Stephen Foley: The auditor's charged, now for the execs?

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US Outlook A year ago, I wrote here "Ten reasons why Wall Street will annoy you less in 2010", which ranged from new bank-curbing laws, through lower profitability and increased lending, to the repayment of bailout money. The one that didn't come true was my prediction that we would see major Wall Street bosses in handcuffs.

It was two-and-a-half years after its bankruptcy that senior executives of Enron were finally charged with fraud. On that measure, we are overdue for a reckoning at Lehman Brothers.

New York state laid civil fraud charges against Ernst & Young, the Lehman auditor, this week, accusing the firm of aiding a fraud by signing off on an accounting practice that hid tens of billions of dollars of Lehman debt from shareholders, leading to seven years of materially misstated financial results. It is elementary logic: if E&Y helped Lehman execs in a fraud, Lehman execs should soon face similar charges. Let's see.