Archive | Banksters

Corrupt companies face nonexistent criminal prosecution from the feds

money laundering

Big banks and accounting firms launder money, sometimes for countries designated as terrorists. The feds fine them. No no one goes to prison. This is corruption at the highest levels of finance and government. Our government is running a protection racket. Banksters get to continue their business as usual after paying money to the government.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers was fined a ludicrously low $25 million fine for aiding a Japanese bank in laundering money for Iran, Sudan, and Myanmar. The PWC director, now a partner, at the center of this still works for the company and was not criminally indicted.This is outrageous.

In May 2008, the Japanese bank told PwC that it had a written policy to strip wire messages of any information that related to countries blacklisted by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, according to the settlement.

The auditors then let the bank’s lawyers dictate specific parts of the report, scrubbing any mention of any special instructions to it employees and said that the data was complete and their methodology was appropriate.

Fedex charged with money laundering. Feds say Fedex knowingly shipped illegal drugs from online pharmacies. And, you guessed it, no executives have been charged.

The three money laundering charges allege the online pharmacies paid their FedEx bills with money obtained illegally.

FedEx Corp. already was facing 15 conspiracy and drug charges that were filed last month for allegedly shipping powerful sleep aids, sedatives, pain killers and other drugs needing prescriptions to use. Rival UPS Inc. paid $40 million last year to resolve similar allegations.

Banks are supposedly under pressure from US regulators to cut down on laundering money from casinos. Really? Our toothless enforcement agencies would of course never attempt to put such criminals in prison, thus their efforts are next to useless. Even so, banksters manage to whine how unfair it is for them to be treated as criminals just because many of them have been laundering money.

Standard Chartered Chief Executive of Asia, Jaspal Bindra, said the penalties are unfair.

“We are supposed to police that our counterparties and clients are not money laundering,” said Bindra, “and if when we are policing we have a lapse, we don’t get treated like a policeman who’s had a lapse, we are treated like a criminal.”

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Senior managers ‘personally liable’ for money-laundering lapses in UK

Money Laundering

This is a fine idea that needs to be implemented in the US too. Put real fear into greedhead money-laundering banksters and their ilk by coming after them personally if they break the law.

Senior management in money services in Great Britain are now personally liable for failures in money laundering. Rather than slap on the wrist fines for the corporation,  executives face prison and unlimited fines “if their neglect leads to money laundering or terrorist financing activities.”

HMRC said that senior managers at money service businesses are responsible for carrying out a risk assessment to identify where their business is “vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing” and for preparing policies and procedures that outline how the company will manage those risks identified.

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New Class Conflict. Proleterianization of the Middle Class

class-conflict

The New Class Conflict arises from the disintegration of the middle class and emergence of two new aristocracies; the tech oligarchy and what Joel Kotkin calls the clerisy, which are policy, media, and academic elites. Neither much cares what happens to the middle class and indeed are dismissive and contemptuous of it, except for how the serfs can be utilized for menial tasks or repairing robots. Both elites mask class war goals behind facades of gee-whiz internet widgets and eco / green policies. We are really just here to help you. Right. Behind both are banksters, who are currently making big money in student loans and renting out foreclosed homes, fine ways to extract money money from the middle class to them.

An “average” skilled worker can expect to subsist on little but rice and beans in the future U.S. economy. If they choose to live on the East or West Coast, they may never be able to buy a house, and will remain marginal renters for life. Left-leaning Slate in 2012 declared that manufacturing and construction jobs, sectors that powered the yeomanry’s upward mobility in the past, “aren’t coming back. Rather than a republic of yeoman, we could evolve instead, as one left-wing writer put it, living at the sufferance of our “robot overlords,” as well as those who program and manufacture them, likely using other robots to do so.

Part of the American Dream has always been home ownership and maybe a small business. Both are increasingly out of reach for many. Homes are too expensive. The government-imposed costs of running a small business are onerous.

There are many explanations for this decline, including the impact of offshoring, globalization and technology. But some reflects the impact of the ever more powerful Clerical regime, whose expansive regulatory power undermines small firms. Indeed, according to a 2010 report by the Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost firms with less than 20 employees over $10,000 each year per employee, while bigger firms paid roughly $7,500 per employee.

Predictably, the new elites mostly favor slow or no-growth. After all, they have their big rooms, and don’t want tacky strip malls nearby. Increasing they support what can only be called neo-Feudalism, with them as nobility and everyone else as serfs.

One would expect that this diminution of the middle class would offend those on the left, which historically supported both the expansion of ownership and the creation of a better life for the middle class. Yet some progressives, going back to the period before the Second World War, have disliked the very idea of dispersed ownership; many intellectuals, notes Christopher Lasch, found a society of “small proprietors” and owners “narrow, provincial and reactionary.”

Increasingly, the media and many urbanists, who see a new generation of permanent renters as part of their dream of a denser America, also embrace this vision as being more environmentally benign than traditional suburban sprawl.

Our emerging new elites are allied in opposition to the rest of us. They don’t care about the social contract or upward mobility for the masses. They have, of course, forgotten about the pitchforks.

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Standard Chartered baffled by their anti-money laundering software

garbage-in-garbage-out

Apparently software Standard Chartered installed to spot suspicious transactions was just so darned complicated that they couldn’t install it correctly. That’s why so many transactions linked to Iran somehow snuck through. The bank has already been fined $667 million for this, and now may be fined again. Drat that pesky software!

The bank installed the problematic transaction-monitoring software system late last decade. It was supposed to flag suspect transactions, and then bank compliance staff could see whether there were signs of possible criminal activity that needed to be reported to authorities, said the other source.

However, the so-called “detection scenarios” that tell the system what activity to flag for human review were not properly calibrated, the source said.

Tragically, the improperly calibrated software ran for years, producing bogus results, without anyone thinking they should double-check the results. Really?

Programmers have a phrase for this – Garbage In Garbage Out. And how very convenient this was for the bank, which is now promising to “scour records” for possible money laundering. I have upmost faith and confidence in them, how about you?

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Twitter stock soars on make-believe earnings

Tinkerbelle pixie dust

Don’t believe the hype. Twitter did not make money in Q2. The “earnings” they reported were non-GAAP, which translates to Making Sh*t Up, ignoring the bad bits, and paying no attention to accounting standards. This is what passes for corporate accounting today. “Analysts” expected Twitter non-GAAP earnings to be -0.02. Instead, Twitter just blasted through and reported a whopping 0.02 per share, which translates to a nosebleed P/E of 2347 at the current stock price. However non-GAAP numbers are garbage as they simply ignore anything inconvenient.

I do apologize for mentioning outmoded concepts such as Generally Accepted Accounting Standards and actual profits being useful in judging a stock. It’s so much easier to sprinkle pixie dust on the financials instead.

The other side of the coin? Twitter’s GAAP net loss totaled $145 million, up from $42 million a year ago. On a GAAP basis, Twitter lost $0.24 per share. Investors, however, were not expecting Twitter to be profitable by GAAP measurements, so the loss isn’t too much of a drag.

I’ll say it again. Non-GAAP measurements are fictitious and rubbish, and symptomatic of a corrupted financial system that bares little resemblance to reality.

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35% of Americans with credit files have delinquent debt

adults-in-debt

Delinquent debt nationwide is at a staggering 35%, according to a study by the Urban Institute. In Nevada, it is a whopping 47%. The more you are in debt, the higher the interest rates. Lots of people make lots of money grinding debtors for payments. Banksters securitize the debt. Entire industries have vested interests in keeping people in debt.

average-debt
The South has the highest percentage of people with debt in collections, however the amounts are low compared to other parts of the country. Debt is collection is only moderately correlated to low income. Higher income people can have debt problems too.

Financial distress is a daily challenge for millions of American consumers. Nearly 12 million adults—5.3 percent of Americans with a credit file—have non-mortgage debt reported past due, and they need to pay $2,258 on average to become current on that debt.14 Further, an alarming 77 million Americans—35 percent of adults with credit files—have debt in collections reported in their credit files,15 with an average debt amount of nearly $5,178.16 Debt reported past due, and in particular reported debt in collections, is more concentrated in the South.

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Banksters refuse to take haircut on Argentina debt, forcing default

vultures

Argentina will probably default shortly on its debt. Wall Street vultures bought Argentina debt cheap and refuse to negotiate or make concessions, even though the vast bulk of creditors have. The vultures want 100% payment. Argentina can’t afford that. Worse, if Argentina pays the holdouts at 100%, a clause in the contracts means that have to pay all other creditors at 100%. Plus, according to US law, it must pay all creditors, not just those who agreed to a haircut.

President Kirchner says that payment would amount to $15bn (£8.8bn), which is about half of the entire central bank foreign exchange reserves, so it’s not feasible for Argentina to do this. Not that the holdout jackals. They have no interest in Argentina beyond extracting money for it.

Argentina may default on July 30, with unpredictable and probably adverse ramifications for the world economy.

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More bubblicious tech: Amazon blows their earnings, warns on future

Amazon packages

Amazon lost $126 million last quarter, way worse than expected, and warns of a ginormous loss of $410-810 million next quarter, even as revenues were up 23%. Yes, Amazon continually pumps money into development and growth, and that’s great. However, it is a huge established company. At some point it needs to show a profit else people will start to think it’s just a carny shell game, with a levitating price based on hype not reality. In that it is not much different from too many other internet companies, which get fanciful valuations based of assumptions of future growth. However, at some point, profits really do need to be made. This time is not different. You can’t continually spend more than you have.

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Fed Chair Yellen says social media stocks overvalued

Funding potato salad on Kickstarter is as loony as buying social media stocks with no earnings and high valuations

Funding potato salad on Kickstarter is as loony as buying social media stocks with no earnings and high valuations

I’m guessing there was a surprise surge in shorting social media stocks right before Fed Chairman Yellen said the obvious, that social media stock valuations are ludicrously high and unsustainable. This of course is  a surge no one could have predicted (and which will barely be scrutinized by regulators, if at all.)

Nevertheless, valuation metrics in some sectors do appear substantially stretched—particularly those for smaller firms in the social media and biotechnology industries, despite a notable downturn in equity prices for such firms early in the year.

Facebook has a P/E of 87. LinkedIn and Twitter are losing money. These are the healthier companies. There are hundreds of little start-ups with insane valuations. Then there are the idiots who pledge $50,000 to help someone make potato salad. Of wait, these are probably the same people who buy flaky social media stocks.

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Snowpiercer. An violent revolution allegory for our 1% times

snowpiercer

An experiment to end climate change fails, freezing the planet. A few escape onto a self-sustaining train. A vicious class system oppresses the proles, who revolt. Yes, the ruling class on the train needed their corrupt, pampered asses kicked hard. However, without being a spoiler, I will say, violent revolution can have unintended consequences. Be careful of who you are with and what you ask for.

Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.

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