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After the Humiliation of Rupert Murdoch, Comeuppance for Goldman Sachs?

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This summer's humbling of Rupert Murdoch has warmed the cockle of many a liberal heart. Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall or the first few euphoric weeks after New Labour's election could they pick up a newspaper/switch on their computer with such a sense of excited anticipation at the latest 'Hackgate' revelations.

It was unfettered joy mingled with a disbelieving smile. Could it be true that the sun was finally setting on Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp empire; that cynicism was not invincible, might was not always right? Indeed, Murdoch and his feral pack of media executives that had roamed British society corrupting and intimidating were getting a metaphorical flogging (with the prospect of certain individuals actually ending up in prison growing daily) from the very democratic process that they had spent years undermining and insulting.

Ah! What delicious schadenfreude.

Moreover, 'Murdoch-olpyse' felt like the conciliation prize for the grotesque, festering injustice of the 2008 banking crisis. Summing up this rage the esteemed US essayist, Frank Rich, wrote:

What haunts the Obama Administration is what still haunts the country: the stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds that brought [the West] to its gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There has been no legal, moral, or financial reckoning for the most powerful wrongdoers. Nor have there been meaningful reforms that might prevent a repeat catastrophe. Time may heal most wounds, but not these. Chronic unemployment remains a constant, painful reminder of the havoc inflicted on the bust's innocent victims. As the ghost of Hamlet's father might have it, America will be stalked by its fouls and unresolved crimes until they 'are burnt and purged away.'

But if an uber-plutocrat such as Murdoch can take a fall, why not the banksters? Indeed, could not the "great vampire squid", Goldman Sachs, end up twisting on a harpoon called comeuppance?

In fact, the likelihood of this ever happening is a little less remote than they were last week.

It follows a move by Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, to hire Reid Weingarten, one of America's top criminal defence lawyers, to help him address claims that Goldman and other banks misled clients in the run-up to the financial crisis and, afterwards, Congress.

Blankfein turned to the high profile lawyer after the US Department of Justice began investigating the way Goldman sold subprime mortgages - the toxic investments that triggered the credit crunch. The banker has also been accused of misleading a Senate committee - a claim that is emphatically denied by Goldman. Blankfein has not been charged with any offence.

Weingarten specialises in white-collar criminal defence, and has represented former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers and former Enron accounting officer Richard Causey. Both men are incarcerated after being convicted of fraud charges.

The markets certainly took fright at this news with Goldman shares dropping 4.7 per cent in response, accompanied by much tut-tut ting from the financial cognoscenti. If you need to hire Reid Weingarten, your career has probably hit a rough patch, warned one.

It would be fitting to allow China, as one of the few economies not to have been screwed in the bankers' orgy of greed, to have the last word. As the 5th century BC general and philosopher Sun Tzu told in the Art of War: "If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by."

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