Fannie Mae: una nuova Enron dai risvolti molto più cupi ?

Pubblicato il 29 Settembre 2005 da Veronica Baker

Shares in Fannie Mae plunged on Wednesday after a report saying investigators found new accounting violations at the mortgage finance enterprise, which is already under scrutiny for bookkeeping distortions.A spokeswoman for the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which oversees Fannie Mae’s financial soundness, would not confirm or deny on Wednesday a Dow Jones report that extensive additional problems had been found.

“We have an ongoing examination and I have no comment,” said Corinne Russell, an OFHEO spokeswoman.

Fannie Mae shares tumbled following the report, which said investigators discovered evidence that executives overvalued assets, underreported credit losses, and misused tax credits. The article cited unnamed sources close to, or who have been involved in, the inquiries.

Fannie Mae stock had been down less than 1 percent before the article was published at about 1:20 p.m. EDT (1720 GMT), but quickly moved lower. Shares closed at $41.71, down 10.7 percent, their biggest one-day drop since the market crash of October 1987.

The slide wiped out more than $4 billion of the stock’s market value.

David Dreman, who held 8.3 million shares of Fannie stock as of June 30 through his firm Dreman Value Management, said he would like to hear what regulators or the IRS have to say. The stock already trades at liquidation values, he said.

“I want to take a little bit more time now that the market has closed and take a good look. Is there anything really new here? I really don’t know,” said Dreman, who also holds a sizeable stake in Fannie’s sibling, Freddie Mac.

Fannie shares were exerting the most negative pressure of any stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, although the benchmark index remained modestly higher for the day.

Last year, OFHEO accused Fannie Mae of accounting improprieties in the midst of an extensive review of the company’s books. Fannie Mae acknowledged accounting problems, ousted top executives and said it would restate earnings.

Fannie Mae spokesman Chuck Greener said the company is pleased OFHEO has determined the company was adequately capitalized under a regular quarterly review. He said the company is on track to add an extra capital cushion demanded by the regulator when the accounting problems came to light.

“We will continue to provide updates through our regulatory filings as issues are identified and resolved,” he said.

Asked to comment on allegations of new accounting violations, a company spokesman referred to Greener’s statement.

Fannie Mae is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Departments of Labor and Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and by a legal team appointed by the company’s board of directors and headed by former New Hampshire Republican Senator Warren Rudman.

SEC officials declined comment. Officials at other agencies and at Rudman’s office could not immediately be reached.

Questa potrebbe rivelarsi una nuova Enron dalle conseguenze devastanti…

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