U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate on the Republican ticket, sold stock in U.S. banks on the same day he attended a confidential meeting where top-level officials disclosed the sector was heading for a deep crisis, The Guardian newpsaper in the U.K. reported on its website.
The congressman is facing questions about whether he profited from information gleaned from the meeting on Sept. 18, 2008 when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, then treasury secretary Hank Paulson and others outlined their fears for the banking sector, the newspaper said.
Public records show that on the same day, Ryan sold stock in troubled banks including Wachovia and Citigroup (C) and bought shares in Goldman Sachs (GS), Paulson's old employer and a bank that had been disclosed to be stronger than many of its rivals, The Guardian said. The sale wasn't illegal at the time, the newspaper added.
Not long after the meeting, Wachovia's already troubled share price went into free fall, The Guardian said. It plunged 39% on the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2008, alone as investors worried the bank would collapse, the newspaper said. It was eventually taken over by Wells Fargo for $15 billion, a fraction of its former value, The Guardian said.
Citigroup's share price fell soon after the meeting, the U.K. newspaper said. In October 2008 Citigroup was among the largest beneficiary of the troubled asset relief program, the taxpayer-funded bailout of the banking sector, The Guardian said.
Newspaper website: http://guardian.co.uk
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