After markets closed on Friday the 13th, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced an $864 million settlement regarding Moody’s credit ratings of residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) and collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) leading up to the financial crisis.
Moody’s will pay a $437.5 civil penalty to DOJ to resolve civil FIRREA claims and another $426.3 million to resolve potential claims by 21 State Attorneys General. The agreement also requires Moody’s to implement additional compliance measures.
Moody’s release said the settlement “removes significant legacy legal risk” and “contains no finding of any violation of law, nor any admission of liability.” But the settlement did involve factual admissions: “The Statement of Facts addresses Moody’s representations to investors and the public generally about: (1) its objectivity and independence; (2) its management of conflicts of interest; (3) its compliance with its own stated RMBS and CDO rating methodologies and standards; and (4) the analytic integrity of certain rating methodologies,” said DOJ.
The States involved in the settlement are: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington as well as the District of Columbia.
Moody’s press release is here.
The DOJ release (with links to the settlement documents) is here.