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First Big Test for New SEC Chair

The appointment of Robert Rice as counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the first big test for Mary Jo White, the new head of the SEC, according to an article in CNN Money.

A press release about Rice’s hiring failed to disclose that while recently at Deutsche Bank, Rice was named as a respondent in a complaint over the improper firing of SEC whistleblower Eric Ben-Artzi.

Ben-Artzi alleges that Deutsche Bank understated their losses by up to $12 billion.

From the article:

According to the Financial Times, Rice led Deutsche's internal investigation into the alleged multibillion-dollar misstatement. While Deutsche asserts that it did nothing wrong, the SEC is supposedly still looking into the accounting fraud allegations.

Because of this, Rice and the SEC would seem to be in a bit of a conflict. The SEC requires company proxies to disclose certain potential conflicts of interest and related party transactions by directors. Shouldn't Rice's involvement on this significant Deutsche matter been openly disclosed?

The article raises the concern that because Rice was involved in this potential improper firing of a whistleblower, hiring him to be the counsel for the SEC might have a chilling effect on future whistleblowers.

Read more at CNN Money.

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Financial Sector

Related Content: Conflicts of Interest, Financial Oversight, Securities and Exchange Commission

Authors: Andre Francisco

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