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Financial Quotes

Corruption and Scandal Quotes

  • "It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the global financial sector has become criminalised, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behaviour that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis of 2008 was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident."
    Charles H. Ferguson (1955–), US documentary filmmaker and author
    Source: Guardian (London) (May 20, 2012)
  • "Three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong."
    Craig Ferguson (1955–), US movie director
    Source: Speech when accepting an Oscar for his 2010 movie Inside Job, a documentary about the financial crisis of 2008 (March 2011)
  • "Yet another hedge fund manager explained Icelandic banking to me this way: you have a dog, and I have a cat. We agree that each is worth a billion dollars. You sell me the dog for a billion, and I sell you the cat for a billion. Now we are no longer pet owners but Icelandic banks, with a billion dollars in new assets."
    Michael Lewis (1960–), US writer and former financial trader
    Source: Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (2011)
  • "The SEC now is 3500 chickens, and we need to get some foxes in there."
    Harry Markopolos (1956–), US financial analyst
    On the SEC's failure to investigate the activities of Bernie Madoff.
    Source: Testimony before a Congressional Committee (February 4, 2009)
  • "I don't know how I could have been more explicit. I gave them a roadmap and a flashlight, but they didn't go where I told them to go, they didn't look where I told them to look, they didn't tell the people I told them to call."
    Harry Markopolos (1956–), US financial analyst
    On alerting the SEC to Bernie Madoff's fraudulent activities.
    Source: Testimony before a Congressional Committee (February 4, 2009)
  • "Surely I'm not the only person to ask the obvious question: How different, really, is Mr. Madoff's tale from the story of the investment industry as a whole?"
    Paul R. Krugman (1953–), US economist
    On the fraudulent investment fund run by Bernie Madoff.
    Source: New York Times (December 19, 2008)
  • "If this were a traditional bank robbery, the eyewitness reports would say that Mr Madoff walked out with billions of dollars as someone held the door open for him."
    Jeffrey Zwerling, US lawyer
    Source: Quoted in the Independent (London) (December 17, 2008)
  • "The argument that rigorous oversight will somehow stifle Wall Street’s “creativity” is no longer convincing. Any system that permits a scam artist like Madoff to deceive, not just widows and orphans, but also sophisticated investors … isn’t a market at all; it’s a shooting gallery."
    Tim Rutten, US critic and journalist
    Source: Los Angeles Times (December 17, 2008)
  • "All one great big lie."
    Bernard Madoff (1938–), US former fund manager and former governor of NASDAQ
    Confessing that his $50 billion investment fund was a total fraud.
    Source: Quoted in the Independent (London) (December 16, 2008)
  • "It looked incredibly credible!"
    Nicola Horlick (1960–), British fund manager
    On her decision to invest £10M of clients' money in the Madoff fund, subsequently exposed as entirely fraudulent.
    Source: Interview on Today, BBC Radio 4 (December 15, 2008)
  • "My aim was to make money for the bank. You lose track of the amounts involved when you are engaged in this kind of work."
    Jérôme Kerviel (1977–), French trader
    Referring to his loss of €4.8 billion through unauthorized futures trading.
    Source: Quoted in the Independent (London) (February 6, 2008)
  • "In today's regulatory environment, it's virtually impossible to violate rules … but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time."
    Bernard Madoff (1938–), US former fund manager and former governor of NASDAQ
    In 2008 Madoff was charged with the biggest investment fraud in history.
    Source: Remark in an interview (October 20, 2007)
  • "Corruption is a cancer that steals from the poor, eats away at governance and moral fibre and destroys trust."
    Robert Zoellick (1953–), US president of the World Bank
    Source: Quoted in the New York Times (June 26, 2007)
  • "I've found that wherever there is one cockroach in plain sight, many more are lurking behind the corner out of view."
    Harry Markopolos (1956–), US financial analyst
    Document submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission warning them about the Madoff fund.
    Source: “The World’s Largest Hedge Fund Is a Fraud” (November 2005)
  • "A super-sized fraud of this magnitude was bound to happen given the lack of regulation of these off-shore entities."
    Harry Markopolos (1956–), US financial analyst
    Document submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission warning them about the Madoff fund.
    Source: “The World’s Largest Hedge Fund Is a Fraud” (November 2005)
  • "I have … spoken to the heads of various Wall Street equity derivatives trading desks and every single one of the senior managers I spoke with told me that Bernie Madoff was a fraud. Of course no one wants to take an undue career risk by sticking their head up … The fewer people who know who wrote this report the better. I am worried about the personal safety of myself and my family."
    Harry Markopolos (1956–), US financial analyst
    Document submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission warning them about the Madoff fund.
    Source: “The World’s Largest Hedge Fund Is a Fraud” (November 2005)
  • "I have no doubt that mothers in America use my name to frighten their children into finishing their vegetables."
    Conrad, Lord Black (1944–), Canadian-born British newspaper proprietor and business executive
    Source: Interview, Fortune (May 30, 2005)
  • "The business pages of American newspapers should not read like a scandal sheet."
    George W. Bush (1946–), US former president
    Referring to a series of high-profile accounting scandals.
    Source: Speech (July 2002)
  • "What was done was not in keeping with the values and heritage of this firm. It was wrong, there's no other word for it."
    Joseph Berardino (1951–), US business executive
    Referring to the part played by accountanting firm Arthur Andersen in the collapse of Enron.
    Source: Quoted in the Guardian (London) (June 2002)
  • "It argues no fault in the construction of the aqueduct that the water it conveys is often dirty."
    Anonymous
    Financier referring to corruption in the City
    Source: Quoted in The City of London, Vol IV: A Club No More (David Kynaston, 2002)
  • "If there is anything material and we're not reporting it, we'll be breaking the law. We don't break the law."
    Kenneth Lay (19422006), US CEO and chairman of Enron
    Referring to Enron's accounting practices.
    Source: Quoted in BusinessWeek (August 24, 2001)
  • "It's a proprietary strategy. I can't go into it in great detail."
    Bernard Madoff (1938–), US former fund manager and former governor of NASDAQ
    On being asked to explain the secrets of his success.
    Source: Remark (2001)
  • "It's time to make things ship-shape, to get rid of the debt, to get a bit of a cash box to work from, to enjoy life a bit more."
    Conrad, Lord Black (1944–), Canadian-born British newspaper proprietor and business executive
    Referring to disposals from his media group.
    Source: New York Times (April 2000)
  • "There are two parties involved in every corrupt transaction, typically a government official and a business person. Yet those who pay bribes are often depicted as innocent victims … The reality is that both parties conspire to defraud the public."
    Lynda, Baroness Chalker (1942–), British politician
    Source: Speech, University of Glasgow, UK. “Public Sector Corruption from an International Perspective” (February 19, 1999)
  • "Money you haven't earned is not good for you."
    Robert Maxwell (19231991), Czechoslovakian-born British publisher, business executive, and politician
    Source: Quoted in Time (November 28, 1988)
  • "Greed is all right … Greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself."
    Ivan Boesky (1937–), US financier convicted of insider dealing in 1987
    After success as a trader on Wall Street, in 1987 he was convicted of securities fraud, imprisoned for two years, and fined US$100 million.
    Source: Commencement address, University of California, Berkeley (May 18, 1986)
  • "If things were half as bad as some people persist in believing, I'd have retired with a bottle of Scotch and a pistol a long time ago."
    Robert Maxwell (19231991), Czechoslovakian-born British publisher, business executive, and politician
    Source: Daily Mail (London) (June 1973)
  • "Like many businessmen of genius he learned that free competition was wasteful, monopoly efficient. And so he simply set about achieving that efficient monopoly."
    Mario Puzo (19201999), US novelist
    Referring to Don Vito Corleone.
    Source: The Godfather (1969), bk. 3, ch. 14
  • "He's a businessman … I'll make him an offer he can't refuse."
    Mario Puzo (19201999), US novelist
    The offer referred to is a death threat.
    Source: The Godfather (1969), bk. 1, ch. 1
  • "If only 50 or more people were doing for the country what I have been doing, there would not be a pay freeze or a balance of payments problem."
    Robert Maxwell (19231991), Czechoslovakian-born British publisher, business executive, and politician
    Referring to his world trips to build an international scientific publishing business.
    Source: Speech (December 1966)

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