S&P close to $1.4B deal over shoddy mortgage bond ratings

by MPA28 Jan 2015
Standard & Poor's may complete a $1.37 billion settlement with regulators over accusations it knowingly inflated its ratings of risky mortgage investments during the run up to financial crisis as early as Monday.

The credit rating agency is expected to sign an agreement to settle with the U.S. Justice Department and about 20 state attorneys general as early as Monday, according to the Associated Press.

The ratings company is accused of contributing to the 2008 economic collapse by giving top ratings to shoddy mortgage bonds to win business from Wall Street banks. According to the lawsuit, S&P failed to warn investors that the housing market was collapsing in 2006 because doing so would hurt its ratings business.

The U.S. previously said it might seek as much as $5 billion when it sued S&P in 2013.

S&P is the only credit rater to be sued by the Justice Department's residential mortgage-backed securities working group. The rating agency said it was singled out because it downgraded U.S. debt in 2011. Its competitors, which issued the same grades for the same securities, weren't sued by the U.S.
 

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