FBI zeroes in on 'Big 4' for Wall Street fraud probe

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New York, Sept.24 : The FBI has four major US financial institutions in its crosshairs for triggering the potential collapse of Wall Street and the need for a 700 billion dollar federal bailout plan, law-enforcement officials said today.

Citing potential fraud charges, the feds are probing mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., and insurer American International Group Inc. - while focusing on the heads of the financial institutions, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Congress has given an icy reception to the government's top moneymen as they warned of recession, layoffs and lost homes if the Bush administration's emergency bailout plan isn't immediately approved.

Urgency was the message of the day for administration officials who testified before the Senate Banking Committee about their proposal to spend 700 billion dollars to buy troubled, mortgage-linked securities from financial firms.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said failure to pass the bailout could lead to a recession with high unemployment and increased home foreclosures.

ANI

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