Strauss-Kahn: Bad "Timing" for His Alleged Crime

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Robert VanCaneghan, a member of the Board of the American Stock Exchange, admitted to members of the Board of the American Stock Exchange, that he had sexually assaulted his female employees.

[Policing Wall Street]

In another era Dominique Strauss-Kahn might have gotten away.

In a previous column,“Strauss-Kahn:  No Friends In the Right Places In New York,” which was published in The Black Star News On May 25, 2011, I contrasted the different treatment accorded by two different Manhattan District Attorneys --over different periods-- to two individuals suspected of rape and sexual assault.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and a leading French Socialist, has denied sexually assaulting an African maid at the Sofitel Hotel.

Robert VanCaneghan, a member of the Board of the American Stock Exchange, admitted to members of the
Board of the American Stock Exchange, that he had sexually assaulted his female employees.

The District Attorney at the time was Robert Morgenthau-- today the DA is Cyrus Vance Jr.

The members of the Board of the Amex at the time of VanCaneghan's transgressions, included such luminaries as Harvey Silverman, a billionaire and managing director of Spear Leeds and Kellogg; Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Burton Malkiel, Professor of Finance at Princeton; and Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard University. The board did not press an investigation of VanCaneghan.

In this they were fully backed by Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the American Stock Exchange and then soon to be
Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission at the time, and Mary Schapiro, then acting Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (
Levitt, incidentally, raised in excess of $4 million for Bill Clinton’s first Presidential campaign.)

The tentacles of the octopus were beginning to spread and encompass the power elite of New York City.

There was also no action taken by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time, Mary Jo White, a former partner in Debevoise and Plimpton. For many years the Amex had been ably represented by Robert Carswell of Shearman and Sterling.  But the Amex wanted a law firm, which was more politically connected--so in 1992
the Amex approached Debevoise and Plimpton.

There was at the time a stock fruad that involved elements of the Italian mafia and it also involved several players:
Two members of the Amex Board, Louis Miceli and Robert VanCaneghan; Steven Lister, Senior Vice President of Compliance at the Amex; and Al Avasso, a former Amex member who was barred from the securities business for falsifying options trades.  (This will be covered in another series of columns.)

The Amex through its examination of the financial statements of the Amex specialist firm, Miceli-VanCaneghan, as required by federal statute knew that Miceli and VanCaneghan were laundering drug money via their specialist account at Spear Leeds and Kellogg, which was represented on the Amex Board by Harvey Silverman.

At the time drug money laundering on Wall Street by firms was not unusual. Merrill Lynch was laundering drug money via its Wagner Stott subsidiary; and Bear Stearns had laundered drug money for VanCaneghan and Miceli before they changed their clearing firm to Spear Leeds and Kellogg.

The federal government became aware of all these activities described above--I wrote detailed letters and sent them via certified mail to relevant federal officials. I even participated in an operation together with the FBI in gathering information about some of the crimes.

On the other side however were powerful institutions such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, then led by Levitt and Schapiro.

With such prevailing permissive environment, who could be surprised by the eventual financial crises on Wall Street and subsequently globally?

Manfredonia was a Wall Street trader who was thrown out and banished from the street after he became a whistleblower.

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