Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, is seeking $3.5bn in damages from 10 prime brokers for intentionally manipulating Overstock’s share price through naked shorting. The big names charged are Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley.
Critics of short-selling practices they deem abusive are up in arms over what they say is continued inaction by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
They say that the SEC delayed long-overdue reforms last month when it asked for more comments on proposals to tighten up exemptions to a rule intended to curb illegal “naked” short selling.
Bloomberg Television has produced a shocking 25 minute exposé showing how Wall Street rogues are exploiting a crack in the system to steal tens of billions of dollars from Americans. The Bloomberg piece starts by talking about Overstock (I make a brief appearance, as a guy just trying to be a good citizen), but goes on to describe a wildly illegal scheme that hurts thousands of companies and millions of Americans with stock accounts. This may turn into a financial scandal that makes Enron look like a Sunday picnic.