WASHINGTON - FBI Director Robert Mueller sought on Wednesday to dispel any perception among Americans that the bureau and the Justice Department let bankers go free after they helped bring about the US financial crisis.
The complexity of the crisis made it difficult to identify what crimes might have occurred and to explain to Americans why there was a scarcity of prosecutions on Wall Street, Mueller told reporters in response to questions about the crisis.
Mueller was speaking in a rare interview 12 years into the job and just weeks before his Sept. 4 departure.
"I would say that's a misperception. There were a number of contributing factors to the crash in 2008, and if you look at the statistics in terms of persons we've investigated and prosecuted, there are a number that are out there, and investigations are ongoing," said the 69-year-old former prosecutor and U.S. Marine.
"Often it's very difficult to put it all together and paint a picture that is persuasive when you have such disparate contributing factors to a particular crisis," he added, "but where we've found the evidence and we've followed the evidence, I think we have a pretty good track record."