy combatant and take him out with a Hellfire.
> Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr has turned over jewelry worth $8.1 million to the U.S. Department of Justice that she received from an ex-boyfriend, Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, in 2014.
> Leonardo DiCaprio has already turned over a Picasso painting worth $3.2 million that he received as a birthday gift from Low as well as a Jean-Michel Basquiat collage valued at $9 million, both of which were listed in the June court filing.
IMO, they should be charged as co-conspirators in the fraud.
At the time they would have received those gifts, Jho Low was believed by most of the world to just be an extremely successful businessman.
If you would have bother to read the article you'd have seen they also did that:
> Last year, the Department of Justice moved to seize the rights to the Oscar-nominated film and recover royalties and proceeds from the film.
I don't care either way, but surely you are aware that in the Western world execution is considered highly inappropriate for non violent crimes?
>>> This guy is a financial terrorist.
This is not a guy, it's a system.
Is that just a Cost of Doing Business to them?
Well turns out that Countrywide was not only in financial trouble, which cost BOA billions on top of the purchase price, but had been deliberately saying loans were better than they were and selling those loans to others. The fine was the biggest fine ever in the history of the United State. After the acquisition, BOA paid a 16.5 billion fine, a 10 billion fine, and a 9 billion fine related to Countrywide. And those are just the big ones.
The BOA CEO was fired.
Edit: apparently it's only for fines issued after 2000 and the big tobacco settlement was in 1998.
I can't think of any other industry where year after year the same 4 or 5 actors are involved in major scandals, yet not one single senior executive goes to jail.
As the US general attorney put it, they really are "too big to jail", and they behave accordingly.
Goldman just gets more clicks.
I mean, bribing gov. Officials is baf, but the bank issued bonds. The fund was plundered by others.
How he spent the money:
Guilt and liability aren't the job of NYT to resolve but they phrased this very poorly.
(FYI, before down votes, I'm not anti-NYT and this isn't meant to be favoring either side of the political divide, it just seems like bad reporting)
nyt makes money out of these conferences at which Blankfein is a draw card. Does that mean the nyt are a pack of trumps? No. Is it a conflict of interest? I'm going to have to go with yes.
Seems like conflicts of interest are only applicable to journalists to keep them poor. Owners have no such restraints on them.
Given the fund's affinity for Hollywood, I wonder if that abbreviation is meant to evoke "IMDB".
It turns out when the financial incentive is big enough, people will commit crimes! Especially when they're in an institution that seems to prize making money and "being clever" above following the law.
Not long after Libya's response, you get regime change. I'm sure it was just coincidence
> #GoldmanSachs had extraction team?"Call in @GS special forces from hotel in Libya"
Related: Goldman's Libya Salesman Was a Little Too Good. Complex derivatives sometimes go wrong for the simplest reasons. => https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2016-09-29/goldma...
Almost makes it sound as if the real news isn't their reprehensible actions, but the fact that they got caught! (Or even that the government is slowing them down with annoying charges).
The only reason the people working there don't feel the need to stand up when they hear Eminem is that they're not slim enough.
Of course, it is very convenient to get the money of corrupt deals made by top execs, and then later claim they didn't know anything about how they did it. What about returning all that money and putting them in jail, for a change?
Safeguards written in stone, no doubt. In the article it said that they made $600 MILLION in a $6 Billion bond offering. I'm sure those that wrote the safeguards were thinking of them, not of the $600 MILLION profit in one shot.
Would Jho Low be pronounced "YOLO"?
Many articles were written about this :
The events "happened in Malaysia" only in some very abstract sense that some key players may have been located in Malaysia at some points. The bank though, concretely, remains an American bank throughout. Nobody is going to tell a court that oh, this was actually a Malaysian thing, it's OK for American banks to be corrupt so long as somehow Malaysia is involved, that's fine...
Put in place after the Lockheed Bribery Scandals in the 1970s.
Which incidentally involved Adnan Kashoggi, the uncle of the recently deceased Jamal Kashoggi.
Or it may just be the fact that some of Jho Lows property being seized is on US soil, and hence is under the juristiciation of US law enforcement; this whole thing is kinda hard to follow.
They are a parasite on this earth.
And honestly, how could you really defend capitalism politically? Public opinion does not miss on that kind of thing.
I don’t know if you can sketch a broad condemnation of capitalism based on this case. After all, the opposite party was a government owned fund.
What’s interesting to me is how susceptible to bribery government affiliated programs are. I guess it’s a combination of lots of money being handled by people who are not officially compensated very well. These kickback stories never seem to involve big companies bribing other companies. I assume that’s because of stricter controls and less incentives for those on the receiving end of a kickback.
what an ironic movie choice