In an interview on the Today show Monday morning (video clip after the fold), Harry Markopolos dropped a few bombshells. Harry’s statement that he had purchased a gun and mentally prepared himself to kill Bernie Madoff in self-defense if need be will likely grab the most attention. It shouldn’t.
Markopolos’ biggest bombshell this morning is his warning to America, “Don’t trust your government.” No surprise that Today host Matt Lauer did not probe deeper. I am not confident that other outlets will delve deeper into Harry’s statement, either. I wonder why Harry himself is reticent to specifically point out the individuals and the instances which lead him to make that statement.
Recall that a year ago Harry defined the SEC as merely incompetent while simultaneously defining FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) as ‘in bed with the industry’ that is Wall Street. Well, it does not take an advanced degree to connect Harry’s grenade toss into FINRA’s backyard a year ago with his volley this morning.
Who is the central figure coarsing across the landscape of the NASD (FINRA’s predecessor), FINRA, and now the SEC?
Why doesn’t Harry get very specific in making these statements?
Why doesn’t the media probe deeper?
When will Mary Schapiro be compelled to answer questions not only about her relationship with Bernie Madoff, but about her tenure at the NASD and FINRA?
At that point, would Harry think we might be able to trust our government?
I certainly would like to get answers to a whole host of questions surrounding Ms. Schapiro. What questions? As I wrote last December and repeat today, “Mary Schapiro Owes America Some Answers”:
Mary Schapiro, the current SEC Chair and formerly the head of FINRA, possesses a wealth of information on a number of topics for which America would like greater detail. What are some of these topics?
1. Did FINRA possess material, non-public information and act upon it in the liquidation of its $671 million auction-rate securities position in mid-2007 as the ARS market was failing?
2. Did FINRA invest its own funds in Bernard Madoff, as alleged in the complaint Amerivet Securities vs. FINRA.
3. What was the nature and full depth of Mary Schapiro’s relationship with Bernie Madoff? Bernie himself characterized Mary as a ‘dear friend.’
4. Did Mary Schapiro and her fellow FINRA execs lie verbally and in a proxy statement regarding the merger of the NASD with NYSE Regulation to form FINRA?
Are these some of the questions leading Harry to make his statement this morning about not trusting our government? In my opinion, they are a good start. America deserves these answers.
(UPDATE: Late Monday afternoon, Judge Jed Rakoff issued a ruling on Question #4 above. He has dismissed a complaint regarding this allegation, believing that Schapiro and FINRA are entitled to absolute immunity. For the full story, please read here).
Now let’s listen to Harry’s 7-minute clip.