By Stephanie Ruhle and Jonathan Allen
It was a “Kodak moment” that Wall Street and Washington won’t need a snapshot to remember. When word leaked last week that the Trump administration was lining up a $765 million loan to the hard-luck company once synonymous with photography, shares of Kodak stock skyrocketed from a little over $2 apiece to $60 apiece before settling back down.
The company’s chief executive officer and a small set of insiders made hundreds of millions of dollars on paper, and possibly in cash in some cases, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and news reports. That required an uncanny chain of events starting with the investors acquiring millions of low-value shares of a company on the rocks, the Trump administration inverting the purpose of a foreign-development law and the shareholders riding a broader wave of market excitement over the government’s newfound interest in Kodak to discover new riches.
“This loan seems like a highly questionable use of public money and raises questions about self-dealing and insider trading,” Bharat Ramamurti, a member of the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission, told NBC News.
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