“Mr. Kingston, were you aware that Royal Financials statements were misleading to the global economic community”? In 2032, the world economy had sunk, not into an economic recession, but a literal depression. Likes of which happened in the early twentieth century. Many people were starting to wonder if it would take the third world war to bring back the global economy as World War II had done to western nations.
This time it was different, one of the most heated discussion over the previous ten months leading to January 2032, was Royal Financials misleading management, manipulating, and controlling of world financial data. Royal Financial was a problem for many governments. Many made their federal, state, and local budgets based on some of these reports. Due to misleading information on behalf of Royal Financial, the company was able to benefit from misleading governments. It allowed the company to mislead governments, benefiting from corporate tax rates, and lowered interest rates.
The man in front of the Galway Parliament was CEO and Chairmen of Royal Financial, Michael Kingston. He had been leading the company since 2019. Royal Financial was one of the few American companies, the first financial service company to reach a trillion-dollar market cap, next to Microsoft and Amazon. Though, in 2032, Royal Financial, essentially owned 6.5% of the US gross domestic product, Kingston, owning nearly 3.2% of the 6.5%. Kingston made billions off of false information, and within the twelve years, he leads the company, made nearly fifty billion dollars every year, leading up to the crisis in 2031. Now, in January of 2032, he’s in front of the Galway Parliament, facing severe questions from legislators.
“The Committee will be in order. Mr. Kingston, I’m Senator John Vahey. I chair the Committee and have for two years now. We have every member of this Committee here today, which is not typical. But, we are all here for an excellent reason, and that is to ask you why you have gotten us into the economic morass. I will start with my opening statement. Then I will allow you to respond to round one of our questions. I have one minute, and I will likely finish within. You will get about forty-five seconds to respond to my opening statement”.
Senator Vahey, a member of the Galway Parliament from Northern Galway, was incredibly frustrated with the situation. He was personally misled by Royal Financial, when passing the last budget for Galway, like many members of the Galway Parliament were. He was bound to challenge Kingston, to get to the point and not side-step any questioning.
“Mr. Kingston, I would say that we are in the greatest economic collapse ever in the history of global economics. I would argue much worse than the Great Depression that the Greatest Generation endured. We live in a modern world, with modern systems, it’s a completely different situation, but the irony is funny. History, to some extent, repeats itself, right? Yet, you’re at the center of it. So, I have three simple questions; please do not side-step them. We have a lot of business to do here today and for the remainder of the week. One, why did you purposely mislead governments around the world on your financial statements, when we rely on this in budgeting our taxation on financial services institutions. Two did you seek this out of your advantage. Three, did you know that your henchmen were purposely manipulating data and misleading not just politicians, but your shareholders in your company. That is my opening statement, Mr. Kingston; you have forty-five seconds, the floor is yours”.
Mr. Kingston knew he was in trouble. He knew what he did, but he was not going to go down without a fight. He was firm and admitted that he did nothing wrong when in reality, his own seek for material wealth, ruined millions of lives around the world, including some members of his own family. Even friends as well. He had readily prepared documents with his team and was going to be transparent, but mostly the hearing turned into a mess.
“Thank you, Senator Vahy. I am answering the first question. One, we submit financial reports to all nations we conduct business with, and we must do it right and fairly and accurately. With factual representation. Two, I didn’t seek taking advantage of billions of people for the sake of my gain, I’m a businessman, I conduct business, I will do what I can to make my business succeed. Three, I was not aware that my company was involved in any manipulation of data; I’m not involved with financial analysis; I led strategic leadership and risk management of the company”.
Senator Vahey was ready for a rebuttal and was going go full blast. “I would like to respond to your comments because you were very generalized in your responses. I find it ironic that you are a businessman, right? Do you want to do the best for your company at any cost? Yet you would put your company in such a situation like this. You’re the CEO of the most powerful company in the world, yet a CEO oversees everything in the company, and you only oversee strategy and risk? That’s very hard for me to believe. Very hard! As a CEO, it is your legal, moral, and business obligation to know what goes on in your company, if you don’t, you should not be leading it. The fact that you can sit here and say you care about your company and want it to succeed, yet you aren’t even responsible for the financial oversight of the company? You’re the CEO!”
Senator Vahey was known as a powerful senator, verbally and debated wise. He would poke holes in people’s arguments, fight vigorously and would not be on the defensive, seeking to have the last word. In this situation, he happened to be on the right side. “You don’t understand Mr. Kingston. Your company is responsible for nearly 55% of my constituents who were in the middle class to an upper middle class, losing most of their livelihood. But, at “I will do what I can to make my business succeed,” that rubbed off on billions of people. People in Galway included. Why are you flying around the world, trying to lick your wounds? You don’t even know what you’ve gotten yourself into!”
Mr. Kingston knew that Senator Vahy was right. His response was defensive. “Senator, I understand that this was a mistake made by my company. We were not transparent, we were not responsible, and we did not conduct operations right. We are at fault for that, but it was not at my inability to mismanage people. We happen to have made huge steps with our company in the last seven years.
As you know and have stated, we’ve been the most well-built company in the United States and around the world. We’ve done well, and we’ve strategized well, but not prepared for this. That is our fault”.
Senator Vahey, sitting in his chair, he did not believe what he was hearing. To him, excuses. Over and over again, but not real accountability. With the heated, with other Senators wanting their speeches heard, but for nearly forty-five minutes, Senator Vahy and Mr. Kingston went at it. Senator Vahey responded before the end of what was supposed to be round one of the hearing. “Look, Mr. Kingston, I think the record will show that you’re the CEO of Royal Financial. As the CEO, you’re in charge of the operation. You mislead powerful, responsive, and competent people. You lied to people for your advantage. You sought to seek out wealth for your gain. You were not “aware” of what was going on in your company’s financial department, which shocks me because the CFO reports to the CEO and the board members of most, if not, all companies. You’re making excuses for your wrongdoings. It wasn’t “us,” it was you! You got us into your mess under your leadership. You’ve gotten us into this mess; we expect you to help us get out of it. You’re fixing the monster you created. Do you understand? The Committee will be in recess for a thirty-minute break”