"Don't tax you, don't tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree." -- Don't blame you, don't blame me. -- Rubin, Under Fire, Defends His Role at Citi
From The Wall Street Journal:
Under fire for his role in the near-collapse of Citigroup Inc., Robert Rubin said its problems were due to the buckling financial system, not its own mistakes, and that his role was peripheral to the bank's main operations even though he was one of its highest-paid officials.
Mr. Rubin, senior counselor and a director at Citigroup, acknowledged that he was involved in a board decision to ramp up risk-taking in 2004 and 2005, even though he was warning publicly that investors were taking too much risk. He said if executives had executed the plan properly, the bank's losses would have been less.
Its troubles have put the former Treasury secretary in the awkward position of having to justify $115 million in pay since 1999, excluding stock options, while explaining Citigroup's $20 billion in losses over the past year and a government bailout of at least $45 billion.
Mr. Rubin's salary made him one of Wall Street's highest-paid officials -- and a controversial figure among Citigroup shareholders and some executives, who questioned whether his limited duties justified the big paydays.
Mr. Rubin said it is a company's risk-management executives who are responsible for avoiding problems like the ones Citigroup faces.
Still, Mr. Rubin was deeply involved in a decision in late 2004 and early 2005 to take on more risk to boost flagging profit growth, according to people familiar with the discussions. They say he would comment that Citigroup's competitors were taking more risks, leading to higher profits. Colleagues deferred to him, as the only board member with experience as a trader or risk manager. "I knew what a CDO was," Mr. Rubin said, referring to collateralized debt obligations, instruments tied to mortgages and other debt that led to many of Citigroup's losses.
[Crazy Wall Street and the Trio. But don't fight the tape (I don't); the trend (that is, bailouts) is your friend, etc. I felt confident the trio would bailout Citigroup as the stock tanked last week, and by Friday, when the stock was at its 52 week low of $3.05, time was running out for the trio to act and thus I bought at $3.35. The bailout came over the weekend, and today the stock closed at $8.29 and is headed higher next week. These times are strange indeed. Right? No. Logical? No. Fair? No. Consistent? Hell no. Just strange, but hey, as I said, don't fight the tape.]