Financial News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on banking and finance
The stock market is rigged. With stock prices rushing far ahead of economic reality over the last six or so years, more experts in the financial markets are coming to the same conclusion. Ed Yardeni, a longtime Wall Street guru ... said flat out last week that the market was being propped up. “These markets are all rigged, and I don’t say that critically. I just say that factually,” he asserted on CNBC. Yardeni’s claim is the most basic one: that the Federal Reserve won’t do anything that will upset Wall Street and, in fact, is doing all it can to help the stock market. The Bank of Japan [has been] “aggressively purchasing stock funds.” The benefits, Japan’s central bank believes, will then trickle down to the rest of the economy. One American exchange has made intervention in — rigging — foreign governments easier and cheaper to accomplish. CME Group, the Chicago exchange that trades options and commodities, had an incentive program under which foreign central banks could buy stock market derivatives like the Standard & Poor’s futures contracts at a discount. S&P futures contracts are the vehicle of choice for rigging the market. There’s another kind of market rigging ... being done by companies themselves. Since corporate profits and revenues aren’t growing enough to justify current high stock prices, companies have been aggressively buying back massive quantities of their own shares. By doing this, companies reduce the number of their shares owned by the public [to boost] the calculation of profit-per-shares. Today’s markets aren’t fair [and] stock prices are artificially inflated.
Note: Don't forget that Bernie Madoff was once the head of the NASDAQ exchange. When it comes to international banking, it appears that almost everything is rigged. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the systemically corrupt financial industry.
"God's Bankers" provides an exhaustive history of financial machinations at the center of the church in Rome. The final unification of Italy in 1870 ... deprived the church of its lands and feudal income, leading to several decades of acute financial insecurity. Popes of this period ... publicly denounced lending money at interest (usury) while at the same time accepting massive loans from the Rothschilds and making their own interest-bearing loans to Italian Catholics. Beginning with Bernardino Nogara, appointed by Pius XI in 1929, the church also empowered a series of often shady financial advisers to engage in financial wheeling and dealing around the globe. "So long as the balance sheets showed surpluses," [author of God's Bankers Gerald] Posner writes, "Pius and his chief advisers were pleased." That pattern would continue through the rest of the 20th century. The American archbishop Paul Marcinkus, [who] ran the Vatican Bank from 1971 to 1989 ... ended up implicated in several sensational scandals. The biggest by far was the collapse of Italy's largest private bank, Banco Ambrosiano, in 1982 - an event preceded by mob hits on a string of investigators looking into corruption in the Italian banking industry. Marcinkus ... also served as a spy for the State Department, providing the American government with "personal details" about John Paul II, and even encouraging the pope "at the behest of embassy officials" to publicly endorse American positions on a broad range of political issues.
Note: The Vatican Bank was implicated in a scheme to smuggle tens of millions of euros out of Switzerland in 2013, and was used to launder money for the mafia as recently as 2012. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A senior writer at the Daily Telegraph has dramatically quit the newspaper after accusing its owners, the Barclay Brothers, of suppressing reports about the HSBC scandal out of fear of losing advertising revenue. Peter Oborne, the paper’s chief political commentator and an award-winning author, announced his resignation [and] accused the Telegraph of committing a “fraud” on readers. Mr Oborne detailed a series of investigations about HSBC, and other financial scandals, which he said executives at the newspaper had closed down. Mr Oborne wrote: “From the start of 2013 onwards stories critical of HSBC were discouraged [because] HSBC [had] suspended its advertising with the Telegraph. “Its account ... was extremely valuable. HSBC, as one former Telegraph executive told me, is ‘the advertiser you literally cannot afford to offend’. “Winning back the HSBC advertising account became an urgent priority. It was eventually restored after approximately 12 months. Executives say that Murdoch MacLennan [chief executive of Telegraph Media Group] was determined not to allow any criticism of the international bank.” As a result of a 2012 investigation into accounts held by HSBC in Jersey, he claimed: “Reporters were ordered to destroy all emails, reports and documents related to the HSBC investigation. I [resigned] as a matter of conscience. The past few years have seen the rise of shadowy executives who determine what truths can and what truths can’t be conveyed across the mainstream media."
Note: Oborne's online resignation provides a unique window into some of the ways that big money is used to manipulate the media. Read lots more on HSBC's empire of corruption in a Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi. HSBC was founded to service the international drug trade in the 19th century, and launders money for mobsters and terrorists on a massive scale.
Iceland's government appointed a special prosecutor to investigate its bankers after the world's financial systems were rocked by the discovery of huge debts and widespread poor corporate governance. "This ... sends a strong message that will wake up discussion," special prosecutor Olafur Hauksson told Reuters. "It shows that these financial cases may be hard, but they can also produce results." The country's efforts contrast with the United States and particularly Europe, where though some banks have been fined, few executives have been tried and voters suffering post-crisis austerity conditions feel bankers got off lightly. Iceland struggled initially to appoint a special prosecutor. Hauksson ... was encouraged to put in for the job after the initial advertisement drew no applications. Icelandic lower courts have convicted the chief executives of all three of its largest banks for their responsibility in [the] crisis. They also convicted former chief executives of two other major banks, Glitnir and Landsbanki, for charges ranging from fraud and market manipulation. Many Icelanders have been frustrated that justice has been slow. The prosecutors' office has been hit by budget cuts since it was set up. But Hauksson believes the existing rulings mean there is less chance of similar scandals in the future. "There is some indication that the banks are more cautious," he said. Asked whether he would take the job again ... Hauksson replied, laughing: "Yes. And I'd probably be the only applicant again."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities, according to a huge cache of leaked secret bank account files. HSBC was headed during the period covered in the files by Stephen Green – now Lord Green – who served as the global bank’s chief executive, then group chairman until 2010 when he left to become a trade minister in the House of Lords for David Cameron’s new government. The files show how HSBC in Switzerland keenly marketed tax avoidance strategies to its wealthy clients. The bank proactively contacted clients in 2005 to suggest ways to avoid a new tax levied on the Swiss savings accounts of EU citizens, a measure brought in through a treaty between Switzerland and the EU to tackle secret offshore accounts. The documents also show HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary providing banking services to relatives of dictators, people implicated in African corruption scandals, arms industry figures and others. HSBC is already facing criminal investigations and charges in France, Belgium, the US and Argentina as a result of the leak of the files, but no legal action has been taken against it in Britain.
Note: Read lots more excellent information in a Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi. US Senator Elizabeth Warren is working hard to bring justice in this case. HSBC was founded to service the international drug trade following the 19th century opium war, and continues to launder money for drug cartels and terrorists on a massive scale. Now we learn that HSBC also provides financial services related to conflict diamonds, weapons trafficking, political corruption, and other organized criminal activities. Perhaps these criminal bankers are tolerated because the global economy might collapse without their cash.
At the Justice Department, senior officials like to congratulate themselves on the headline-making, big bucks settlements they have imposed upon banks and lenders. Those settlement figures are not quite what they seem, because settlements can be deducted from tax liabilities. For nearly every dollar a bank or lender has pledged to pay ... up to 35 cents will find its way back into bank coffers. Under Attorney General Eric Holder, whose agency has not prosecuted a single major bank or executive in the aftermath of the 2008 meltdown, the Justice Department has [allowed] windfall tax deductions [to be] set against the civil settlements imposed. [These may] total more than $44 billion. Astonishingly, for an economic crisis estimated to have cost the U.S. economy anywhere from $6 trillion to $14 trillion in lost output and value —if not twice that, according to a September 2013 study by the Dallas Federal Reserve bank— tracking the settlements and the deductions against taxes via government websites is almost impossible. There’s [a] self-serving reason for the Justice Department to hike civil settlement payments while allowing for most of the sum to be tax-deductible. The agency receives a cut of up to 3 percent of its share of the total settlements for its Working Capital Fund, a slush fund common across major government agencies. The Justice Department’s slush fund ... signals an institutional interest in getting big numbers.
Helen Davis Chaitman, the lead attorney for Madoff’s victims and the author of The Law of Lender Liability, and Lance Gotthoffer, one of our nation’s premier litigators, are blowing the whistle on JPMorgan Chase big time. Their explosive ... book [is titled], “JPMadoff: The Unholy Alliance Between America’s Biggest Bank and America’s Biggest Crook.” This book is ... about the incestuous relationship between so-called U.S. federal prosecutors, politicians for whom they worked, and the flow of Wall Street money to those politicians. JPMC knew, for 20 years, that Madoff was conducting illegal transactions in his account at the Bank. JPMC had a unique window into Madoff’s crimes. And they said nothing to federal authorities ... in clear violation of our banking laws. In 1994 a JPMC officer wrote a memo analyzing the check kiting and calling it “outrageous.” But what he thought was outrageous was not that Madoff [was] violating the law, but that [he was] being paid interest by the Bank on uncleared funds. As a result, JPMC allowed the transactions to continue but required Levy and Madoff to pay back the interest the Bank had paid them on uncleared funds. In January 2014, JPMC paid over $3 billion to settle civil and criminal charges that it violated the law in its dealings with Madoff. They [had] waited until after Madoff confessed and was arrested to report to United States law enforcement that Madoff might have been operating illegally.
Note: JP Morgan Chase's role in the Madoff scandal is outrageous, but it is relatively minor in comparison to the massive securities fraud and cover-up perpetrated by this and other big banks in cooperation with corrupt government officials. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
There is often a tip. Before many big mergers and acquisitions, word leaks out to select investors who seek to covertly trade on the information. Stocks and options move in unusual ways that aren't immediately clear. Then news of the deals crosses the ticker, surprising everyone except for those already in the know. Sometimes the investor is found out and is prosecuted, sometimes not. That's what everyone suspects, though until now the evidence has been largely anecdotal. Now, a groundbreaking new study finally puts what we've instinctively thought into hard numbers — and the truth is worse than we imagined. A quarter of all public company deals may involve some kind of insider trading, according to the study by two professors at the Stern School of Business at New York University and one professor from McGill University. The study, perhaps the most detailed and exhaustive of its kind, examined hundreds of transactions from 1996 through the end of 2012. The professors examined stock option movements — when an investor buys an option to acquire a stock in the future at a set price — as a way of determining whether unusual activity took place in the 30 days before a deal's announcement. The professors are so confident in their findings of pervasive insider trading that they determined statistically that the odds of the trading "arising out of chance" were "about three in a trillion." But, the professors conclude, the Securities and Exchange Commission litigated only "about 4.7 percent of the 1,859 ... deals included in our sample."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, told an audience in London that six years on from the deep financial crisis that engulfed the global economy, banks were resisting reform and still too focused on excessive risk taking to secure their bonuses at the expense of public trust. She said: "The behaviour of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally in a number of dimensions since the crisis. The industry still prizes short-term profit over long-term prudence, today's bonus over tomorrow's relationship. Some prominent firms have even been mired in scandals that violate the most basic ethical norms - Libor and foreign exchange rigging, money laundering, illegal foreclosure." Lagarde warned the too-big-to-fail problem among some of the world's largest financial institutions was still unresolved and remained a major source of systematic risk, with implicit subsidies of $70bn (Ł42bn) in the US, and up to $300bn in the eurozone. Lagarde said international progress to reform the financial system was too slow. Lagarde told [the] conference that rising inequality was also a barrier to growth, and could undermine democracy and human rights. The issue has risen up the agenda in recent months with the publication of the French economist Thomas Piketty's book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. "One of the leading economic stories of our time is rising income inequality, and the dark shadow it casts across the global economy," Lagarde said.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
European economies, France in particular, get very bad press in America. Our political discourse is dominated by reverse Robin-Hoodism — the belief that economic success depends on being nice to the rich, who won’t create jobs if they are heavily taxed, and nasty to ordinary workers, who won’t accept jobs unless they have no alternative. And according to this ideology, Europe — with its high taxes and generous welfare states — does everything wrong. So Europe’s economic system must be collapsing, and a lot of reporting simply states the postulated collapse as a fact. The reality, however, is very different. Yes, Southern Europe is experiencing an economic crisis thanks to [a money muddle caused by Europe's premature adoption of a single currency]. But Northern European nations, France included, have done far better [than America]. French adults in their prime working years (25 to 54) are substantially more likely to have jobs than their U.S. counterparts. France’s prime-age employment rate overtook America’s early in the Bush administration. Other European nations with big welfare states, like Sweden and the Netherlands, do even better. On the core issue of providing jobs for people who really should be working, at this point old Europe is beating us hands down despite social benefits and regulations that, according to free-market ideologues, should be hugely job-destroying.
Note: For more on the collusion of the US government with financial corporations to maintain their profitability, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
It was born in the late 19th century when a handful of London bullion dealers agreed to meet daily under a cloud of cigar smoke to set the price for the “devil’s metal”. But now, after 117 years of operation, the London silver fix – an integral part of the city’s $1.6tn-a-year silver market – is on its deathbed. The three banks that arrange silver’s global benchmark said on [May 14] that prices would be “fixed” for the final time at noon on August 14. The move comes on the heels of increased scrutiny by European and US regulators into precious metals price-setting following the Libor scandal and probe into possible forex market abuse. Deutsche Bank last month resigned its seats on the silver and gold fixes, after failing to find buyers, leaving just HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia on the silver fix. The three banks said there would be discussions “to explore whether the market wishes to develop an alternative” to the benchmark. The regulatory attention has removed the lustre from the once-prestigious precious metals fixes, while legal action in the US has been an additional deterrent for potential new members. US lawyers have filed at least 20 class lawsuits alleging manipulation by the banks responsible for the gold fix. The demise of the silver fix will raise questions about the future of the other precious metals benchmarks – platinum, palladium and, especially, gold. Following Deutsche Bank’s withdrawal, the gold fix can continue to operate effectively with four member banks, but critics say the process is old-fashioned and opaque, and needs to be overhauled.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Roman Catholic Church is enjoying some of its best press in decades. But, says a new documentary by PBS’ "Frontline," “Secrets of the Vatican,” the morally wrenching controversies that threatened to destroy the church's credibility, starting about the time Pope John Paul II died in 2005, have not fully subsided. "Secrets of the Vatican" ... takes an unsparing look at the state of the church Pope Francis inherited from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. “2012 was an annus horribilis for [Benedict],” Antony Thomas, the ... director of the film [said]. A horrible year on many fronts, not just with mounting evidence of financial impropriety at the Vatican bank, but also with incidents of sexual abuse by clergy spreading to more than 20 countries and, further, exposure of church hypocrisy about homosexuality. At the same time, reports emerged from Rome of a “gay mafia” inside the church that included some of its top officials, who were unafraid to wield political power and at the same time live an openly promiscuous gay lifestyle. “There was a lot that came to light, including a man who was, as it were, providing choirboys as rent boys,” Thomas said. "Secrets of the Vatican" also looks at the connection between the church’s requirement that its clergy must remain celibate and the high number of sexual abuse incidents among its ranks. Thomas said the film’s specificity about the nature of sexual abuses was necessary - because it’s still an overwhelming concern.
Note: Watch this incredibly revealing documentary on the PBS website. A primary insight is that Pope Benedict really did not step down from the papacy so much as flee the job. Then watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more, see concise summaries of sexual abuse scandal news articles.
The US Federal Reserve knew about Libor rigging three years before the financial scandal exploded but did not take any firm action, documents have revealed. According to newly published transcripts of the central bank’s meetings in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a senior Fed official first flagged the issue at a policy meeting in April 2008. William Dudley expressed fears that banks were being dishonest in the way they were calculating the London interbank offered rate – a global benchmark interest rate used as the basis for trillions of pounds of loans and financial contracts. Three years after his remarks, it emerged that traders at more than a dozen banks, including Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, had routinely been trying to fix the official Libor rate in order to boost their own bonuses and profits. The transcript of the Fed’s April 2008 meeting raises questions about why the central bank did not move to properly tackle the scandal. There was no official regulator for Libor at the time, and officials at the US Federal Reserve tried to blame British authorities for allowing the benchmark interest rate to get out of control in the first place. The Fed declined to comment on the transcripts or why it had not taken firm action..
Note: For more on government collusion with the biggest banks, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Bank of England has been dragged into the mounting controversy over allegations of price fixing in the Ł3tn-a-day foreign exchange markets after it emerged that a group of traders had told the Bank they were exchanging information about their clients' position. The latest twist in the unfolding saga ... puts the focus on a meeting between key officials at the central bank and leading foreign exchange dealers in April 2012, when they discussed the way they handled trades ahead of the crucial setting of a benchmark in the prices of major currencies. This benchmark is used to price a wide variety of financial products and is the subject of regulators' attention amid allegations that traders at rival banks were sharing information about their orders from clients to manipulate the price. The Bank of England has previously released brief details of the April 2012 meeting, but Bloomberg reported that a senior trader who attended the meeting had made notes showing that officials did not believe it was improper to share customer orders. There had been a 15-minute conversation on currency benchmarks during which traders said they used chatrooms ... to trade ahead of the volatile period when the benchmarks were set. The Bank would not provide any additional information. Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, told MPs on the Treasury select committee ... that the allegations were "every bit as bad" as those surrounding Libor. The chairman of that committee ... said the allegations were "extremely serious". The scrutiny of the foreign exchange markets has put a fresh focus on dealers leaving banks. More than 20 traders at banks around the world are said to have been suspended or left roles in connection with the forex investigations.
Note: For more on huge financial manipulations and corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Iceland let its banks fail in 2008 because they proved too big to save. Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal. While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime Minister Sigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high. The island’s sudden economic meltdown in October 2008 made international headlines as a debt-fueled banking boom ended in a matter of weeks when funding markets froze. Policy makers overseeing the $14 billion economy refused to back the banks, which subsequently defaulted on $85 billion. The government’s decision to protect state finances left it with the means to continue social support programs that shielded Icelanders from penury during the worst financial crisis in six decades. Of creditor claims against the banks, Gunnlaugsson says “this is not public debt and never will be.” Successive Icelandic governments have forced banks to write off mortgage debts to help households. The government’s 2014 budget sets aside about 43 percent of its spending for the Welfare Ministry, a level that is largely unchanged since before the crisis. Inflation, which peaked at 19 percent in January 2009, ... was 4.2 percent in December. To support households, Gunnlaugsson in November unveiled a plan to provide as much as 7 percent of gross domestic product in mortgage debt relief. The government intends to finance the plan, which the OECD has criticized as being too blunt, partly by raising taxes on banks.
Note: Why is Iceland's major success in letting banks fail getting so little press coverage? For a possible answer, click here. For more on government responses to the banking crisis and their impacts on people, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
More than a dozen family members of China's top political and military leaders are making use of offshore companies based in the British Virgin Islands, leaked financial documents reveal. The brother-in-law of China's current president, Xi Jinping, as well as the son and son-in-law of former premier Wen Jiabao are among the political relations making use of the offshore havens, financial records show. The documents also disclose the central role of major Western banks and accountancy firms ... in the offshore world, acting as middlemen in the establishing of companies. The Hong Kong office of Credit Suisse, for example, established the BVI company Trend Gold Consultants for Wen Yunsong, the son of Wen Jiabao, during his father's premiership — while PwC and UBS performed similar services for hundreds of other wealthy Chinese individuals. The disclosure of China's use of secretive financial structures is the latest revelation from "Offshore Secrets", a two-year reporting effort led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained more than 200 gigabytes of leaked financial data from two companies in the British Virgin Islands, and shared the information with the Guardian and other international news outlets. In all, the ICIJ data reveals more than 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong have made use of offshore havens in the Caribbean. Between $1tn and $4tn in untraced assets have left China since 2000, according to estimates.
The European Union has levied a record antitrust fine of €1.71 billion ($2.3 billion) on six European and U.S. banks and brokers for rigging benchmark interest rates. Deutsche Bank was hit with the single biggest penalty of €725.4 million for participating in illegal cartels to manipulate the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor, and London interbank offered rate, or Libor. "What is shocking about the Libor and Euribor scandals is ... the collusion between banks who are supposed to be competing with each other," said Joaquin Almunia, Europe's top antitrust official. Other banks fined [were] Societe Generale (€446 million), Royal Bank of Scotland (€391 million), JP Morgan (€79.9 million) and Citigroup (€70 million). U.K.-based broker RP Martin was fined €247,000 for facilitating one infringement. EU investigators said the Euribor cartel operated for nearly three years between 2005 and 2008, as traders discussed submissions used to calculate the benchmark rate, and compared trading and pricing strategies. They also discovered illegal collusion in the setting of Libor in Japanese yen between 2007 and 2010. UBS and Barclays, [which] have already been fined by regulators in the U.K. and U.S. for Libor rigging, were spared further punishment because they cooperated with the European Commission investigation. They dodged new fines of €2.5 billion and €690 million respectively. The scandal broke in the middle of 2012 when Barclays admitted trying to manipulate Libor, which together with related rates is used to price trillions of dollars of financial products around the world.
Note: Notice that no one is going to jail and no one is being personally fined for these incredibly outrageous manipulations. For an analysis that argues the "record fines" are really just a "slap on the wrist" for the big banks, click here. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
[The European Commission's] plans to create a single market incorporating Europe and the United States, progressing so nicely when hardly anyone knew, have been blown wide open. All over Europe people are asking why this is happening; why we were not consulted; for whom it is being done. The Commission insists that its Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership should include a toxic mechanism called investor-state dispute settlement. Where this has been forced into other trade agreements, it has allowed big corporations to sue governments before secretive arbitration panels composed of corporate lawyers, which bypass domestic courts and override the will of parliaments. This mechanism could threaten almost any means by which governments might seek to defend their citizens or protect the natural world. Already it is being used by mining companies to sue governments trying to keep them out of protected areas; by banks fighting financial regulation; by a nuclear company contesting Germany's decision to switch off atomic power. No longer able to keep this process quiet, the European commission has instead devised a strategy for lying to us. The message is that the trade deal is about "delivering growth and jobs" and will not "undermine regulation and existing levels of protection in areas like health, safety and the environment". Just one problem: it's not true. From the outset, the transatlantic partnership has been driven by corporations and their lobby groups, who boast of being able to "co-write" it.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
When the fires from the 2007-08 financial crisis were still being fought, JPMorgan Chase looked like a winner. Not only was JPMorgan Chase able to scoop up former rivals Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns for bargain basement prices, but its stock value shot up by nearly 31 percent over the past 4 1/2 years. But this year has been a little less kind to JPMorgan Chase. On [November 20) JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the federal government over selling toxic mortgage investments. It also admitted to wrongdoing in knowingly peddling the instruments. Both settlements are for the "incomplete information" JPMorgan Chase gave to the pension funds for their purchases of toxic securities during the years 2004 to 2008. Even for a colossus such as JPMorgan Chase, $13 billion is a lot of money - about half of its annual profit. Forcing JPMorgan to admit wrongdoing - a rare concession - may open the door to more headaches for the company, especially because the government is continuing a criminal probe into its mortgage prices. The scale of the devastation is still so enormous that the only question left for the Justice Department to answer is why no one from any of the big banks has yet to go to jail. Wall Street's wrongdoing was about more than a dollar cost - it was about the widespread human suffering that remains with us today. Jail time would be more than appropriate, but so far the banks have been able to pay their way out of it.
Note: Because JP Morgan Chase can write off $11 billion of the fine as tax deductible, the real fine is actually reduced by $4 billion to about $7 billion, just one-third of Chase's $21 billion profit in the year 2012. For more on financial fraud, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Tax the rich and better target the multinationals: The IMF has set off shockwaves this week in Washington by suggesting countries fight budget deficits by raising taxes. Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, which is holding its annual meetings with the World Bank this week in the US capital, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits. But in its Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled "Taxing Times", the Fund advanced the idea of taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight against growing income inequalities. "Scope seems to exist in many advanced economies to raise more revenue from the top of the income distribution," the IMF wrote, noting "steep cuts" in top rates since the early 1980s. According to IMF estimates, taxing the rich even at the same rates during the 1980s would reap fiscal revenues equal to 0.25 percent of economic output in the developed countries. "The gain could in some cases, such as that of the United States, be more significant," around 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, said the IMF report, which also singled out deficient taxation of multinational companies. In the US alone, legal loopholes deprive the Treasury of roughly $60 billion in receipts, the global lender said. The IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, kept up the sales pitch for a more just fiscal policy. "It's clearly something finance ministers are interested in, it's something that is necessary for the right balance of public finances," said Lagarde, a former French finance minister.
Note: Yahoo! was the only major media in the US to pick up this eye-opening news, with the possible exception of a Forbes article which shows how afraid they are of this development. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
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