A former chief executive of the world’s biggest bank, convicted in a fraud scheme, has told how he did not think he would have had to go to prison for his role in a $1.9bn US settlement with the US government over a $2bn mortgage fraud scheme.
Peter Giannetti, 66, a partner at the investment bank Lazard, told the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday he was “unfazed” by his sentence.
“I don’t feel that I would’ve done it had I known that the world would be a different place,” he said.
“I felt, as a member of the bank’s executive team, I was responsible.”
Mr Giannini, who left Lazard in 2012, was convicted in February of lying to regulators in a scheme to conceal losses on a $4.5bn mortgage mortgage-backed securities (MBS) scheme.
He was sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined $550,000, a decision he said was based on his own “good character”.
Mr Gancini was part of a group of five senior executives at Lazard who were accused of fraudulently obtaining mortgage-related securities.
He also pleaded guilty to charges that he misled investors in a mortgage securities fraud scheme that netted him $2.2bn.
“He was always in a position of trust and I always knew that the banks were taking advantage of me,” said Mr Giannucci, who has been in a hospital since his arrest in 2013.
“But I had never considered that I could go to jail and not be prosecuted for the rest of my life.”
In court, Mr Gancetti testified that the settlement with Congress was “the right thing to do”, and that his sentence was a “good way to make amends”.
Lazard, which is currently the world-leading US investment bank, has paid $4bn in fines to settle allegations of fraud.