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Financial News Articles
Excerpts of key news articles on banking and finance


Below are key excerpts of little-known, yet highly revealing news articles on banking and finance from the major media. Links are provided to the full news articles for verification. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These articles on banking and finance are listed by order of importance. You can also explore them ordered by the date of the article or by the date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves, we can build a brighter future.


Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on dozens of engaging topics. And read excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


China's princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven
2014-01-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2014/jan/21/china-british-vir...

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.

Note: Read the ICIJ's full report of the latest offshore links. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


EU fines banks record $2.3B over Libor
2013-12-04, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/04/news/companies/libor-europe-fines

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 lies behind this transatlantic trade deal
2013-12-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/02/transatlantic-free-trade...

[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.


JPMorgan settlement is a payout to victims
2013-11-20, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/JPMorgan-settlement-is-a-pay...

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? IMF sparks a mini revolution
2013-10-11, Yahoo!/Agence France Presse
http://news.yahoo.com/tax-rich-imf-sparks-mini-revolution-020128173.html;_ylt...

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.


Greg Palast: Potential Fed Chair Summers at Heart of Global Economic Crisis
2013-09-03, Truthout
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18555-revealed-potential-fed-chair-summers...

Investigative journalist Greg Palast has obtained a secret memo authored by then deputy Treasury secretary Larry Summers and his protégé Timothy Geithner detailing their plans to roll back financial regulation. In the piece, titled "The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis", [Palast] writes: "The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak's fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top U.S. Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears." [Palast:] This is really important right now because Larry Summers is President Obama's top choice to become head of a Federal Reserve Board. He would take Ben Bernanke's place. And what this memo is--they call it the "end game memo". Geithner calls it the "end game". And what's the game being played? The memo asks Summers to get back to the five biggest, most powerful bankers in the United States to act on and determine what our policy should be for world governance of the banking system. Basically, there were secret calls going between Larry Summers and the head of Bank of America, the head of Goldman Sachs, the head of Citibank and Merrill, the five big boys, to find out what should happen to the world financial policing order. And the answer was: smash it. Summers was holding secret meetings with the big bankers to come up with a scheme to eliminate financial regulation across the planet.

Note: Greg Palast is a New York Times-bestselling author and a freelance journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as the British newspaper The Observer. He is one of the few journalists uncovering the deepest layers of secrecy in our world. For a key past report of his on elections corruption, click here.


California duped on energy buys again
2013-08-01, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/California-duped-on-ene...

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay federal regulators $410 million to settle allegations that the giant bank manipulated energy markets in California and Michigan. About $285 million of the settlement will go to the U.S. Treasury for civil penalties, and about $124 million will be refunded to California ratepayers. The remainder will be refunded to Michigan ratepayers. If this story sounds familiar, that's because it is. Californians who remember the Enron energy debacle of 2000-01 won't be surprised to learn that JPMorgan's traders have been accused of fraudulent behavior. Once again, the fraud was performed by manipulating the auction system that was developed by a quasi-state agency, the California Independent System Operator, to handle California's electricity needs. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that JPMorgan engaged in 12 manipulative bidding strategies, which wound up forcing ratepayers to pay higher amounts than they should have - all because the bank wanted to find a cheap way to profit off of aging power plants in Southern California. JPMorgan used a variety of bait-and-switch strategies - duping Cal-ISO into paying exorbitant fees for running the plants at a low level, for instance, or manipulating the bidding system so that Cal-ISO was forced to pay rates that were many times higher than market rate. The fact that this kind of manipulation is still happening is upsetting. And while $410 million is a record settlement for the FERC, it's a drop in the bucket to JPMorgan, which reported $6.5 billion in quarterly profits this month.

Note: Remember Enron, which scammed millions and then went bankrupt, wiping out pensions of its many employees? To read CBS reports on how Enron purposely shut down power plants so they could cause and then cash in on the energy crisis, click here.


Sen. Warren Leads Charge to Break Up Big Banks
2013-07-07, CNBC
http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?play=1&video=3000182337

CNBC’s BRIAN SULLIVAN: Is there anyone else in the Senate that is a professor? ELIZABETH WARREN: I don't think so. ... We had the big crash in 2008. What does everyone say about it? They say too much concentration in financial services creates too big to fail. It puts us at bigger risk. And what's happened since 2008? The four biggest financial institutions are now 30% bigger than they were in 2008. The central premise behind a 21st century Glass-Steagall is to say if you want to get out there and take risks, go ahead and do it. But ... you can't get access to FDIC insured deposits when you do. That way ... at least one portion of our banking sector stays safe. From 1797 to 1933, the American banking system crashed about every 15 years. In 1933, we put good reforms in place, for which Glass-Steagall was the centerpiece, and from 1933 to the early 1980s, that’s a 50 year period, we didn’t have any of that – none. We kept the system steady and secure. And it was only as we started deregulating, [you hit] the S&L crisis, and what did we do? We deregulated some more. And then you hit long-term capital management at the end of the 90s, and what did we do as a country? This country continued to deregulate more. And then we hit the big crash in 2008. You are not going to defend the proposition that regulation can never work, it did work. SULLIVAN: I didn’t say regulation never worked, Senator. By far and away, and I agree, there were fewer bank failures in that time after Glass-Steagall. ELIZABETH WARREN: “Fewer,” as in, of the big ones, zero.

Note: Sen. Warren is one of the few bright lights in Congress. Watch this interview to see why. To read about later censorship of this interview by NBC, click here.


HSBC Judge Approves $1.9B Drug-Money Laundering Accord
2013-07-03, Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-07-02/hsbc-judge-approves-1-9b-dr...

HSBC Holdings Plc’s $1.9 billion agreement with the U.S. to resolve charges it enabled Latin American drug cartels to launder billions of dollars was approved by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, New York, signed off yesterday on a deferred-prosecution agreement. HSBC was accused of failing to monitor more than $670 billion in wire transfers and more than $9.4 billion in purchases of U.S. currency from HSBC Mexico, allowing for money laundering, prosecutors said. The bank also violated U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, Libya, Sudan, Burma and Cuba, according to a criminal information filed in the case. The bank, Europe’s largest, agreed to pay a $1.25 billion forfeiture and $665 million in civil penalties under the settlement, prosecutors announced in December. At a hearing the same month, Gleeson told prosecutors there had been “publicized criticism” of the agreement, which lets the bank and management avoid further criminal proceedings over the charges. Lack of proper controls allowed the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico and the Norte del Valle cartel in Colombia to move more than $881 million through HSBC’s U.S. unit from 2006 to 2010, the government alleged in the case. The bank also cut resources for its anti-money-laundering programs to “cut costs and increase profits,” the government said in court filings. Under a deferred prosecution agreement, the U.S. allows a target to avoid charges.

Note: HSBC was founded to service the international drug trade, and is considered too big to criminally prosecute. Big bank settlements often amount to "cash for secrecy" deals that are ultimately profitable for banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about financial industry corruption.


Rigged-Benchmark Probes Proliferate From Singapore to UK
2013-06-16, Bloomberg Businessweek
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-06-16/rigged-benchmark-probes-prolifera...

The probe of Libor manipulation is proving to be the tip of the iceberg as inquiries into assets from derivatives to foreign exchange show that if there’s a chance to rig benchmark rates in world markets, someone is usually willing to try. Singapore’s monetary authority last week censured 20 banks for attempting to fix interest rate levels in the island state and ordered them to set aside as much as $9.6 billion. Britain’s markets regulator is looking into the $4.7 trillion-a-day currency market after Bloomberg News reported that traders have manipulated key rates for more than a decade, citing five dealers. “It’s happened time and again: all of these markets have been influenced by major market-makers, which is a polite way of saying they’ve been rigged,” Charles Geisst, a finance professor at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, said. While the indexes under scrutiny are little known to the public, their influence extends to trillions of dollars in securities and derivatives. Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland have been fined about $2.5 billion in the past year for distorting the London interbank offered rate, which is tied to $300 trillion worth of securities. Regulators are also probing ISDAfix, a measure used in the $370 trillion interest-rate swaps market, as well as how some oil products prices are set. Inquiries are broadening into the transparency of benchmarks whose levels can be determined by the same people whose income they affect. In the case of Libor, traders who stood to profit worked with bank employees responsible for submissions for the benchmark to rig the price.

Note: To read highly revealing major media articles showing just how crazy and unregulated the derivatives market is, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.


Top economist Jeffrey Sachs says Wall Street is full of 'crooks' and hasn't changed since the financial crash
2013-04-29, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/top-economist-jeffrey-sachs-...

One of the world's most respected economists has said Wall St is full of "crooks" and hasn't reformed its "pathological" culture since the financial crash. Professor Jeffrey Sachs told a high-powered audience at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve earlier this month that the lack of reform was down to “a docile president, a docile White House and a docile regulatory system that absolutely can’t find its voice.” Sachs, from Columbia University, has twice been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and is an adviser to the World Bank and IMF. “What has been revealed, in my view, is prima facie criminal behavior,” he said. “It’s financial fraud on a very large extent. There’s also a tremendous amount of insider trading. We have a corrupt politics to the core, I am afraid to say, and . . . both parties are up to their neck in this. This has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans." Sachs described an environment of Wall Street influencing politicians with growing campaign contributions. In the 2012 election cycle, political contributions by the securities and investment sector hit $271.5 million, compared with $176 million in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. “I am going to put it very bluntly: I regard the moral environment as pathological. They have no responsibility to pay taxes; they have no responsibility to their clients; they have no responsibility to people, to counterparties in transactions,” he said. “They are tough, greedy, aggressive and feel absolutely out of control in a quite literal sense, and they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent.”

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on criminal practices of Wall Street corporations, click here.


Billionaires Flee Havens as Trillions Pursued Offshore
2013-04-29, Businessweek
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-04-29/billionaires-flee-as-tax-district...

Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, Russia’s 14th-richest person, and his wife, Elena Rybolovleva, have been brawling for almost five years in at least seven countries over his $9.5 billion fortune. In a divorce complaint originated in Geneva in 2008, Rybolovleva accused her husband of using a “multitude of third parties” to create a network of offshore holding companies and trusts to place assets -- including about $500 million in art, $36 million in jewelry and an $80 million yacht -- beyond her reach. She has brought legal action against the 48-year-old Rybolovlev in the British Virgin Islands, England, Wales, the U.S., Cyprus, Singapore and Switzerland, and is seeking $6 billion. The suits provide a window into the offshore structures and secrecy jurisdictions the world’s richest people use to manage, preserve and conceal their assets. According to Tax Justice Network, a U.K.-based organization that campaigns for transparency in the financial system, wealthy individuals were hiding as much as $32 trillion offshore at the end of 2010. Fewer than 100,000 people own $9.8 trillion of offshore assets. More than 30 percent of the world’s 200 richest people, who have a $2.8 trillion collective net worth ...control part of their personal fortune through an offshore holding company or other domestic entity where the assets are held indirectly. These structures often hide assets from tax authorities or provide legal protection from government seizure and lawsuits.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on failure of governments to regulate great accumulations of wealth, click here.


Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
2013-04-25, Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-fi...

Conspiracy theorists of the world, ... we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The world is a rigged game. The world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything. You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which ... perhaps as many as 16 ... banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process [manipulating] the prices of upward of $500 trillion ... worth of financial instruments. Now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world's largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world's largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps. Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. [It's] a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget. It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the criminal practices of the financial industry, click here.


Big banks 'more dangerous than ever', IMF's Christine Lagarde says
2013-04-10, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9985280/Big-b...

Europe needs to recapitalise, restructure or shut down its banks as part of a vital clean-up of the industry, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said as she warned that the threat from world’s biggest lenders was “more dangerous than ever”. Speaking in New York ahead of next week’s IMF Spring meeting, Ms Lagarde launched a broadside against the financial services industry for resisting urgent reform. “In too many cases – from the United States in 2008 to Cyprus today – we have seen what happens when a banking sector chooses the quick buck ..., backing a business model that ultimately destabilizes the economy. We simply cannot have pre-crisis banking in a post-crisis world. We need reform, even in the face of intense pushback from an industry sometimes reluctant to abandon lucrative lines of business.” Almost five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed, she claimed: “The 'oversize banking’ model of too-big-to-fail is more dangerous than ever. We must get to the root of the problem with comprehensive and clear regulation.” Regulators have forced banks to increase significantly their loss-absorbing capital buffers since the crisis, but are still working on "resolution" mechanisms that will allow giant lenders to fail without hitting the taxpayer and threatening financial stability. Regulators must also work together, she added, amid evidence that some countries are caving into pressure from the banking lobby.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.


Elizabeth Warren Wants HSBC Bankers Jailed for Money Laundering
2013-03-07, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/elizabeth-warren-wants-hsbc-bank...

Elizabeth Warren has a question: How much money does a bank have to launder before people go to jail? Warren ... posed that question numerous times to financial regulators at a Senate Banking Committee hearing [on] banks and money laundering. In December, U.S. Justice Department officials announced that HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, would pay a $1.92 billion fine after laundering $881 million for drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia. The two regulators, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen and Federal Reserve Governor Jerome H. Powell, deflected Warren’s questions, saying that criminal prosecutions are for the Justice Department to decide. An exasperated Warren said, as she wrapped up her questioning, “If you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night — every single individual associated with this — and I just think that’s fundamentally wrong.”

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion between government and finance, click here.


Iceland president: Letting banks fail helped recovery
2012-12-13, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/13/business/iceland-recovery

Four years after the country let its debt-ridden banks fail, and as the country's growth looks set to far outpace the eurozone, [Iceland's president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson] said the decision not to save the banks was "the most difficult I ever had to make," but maintained it was the right one. "Allowing the banks to fail is one of the fundamental reasons Iceland is now in a strong recovery with respect to other European countries," he said. Now, according to Grimsson, "Iceland is better placed to benefit by maintaining our present position, rather than to let the EU speak on our behalf." The 69-year-old president pointed to Norway and Greenland -- two other Arctic economies and non-European Union members -- as role models. However, Grimsson said he was not sure whether Iceland's strategy with its banks could have been replicated by other countries with similar problems, such as Ireland. "Being part of the eurozone, they couldn't devalue their currency. But they could have adopted our policy with respect to the banks," he said. The Icelandic krona fell sharply as a result of the financial collapse, helping the country recover by increasing demand for exports. "There are still scars," Grimsson said, "but on the whole, the will of the Icelandic people has enabled us to recover and move confidently towards the future."

Note: Watch a great video interview of Iceland's president discussing this matter. Iceland has gone through tremendous transformation that has greatly supported both the people and the economy of this nation. Why is this getting so little press coverage?


Trans-Pacific Partnership: The biggest trade deal you’ve never heard of
2012-10-23, Salon.com
http://www.salon.com/2012/10/23/everything_you_wanted_to_know_about_the_trans...

A huge but little-known trade agreement could transform America's foreign relations. The Trans-Pacific Partnership [could] be the most significant foreign and domestic policy initiative of the Obama administration. More than any other policy, the trends the TPP represents could restructure American foreign relations, and potentially the economy itself. On the core question of these trade agreements, the parties basically agree. The Trans-Pacific Partnership ... would be the largest one since the 1995 World Trade Organization. It would link Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada into a “free trade” zone similar to that of NAFTA. The subject matter being negotiated extends far beyond traditional trade matters. TPP’s 29 chapters would set binding rules on everything from service-sector regulation, investment, patents and copyrights, government procurement, financial regulation, and labor and environmental standards, as well as trade in industrial goods and agriculture. As with other such agreements, Congress must vote to approve it, most likely under a “Fast Track” provision that prohibits any amendments and limits debate. The public has no access to the text [of the agreement]. Congress has extremely limited access. Trade, though constitutionally a congressional prerogative, is now firmly in the hands of the executive branch. And “trade” negotiations have become a venue for rewriting wide swaths of domestic non-trade policy traditionally determined by Congress and state legislatures.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.


Once-jailed banker gets $104 million whistleblower payout
2012-09-11, NBC News
http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/11/13804631-once-jailed-banker-ge...

Attorneys for jailed former Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld announced [on September 11] that the IRS will pay him $104 million as a whistleblower reward for information he turned over to the US government. The information Birkenfeld revealed detailed the inner workings of the secretive private wealth management division of the Swiss bank UBS, where the American-born Birkenfeld helped his US clients evade taxes by hiding wealth overseas. Tuesday's announcement represents an astonishing turn of fortune for Birkenfeld, who was released from federal prison in August after serving 31 months on charges relating to his efforts to help a wealthy client avoid taxes. Birkenfeld attorney Stephen Kohn said the information the former Swiss banker turned over to the IRS led directly to the $780 million fine paid to the US by his former employer, UBS, as well as leading over 35,000 taxpayers to participate in amnesty programs to voluntarily repatriate their illegal offshore accounts. That resulted in the collection of over $5 billion dollars in back taxes, fines and penalties that otherwise would have remained outside the reach of the government. Birkenfeld's disclosures also led to the first cracks in the legendarily secretive Swiss banking system, and ultimately the Swiss government changed its tax treaty with the United States. UBS turned over the names of more than than 4,900 U.S. taxpayers who held illegal offshore accounts. Investigations into those accounts are ongoing.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion between financial corporations and government regulators, click here.


Why Goldman Sachs, Other Wall Street Titans Are Not Being Prosecuted
2012-08-14, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/14/why-goldman-sachs-other-wall...

On [August 9] the Department of Justice announced it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees in a financial-fraud probe. Despite the Obama administration’s promises to clean up Wall Street in the wake of America’s worst financial crisis, there has not been a single criminal charge filed by the federal government against any top executive of the elite financial institutions. Why is that? In a word: cronyism. Take Goldman Sachs, for example. In 2008, Goldman Sachs employees were among Barack Obama’s top campaign contributors, giving a combined $1,013,091. [Attorney General] Eric Holder’s former law firm, Covington & Burling, also counts Goldman Sachs as one of its clients. Furthermore, in April 2011, when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued a scathing report detailing Goldman’s suspicious Abacus deal, several Goldman executives and their families began flooding Obama campaign coffers with donations, some giving the maximum $35,800. The individuals the DOJ’s “Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force” has placed in its prosecutorial crosshairs seem shockingly small compared with the Wall Street titans the Obama administration promised to bring to justice. To be sure, financial fraud of any kind is wrong and should be prosecuted. But locking up “pygmies” is hardly the kind of financial-fraud crackdown Americans expected in the wake of the largest financial crisis in U.S. history. Increasingly, there appear to be two sets of rules: one for the average citizen, and another for the connected cronies who rule the inside game.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corporations' control over government, see our Banking Bailout archive here.


French Lawmakers Pass Trading Transaction Tax
2012-08-01, Bloomberg Businessweek
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-31/french-lawmakers-pass-budget-bill...

France’s parliament passed President Francois Hollande’s revised 2012 budget, including a 0.2 percent transaction tax on share purchases that takes effect today. The bill’s passage into law marks “the first step toward fiscal reform and a move toward justice,” Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in a statement. With the vote, France becomes the first European country to impose a transaction tax on share purchases. The Hollande government is doubling the levy to 0.2 percent from the 0.1 percent tax initially advocated by former President Nicolas Sarkozy. Many institutional investors may escape the tax using so-called contracts for difference, or CFDs, offered by prime brokers that let them bet on a stock’s gain or loss with owning the shares. The transaction tax, aimed at curbing market speculation, will be paid on the purchase of 109 French stocks with market values of more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), including Pernod Ricard SA and Vivendi SA. The new budget law will be applied to transactions resulting in “a transfer of property” of companies trading in Paris, regardless of where the buyer or seller is based, and may be expanded next year along with some European partners. France estimated that the doubling of the tax will bring in an additional 170 million euros in 2012 and 500 million euros next year. The state will start collecting the tax in November, Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac’s press office said. The government estimated that the doubling of the tax will cut the volume of stock purchases to 800 billion euros from 1.05 trillion euros with a 0.1 percent levy and 1.3 trillion euros with no transaction tax.

Note: This exciting news is one of the most underreported events of the year. A universal FTT would stop much of the craziness in the derivatives market. The EU is also seriously considering implementing an FTT. Click here for more.


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