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Congress on Bear Stearns; SEC Technical Stuff; XBRL

Melissa Klein Aguilar | April 15, 2008

It looks like the Securities and Exchange Commission will be spending a lot more time digging into the mess surrounding Bears Stearns’ collapse.

The agency received two letters in less than a week calling for separate probes related to the now-acquired investment bank: one asking why the SEC didn’t take enforcement action against it last year, and another asking the SEC to widen its probe into abusive short selling of Bear Stearns’ stock.

The first request came from U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Grassley called on the SEC’s inspector general to investigate why the Enforcement Division declined to bring a case against Bear Stearns last year for improperly valuing mortgage-related investments. Those investments turned out to be wildly overvalued, Bear lurched into a liquidity crisis, and the company was scooped up by JP Morgan last month for a fraction of its former value.

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