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Joseph Cassano, the AIG Financial Products chief whose small division brought down the giant insurance company and prompted a $180 billion government bailout, will not be charged either criminally or civilly, the Wall Street Journal reports. That brings the count of people held responsible for the greatest financial debacle since at least the 1930s to, let's see, 1-2-3 . . . . zero. Nobody in this class has yet been convicted, and most have never faced the prospect of charges. Was there really no criminal intent, no fraud of any kind, in this rigged game? Cassano's case may be instructive. Though seldom mentioned since his name became synonymous with AIG's crash, Cassano actually steered his group away from the credit default swap business relatively early. As Michael Lewis reports in his book, The Big Short, Cassano took AIG FP out of the business of insuring subprime mortgage-backed securities in early 2006. His only mistake was in continuing to insure the deals the company had already backed, instead of passing those hot potatoes onto others while there was still time. If Cassano had done that, knowing what he then knew about those securities' prospects, then he might have been subject to criminal charges.

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