Former U.S. Treasury secretary Robert Rubin says he’s not to blame for Citi’s troubles.

Former U.S. Treasury secretary Robert Rubin said the near-collapse of Citigroup Inc, where he is a senior counselor, was due to the buckling financial system and not his own mistakes, according to an interview published on The Wall Street Journal’s website on Friday.

Rubin, who is also a director at Citigroup, acknowledged he was involved in a board decision to ramp up risk-taking in 2004 and 2005, according to the paper, and said if executives had executed the plan properly, the bank’s losses would have been less.

The Journal said Rubin has earned $115 million in pay since 1999, excluding stock options. “I bet there’s not a single year where I couldn’t have gone somewhere else and made more,” said Rubin, according to the Journal.

My Comment: And exactly what does that prove other than there is a greater fool somewhere else?

Rubin cited former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as another example of someone whose reputation has been unfairly damaged by the financial crisis, according to the Journal

My Comment: Latching on to Greenspan as some sort of proof of innocence is like throwing a drowning man an anchor.

The paper reported that Rubin said of the current crisis: “what came together was not only a cyclical undervaluing of risk (but also) a housing bubble and triple-A ratings were misguided,” he said. “There was virtually nobody who saw that low-probability event as a possibility.”

My Comment: Rubin’s statement displays ignorance at best and is a blatant lie at worst. There are plenty of people that saw this coming: Roubini, Shiller, Shostak, Schiff, me, and literally hundreds of bloggers all of which could have run Citigroup better than Citigroup management did.

Rubin told the Journal that the Citigroup board could bear some responsibility and that some things should have been done differently.

My Comment: How quaint. Rubin is saying: “It’s not my fault, rather it’s the fault of everyone else on the board.”

Rubin’s arrogance and denial is appalling.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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