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August 19, 2015

The SEC’s Secret Process for Rubber Stamping Waivers for Lawbreakers Like Citigroup Should be an Embarrassment

Washington, DC — Better Markets President and CEO Dennis Kelleher released this statement following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to grant Citigroup a waiver in the face of its egregious conduct, continuing its secretive slap-on-the-wrist waiver process:

“Citigroup and its affiliates (Citi) are a one-bank crime spree. Since 2008, Citi has been sanctioned, plead guilty or settled in dozens of enforcement actions and lawsuits, and has paid more than $27 billion in fines, restitution, and other relief. But none of that matters when it comes to the SEC secretly rubber-stamping not one, but two waivers for Citigroup this week. Those SEC waivers enable Citi to continue to conduct business as usual despite its long track record as a repeat offender. In just the two cases announced this week, Citigroup agreed to pay $195 million to settle allegations that it defrauded hedge fund investors and committed compliance violations relating to trading information. The SEC’s waivers were issued the same day in each case.

“For an agency that supposedly stands for transparency and disclosure, the SEC should be embarrassed by its total lack of transparency in the wavier process. The orders summarily granting both waivers this week were issued quietly without any explanation and then buried on the SEC’s website. In one case, the order noted that one Republican and one Democratic commissioner objected to the waiver, but it is impossible for the American people to know the basis for the decision or the objections. The SEC’s waiver process is broken and has become a meaningless rubber stamp process.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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