|To: John Carragher who wrote (20)||9/30/2003 5:32:53 PM|
|SEC accounces new Freddie Mac fraud investigation!!:|
(the funny part is that some people will be surprised by this)
SEC Investigating Freddie Mac for Fraud
Tuesday September 30, 3:28 pm ET
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Securities and Exchange Commission (News - Websites) Chairman William Donaldson said on Tuesday that the commission is examining possible evidence of fraud at Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE - News), the mortgage finance company already reeling from a recent accounting scandal.
The SEC had announced back in June that it was looking into whether Freddie Mac has violated securities laws. Donaldson spoke briefly about the ongoing investigation after he was asked about it by Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.
He noted that Freddie Mac's regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), was conducting its own investigation of accounting irregularities at Freddie Mac, and said the SEC did not have anything to do with OFHEO's investigation.
But the SEC's job was to look for fraud in the marketplace, Donaldson continued.
"What we do control, even though they (Freddie Mac) are not registered with us now, is evidences of fraud, and if there is evidence of fraud, even though they're not registered, the impact on the marketplace, we would have a role there."
"We are looking at that right now," he added. "We're in touch with them and we're in touch with any evidences of fraud that might be, or might not be."
Donaldson gave no more details on the matter.
Freddie Mac rattled markets when it replaced its top three executives in June over an accounting scandal. Six months earlier, it had announced it would restate up to three years of results to reflect higher earnings.
A Freddie Mac spokeswoman said it was not surprising that an SEC probe should include an examination of possible fraud.
"We have been meeting with them (the SEC), since actually the beginning of our restatement process, and sharing any information that they requested," said the Freddie Mac spokeswoman, Sharon McHale.
"It is no surprise that in any corporation, in the case of any major restatement, that the SEC would look into the issue of fraud, and like any other company we are subject to all the anti-fraud provisions of securities laws," she said. "We will continue to cooperate fully with the SEC as they continue their investigation."
Donaldson also said Freddie Mac has agreed to voluntary registration with the SEC. The SEC is helping the company conform with SEC registration rules, Donaldson said.
Freddie Mac has acknowledged underreporting earnings by as much as or more than $4.5 billion over three years because of accounting irregularities. An independent report commissioned by the company said executives ignored accounting rules to push earnings into the future and maintain the image of steady earnings growth.
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|To: KeepItSimple who started this subject||10/23/2003 2:17:12 AM|
|Treasury mulls cutting Fannie and Freddie's loan guarantees:|
Look out below!
Treasury Says Administration Open To Ending GSE Borrowing Line
Wednesday October 22, 6:12 pm ET
By Rebecca Christie, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- If Congress wants to end Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM - News) and Freddie Mac's (NYSE:FRE - News) ability to borrow from the Treasury, the administration is game, a top Treasury official suggested Wednesday.
Wayne Abernathy, Treasury's assistant secretary for financial institutions, said the Bush administration isn't currently seeking to repeal Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's ability to borrow from the government. Under current law, the Treasury Secretary can purchase up to $2.25 billion of each company's debt in times of crisis.
But Abernathy said the administration would consider ditching that provision if lawmakers desired. "If in the process of legislation, if Congress wants to take on this issue we're open to having that discussion," Abernathy said in response to a question on that score.
Abernathy's comment echoed 2000 remarks by Gary Gensler, a senior Treasury official in the Clinton administration. Gensler actively sought to eliminate the so-called Treasury line of credit, since government-sponsored enterprise securities are already required to make clear that they aren't obligations of the U.S. government.
Gensler's remarks caused a stir in financial markets that lingered for some time. Abernathy's comments Wednesday had only a little market impact.
There has been no recent movement on Capitol Hill toward abolishing the Treasury line of credit, and the GSEs have lobbied to keep it for its symbolic value. The Treasury provision is one of the elements comprising the GSEs' implicit government guarantee, as perceived by financial markets.
The Bush administration has not directly tackled Treasury's lending authority. Instead, it has focused on the need for better disclosure, and more recently it has called for a stronger regulator that has broader powers over housing-related GSEs.
Treasury officials already have opposed one legislative proposal to move GSE regulation to Treasury, saying the bill didn't add enough power to justify a move. Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary John Snow told lawmakers that a weak Treasury-led regulator could actually make things worse by strengthening the GSEs' perceived government backing.
Abernathy seconded Snow's opinion in his comments Wednesday. He also reiterated the administration's view that any GSE regulator needs to have the power to approve new product lines as well as supervise existing business.
"Otherwise, it's kind of phony," Abernathy said. "You would give the sign of being part of the Treasury Department without any of the substance."
-By Rebecca Christie, Dow Jones Newswires; 202 862 9249; email@example.com
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