It's time for the banksters to lawyer up

The New York Times reported on Saturday that the Department of Justice is building several criminal cases against major Wall Street banks related to the ongoing LIBOR rate-rigging scandal. Charges are expected to be brought against at least one bank and its employees by the end of this year. It’s alleged that hundreds of billions – if not trillions – of dollars were manipulated in the global economy by a handful of banks colluding together to boost their own profits while screwing over working people, small businesses, and entire cities.

Meanwhile, across the pond in London, British financial regulators who turned a blind eye to the crimes are testifying in front of Parliament to determine their role in the scandal. That comes on the heels of news that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner caught wind of the rate-rigging scandal as far back as 2008 and notified the Bank of England recommending changes to how the LIBOR rate should be fixed…yet nothing was done either by the Fed or by British regulators.

But just as this investigation into high crimes on Wall Street ramps up, time is running out for other investigations into Wall Street’s fraud. According to federal law, there is a five-year statute of limitations within which the Securities and Exchange Commission can file charges against the banks for their crimes leading up to the 2007 and 2008 financial crisis. That leaves officials at the SEC scrambling to file lawsuits before their time window runs out.

This is a critical moment in history – will “we the people” finally hold Wall Street accountable? Or will the Citizen's United-fueled corruption of our government and legal system give the banksters another free pass?

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