US attorney general defends financial crime record

February 24, 2012 04:48


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NEW YORK - US Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the Justice Department's record of financial crime enforcement, while acknowledging that some of the behavior that sparked the financial crisis did not rise to the level of criminality.

Speaking before an audience of about 400 students and professors at Columbia University, where he received both undergraduate and law school degrees, Holder said the Justice Department has taken "bold, unprecedented steps" toward combating financial crime.The Obama administration has been criticized for not bringing more high-profile prosecutions in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

"We've found that much of the conduct that led to the financial crisis was unethical and irresponsible," Holder said in prepared remarks.

"But we also have discovered that some of this behavior - while morally reprehensible - may not necessarily have been criminal."

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