Financial News Articles
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There arent many things upon which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree. But the candidates for president share an affinity for the same ... office building in Wilmington. Famous for helping tens of thousands of companies avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in tax ... 1209 North Orange is home to Apple, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Walmart and dozens of other companies. Being registered in Delaware lets companies take advantage of strict corporate secrecy rules, business-friendly courts and the Delaware loophole, which ... is said to have cost other states more than $9bn in lost taxes over the past decade. Both ... Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have companies registered at 1209 North Orange, and have refused to explain why. Clinton, who has repeatedly promised that as president she will crack down on outrageous tax havens and loopholes, [has] collected more than $16m in public speaking fees and book royalties in 2014 through the doors of 1209. Bill Clinton set up WJC LLC, a vehicle to collect his consultation fees, at the same address in 2008. The Clintons companies share the office with several of Trumps companies. They include Trump International Management Corp and several companies that form part of ... a Trump partnership to develop more than $1bn worth of luxury condos on the west side of Manhattan. Of the 515 companies on Trumps official Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, 378 are registered in Delaware.
Note: The above article adds to the evidence that the US, which ranks third in the world in financial secrecy, is a one-party state. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
Bradley Birkenfeld is the most significant financial whistleblower of all time, so you might think he'd be cheering on the disclosures in the new Panama Papers leaks. [He] was a banker working at UBS in Switzerland when he approached the U.S. government with information on massive amounts of tax evasion by Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland. By the end of his whistleblowing career, Birkenfeld had served more than two years in a U.S. federal prison, been awarded $104 million by the IRS for his information and shattered the foundations of more than a century of Swiss banking secrecy. In an exclusive interview Tuesday from Munich, Birkenfeld said he doesn't think the source of the 11 million documents stolen from [Panama City-based law firm Mossack Fonseca] should automatically be considered a whistleblower like himself. Instead, he said, the hacking ... could have been done by a U.S. intelligence agency. "The CIA I'm sure is behind this, in my opinion," Birkenfeld said, [pointing] to the fact that the political uproar created by the disclosures have mainly impacted countries with tense relationships with the United States. "If you've got NSA and CIA spying on foreign governments they can certainly get into a law firm like this," Birkenfeld said. "They selectively bring the information to the public domain that doesn't hurt the U.S.. That's wrong. And there's something seriously sinister here behind this."
A USA Today analysis of more than 1,000 American-based companies registered by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers leak, casts the United States openly into an uncomfortable role: an offshore haven of corporate secrecy for wealthy business operations across the globe. Both Nevada and Wyoming have become secretive havens much like Bermuda and Switzerland have long been. And at least 150 companies set up by Mossack Fonseca in those states have ties to major corruption scandals in Brazil and Argentina. The corporate records of 1,000-plus Nevada business entities linked to the Panamanian law firm reveal layers of secretive ownership, with few having humans' names behind them, and most tracing back to a tiny number of overseas addresses. For about 700 of the American shell companies, the corporate officers are business entities rather than people, meaning no individual is linked to the Nevada firm in state records. Matthew Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, [said], We should be thinking about this as a very American problem, and a problem that arguably is worse here in the states than it is in Panama. In Wyoming, where Mossack Fonseca has also registered about two dozen companies, corporations are even harder to trace. Mossack Fonseca defended its practices and said incorporating companies in different jurisdictions is the normal activity of lawyers and agents around the world.
Note: A 2015 Guardian newspaper article further describes how the US helps the super-rich hide assets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren issued a stinging broadside against federal prosecutors on Friday, charging U.S. courts with throwing the book at mixed-up teenagers, while letting wealthy corporate executives who commit much larger and sometimes deadly crimes off with essentially no chance of punishment. In a new report, Sen. Warrens office makes the case that CEOs and other top executives simply dont face the same legal consequences as ordinary Americans, releasing a list of what it claims are 20 examples of corporate criminal and civil cases that prosecutors failed to pursue to the full extent of the law last year. Among the cases: scandals ranging from General Motors years long cover up of ignition switch problems to currency manipulation by large banks (including Citigroup and J.P. Morgan), to a mine explosion that killed 29 people - the only instance of misconduct which led to a conviction of a corporate executive. Such selective application of the law undermines the governments moral authority: If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie, Warren charges in the report. Its not just a problem in the U.S. This week, U.K. prosecutors, after winning an initial conviction in their quest to prosecute bankers accused of fixing LIBOR - a key benchmark central to financial markets - failed to secure any further wins.
Note: Senator Elizabeth Warren was called "the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street" by the Boston Globe in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.
The Vatican announced Monday that two members of a commission set up by Pope Francis to study financial operations at the Holy See had been arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential documents to journalists. The arrests came days before the publication of two books - Avarizia, or Avarice, by Emiliano Fittipaldi, and Merchants in the Temple, by Gianluigi Nuzzi. Both books claim to offer glimpses of the turmoil surrounding Francis as he pursues his reforms of Vatican finances, the operations of the Curia and the Vatican bank. Those institutions had long been plagued by scandal and corruption that contributed to the resignation in 2013 of Francis predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years. Divulging confidential documents has been considered a crime in the Vatican since July 2013, after the leak of a cache of Vatican documents ... which Mr. Nuzzi published. Besides reporting on the churchs vast financial holdings, Mr. Fittipaldi said he had also discovered that money given to the church for the poor was used for other purposes. Mr. Nuzzis book ... suggests that the Vaticans finances were in such chaos that Benedict had no choice but to resign. I am certainly surprised that the Vatican responds to the imminent publication of a book with handcuffs, Mr. Nuzzi said ... particularly when handcuffs arent used to stop the thieves in the Vatican.
Note: In 2012, leaked documents revealed that the Vatican Bank was used for money laundering. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
According to the New York Department of Financial Services, a banking regulator, Goldman hired Rohit Bansal from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in May 2014, "in large part for the regulatory experience and knowledge he had gained while working at the New York Fed." Goldman hired Bansal despite the fact that he had been forced to resign from the Fed for breaking the rules there. Once at Goldman, Bansal was instructed to work on a bank that he had supervised while at the Fed, despite explicit prohibitions against him doing so, NYDFS said. Bansal later used confidential information, some of which he obtained from his prior employment at the NY Fed and some of which he obtained from from a former NY Fed colleague, in his work on the bank. To resolve the matter, Goldman has agreed to pay $50 million and accept a three-year "voluntary abstention" from accepting new consulting engagements of NYDFS regulated entities. Goldman also agreed to admit that a former employee engaged in the criminal theft of confidential information and that Goldman management "failed to effectively supervise its employee to prevent this theft from occurring," NYDFS said. In September 2014, for example, Bansal attended the birthday dinner of a former Fed colleague at Peter Luger's. Immediately after the dinner, Bansal emailed his boss at Goldman "divulging confidential information concerning the regulated entity, specifically, the relevant component of the upcoming examination rating," NYDFS said.
A former Goldman Sachs banker suspected of taking confidential documents from a source inside the government has agreed to plead guilty, a rare criminal action on Wall Street, where Goldman itself is facing an array of regulatory penalties over the leak. The banker and his source, who at the time of the leak was an employee at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, one of Goldmans regulators, will accept a plea deal from federal prosecutors that could send them to prison for up to a year. Under a tentative deal ... Goldman would pay a fine of $50 million. For Goldman and the New York Fed, the case is likely to give new life to an embarrassing episode that illustrated the blurred lines between their institutions. Perhaps more than any other bank, Goldman swaps employees with the government, earning it the nickname Government Sachs. While the so-called revolving door is common on Wall Street, the investigation [affirms] the publics concerns that regulators and bankers, when intermingled, occasionally form unholy alliances. The Goldman banker, Rohit Bansal, previously spent seven years as a regulator at the New York Fed.
Twenty of the world's biggest banks have paid more than $235 billion in fines and compensation in the last seven years for a litany of misdeeds. The scale of the payouts, equivalent to the annual economy of Greece or Portugal, has hampered banks' efforts to rebuild capital, reduced dividends for investors and cut the amount firms are able to lend. The misconduct bill is expected to rise by tens of billions more dollars, and many politicians, regulators and industry observers said more needs to be done. Mark Taylor, dean of the business school at the University of Warwick in central England [says] bonuses are too high, there is little threat of jail for wrongdoers and bosses are not held responsible. "The problem is the incentives for cheating markets is massive. If you can shift a rate fractionally you can make millions and millions of dollars for your bank and then for bonuses. "Once senior executives feel they are personally at risk if the culture doesn't change, and individual traders feel they are at risk of being put in prison, then you'll get a culture change," he said. Despite the scale of fines and compensation paid by banks, relatively few individuals have been punished. Data compiled by Reuters ... showed U.S. banks have paid $140 billion in litigation and compensation for mortgage related issues since 2008. Bank of America has paid out twice as much as any other bank in settlements and compensation, with a bill of almost $80 billion.
Note: 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 corruption in government and in the financial industry.
Illegal and unethical behaviour on Wall Street and in the City of London isn't just the work of a few bad apples - it's commonplace, according to new research. More than one in five financial services employees in America and the UK have seen their co-workers breaking the law or engaging in misconduct, a survey of more than 1,200 workers has found. Many feel under pressure to break the rules, believing it is a necessary part of getting ahead. Those at the top of the food chain are even more likely to have seen misconduct, with over a third of those earning more than $500,000 a year say they "have witnessed or have first hand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace". The University of Notre Dame and law firm Labaton Sucharow, which published the report, said it showed that bankers had failed to improve behaviour, despite billions of dollars in fines, and new regulations threatening jail. "Despite the headline-making consequences of corporate misconduct, our survey reveals that attitudes toward corruption within the industry have not changed for the better," the report's authors said. The researchers ... interviewed 1,223 banking and financial services workers. The research comes the day before five banks are expecting fines worth more than $6bn related to foreign exchange manipulation. Those questioned in the survey were also asked about whistleblowing practices, and 16pc said that corporate policies barred them from reporting illegal activity to authorities.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
U.S. authorities are investigating major banks over potential manipulation of the precious metals market, the latest development in a series of probes related to major financial benchmarks. HSBC is among at least 10 major banks being investigated by U.S. authorities for possible rigging of the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium, The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday. The report said other banks being scrutinized include: Goldman Sachs; JPMorgan Chase; Britain-based Barclays; Swiss banking giants UBS and Credit Suisse; Bank of Nova Scotia; Germany-based Deutsche Bank; France-based Socit Gnrale; and South Africa-based Standard Bank Group. U.S. authorities declined to comment. Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Barclays, HSBC, UBS and Bank of Nova Scotia have been named as defendants in various putative class-action lawsuits in U.S. federal courts over suspected manipulation of precious metals pricing. The complaints contend that bank traders conspired to manipulate the price of metal derivatives in a bid to reap profits on proprietary trades. The new U.S. investigations follow separate bank probes launched earlier over suspected manipulation of the $5.3-billion-a-day foreign exchange currency trading market, along with rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), which is used to set rates on billions of dollars in loans, credit cards and mortgages.
Note: 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.
One man's story in particular highlights just about everything that can go wrong when you give evidence against your bosses in America: former Countrywide/Bank of America whistleblower Michael Winston. Two years ago this month, Winston was being celebrated in the news as a hero. He'd blown the whistle on Countrywide Financial, the bent mortgage lender that ... nearly blew up the global economy. Today, Winston [has] spent over a million dollars fighting Countrywide (and the firm that acquired it, Bank of America) in court. At first, that fight proved a good gamble, as a jury granted him a multi-million-dollar award for retaliation and wrongful termination. But after Winston won that case, an appellate judge not only wiped out that jury verdict, but allowed Bank of America to counterattack him. The bank eventually beat him for nearly $98,000 in court costs. That single transaction means a good guy in the crisis drama, Winston, had by the end of 2014 paid a larger individual penalty than virtually every wrongdoer connected with the financial collapse of 2008. When Winston protested his preposterous punishment on the grounds that a trillion-dollar company recouping legal fees from an unemployed whistleblower was unreasonable and unnecessary, a California Superior Court judge denied his argument get this on the grounds that Winston failed to prove a disparity in resources between himself and Bank of America! Four years later, we're still waiting for the first criminal conviction against any individual for crisis-era corruption. There's been no significant reform. What we've seen instead is a series of cash deals with the most corrupt companies.
Note: Countrywide bought political influence to more effectively defraud institutional investors and taxpayers. Thanks to Winston, they were caught and proven guilty. But Bank of America purchased Countrywide, and has been paying off officials in secret deals to continue skirting the law without admitting wrongdoing. And Michael Winston now has to pay Bank of America for their trouble.
The middle class can't be saved unless Wall Street is tamed. Yet most presidential aspirants don't want to talk about taming the Street because Wall Street is one of their largest sources of campaign money. Six years ago ... the financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor, consuming the savings of millions of average Americans and causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance and some 1 million to lose their homes. A repeat performance is not unlikely. Wall Street's biggest banks are much larger now than they were then. Five of them hold about 45 percent of America's banking assets. In 2000, they held 25 percent. Meanwhile, the Street's lobbyists have gotten Congress to repeal a provision of Dodd-Frank curbing excessive speculation by the big banks. The language was drafted by Citigroup and personally pushed by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. It's nice that presidential aspirants are talking about rebuilding America's middle class. But to be credible, the candidates have to [propose] to limit the size of the biggest Wall Street banks, to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act (which used to separate investment banking from commercial banking), to define insider trading the way most other countries do (using information any reasonable person would know is unavailable to most investors), and to close the revolving door between the Street and the U.S. Treasury. It also means not depending on the Street to finance their campaigns.
The former chief executive of Landsbanki of Iceland was sentenced to prison on Wednesday, the third of the top executives of the countrys three largest banks that the government has successfully prosecuted and jailed for misconduct during the financial crisis. Iceland was one of the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis and was forced to nationalize its three largest lenders in 2008. Mr. Arnason is the third former chief executive of an Icelandic bank to be ordered jailed for misdeeds in the run-up to the nationalization of Landsbanki and two other of the island nations biggest lenders. Kaputhing, at one time Icelands largest lender, saw its chief executive, Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, and its chairman, Sigurdur Einarsson, convicted of market manipulation last year. Mr. Sigurdsson was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, while Mr. Einarsson was sentenced to five years in prison. Larus Welding, the former chief executive of Glitnir, the first of the banks to be nationalized, was convicted of fraud in 2012. The Icelandic lenders expanded beyond their borders during the boom years, only to collapse under a mountain of debt as financial conditions worsened in 2008. After the banks were nationalized, Icelands government restructured them, purging their management and refusing to bail out foreign bondholders who held tens of billions of dollars of the banks debt. A special prosecutor, Olafur Hauksson, was appointed to investigate the actions of bank executives in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Note: So the one nation that jailed its big bankers and let banks go bust is doing very well. Why are so exceedingly few bankers in other countries being jailed for crimes involving trillions of dollars and bankrupting millions of citizens? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
[Alayne] Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion ... to keep the public from hearing. In 2006, as a deal manager at the gigantic bank, Fleischmann first witnessed, then tried to stop, what she describes as "massive criminal securities fraud." This past year she watched as Holder's Justice Department struck a series of historic settlement deals with Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. The root bargain in these deals was cash for secrecy. The idea that Holder had cracked down on Chase was ... fiction. The settlement, says Kelleher, "was ... crafted to bypass the court system. The DOJ and JP-Morgan were trying to avoid disclosure of their dirty deeds." Chase emerged with barely a scratch. The settlement put you, me and every other American taxpayer on the hook. Chase was allowed to treat some $7 billion of the settlement as a tax write-off. The bank's share price soared six percent on news of the settlement. Chase actually made money from the deal. What's more, to defray the cost of this and other fines, Chase last year laid off 7,500 lower-level employees. But no one made out better than [Chase CEO Jamie] Dimon. The board awarded [him] a 74 percent raise. The people who stole all those billions are still in place. And the bank is more untouchable than ever. Mary Jo White and Andrew Ceresny, who represented Chase for some of this case, have since been named to the two top jobs at the SEC.
Note: Read this entire, fascinating article to understand just how corrupt both the banks and our government are. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance. For additional information, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We should start praying. I wouldnt be surprised if half of these loans went down thats what a trader at Citigroup wrote in an e-mail in 2007, after reviewing thousands of mortgages bought and sold by the bank. Today, the Justice Department cited those very words as it announced a $7 billion settlement with the bank. The government said Citi committed egregious misconduct in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Of the $7 billion, Citigroup will pay $4 billion to the Justice Department. More than $2.5 billion is set aside for whats described as consumer relief. Tony West is associate attorney general. And he was the governments lead negotiator in this case. Lay out for us, what was this egregious conduct and how many people at Citigroup were engaged in it? TONY WEST: Citibank packaged securities, packaged loans, mortgage loans into these securities, which they sold to investors. What they didnt tell investors was what the actual quality of those loans were. And so you had these mortgage bond deals that had quality that was far less than what Citi was representing to investors that they were. JUDY WOODRUFF: And how many people knew about this, and did the knowledge go all the way to the top? TONY WEST: We know from the evidence that bankers were warned that the quality of the loans that they were packaging into these securities wasnt what they were telling investors they were, but they ignored those warning signs. They ignored that due diligence. Certainly enough ... bankers knew that we felt that we could demand a very high, in fact, an historically high, penalty from Citibank.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In fall 2009, Secretary Timothy Geithner invited people working on TARP oversight to a meeting. After we had listened to the secretary go on and on about his departments cheery projections for recovery, I finally interrupted with a question about a new topic. Why, I asked, had Treasurys response to the flood of foreclosures been so small? The Congressional Oversight Panel had been sharply critical of Treasurys foreclosure plan. We thought that the program was poorly designed and poorly managed and provided little permanent help, and we worried that it would reach too few people to make any real difference. The secretary ... quickly launched into a general discussion of his approach to dealing with foreclosures, rehashing the plan that the Congressional Oversight Panel had already reviewed. Next, he explained why Treasurys efforts were perfectly adequate. Then he hit his key point: The banks could manage only so many foreclosures at a time, and Treasury wanted to slow down the pace so the banks wouldnt be overwhelmed. And this was where the new foreclosure program came in: It was just big enough to foam the runway for them. There it was: The Treasury foreclosure program was intended to foam the runway to protect against a crash landing by the banks. Millions of people were getting tossed out on the street, but the secretary of the Treasury believed the governments most important job was to provide a soft landing for the tender fannies of the banks.
Note: Adapted from A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren. For more on the government's collusion with the big banks before, during and after the 2008 financial crisis brought about by fraudulent mortgage sales, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A Canadian who works on Wall Street is emerging in some quarters as a hero for revealing the inner workings of high frequency traders who critics have accused of rigging the stock market and taking investors for billions. Brad Katsuyama now runs IEX the Investors Exchange a new Wall Street trading platform he founded. But it was in his former capacity as the head trader in New York for RBC Capital Markets that he caught the attention of popular financial writer Michael Lewis. Katsuyama gets star billing in Lewiss new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. Katsuyama told Lewis that he had uncovered the methods high frequency traders use to get what he considers to be an unfair advantage over other investors. Katsuyama noticed that when he would send a large stock order to the market, it would only be partially filled, and then he would have to pay a higher price for the rest of the order. When he investigated, he found that his orders travelled along fibre-optic lines and hit the closest exchange first, where high frequency traders would use their speed advantage to buy the shares he wanted and then sell them to him at a slightly higher price all in milliseconds. "They are able to identify your desire to buy shares in Microsoft and buy them in front of you and sell them back to you at a higher price," Lewis told 60 Minutes. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism, is rigged. The main thrust of Lewiss new book is that high-frequency traders use their speed advantage in predatory ways that end up cheating market participants small and large.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In the last two weeks, the New York attorney general and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission in Washington have both launched investigations into high-frequency computerized stock trading that now controls more than half the market. The probes were announced just ahead of a much anticipated book on the subject by best-selling author Michael Lewis called Flash Boys. In it, Lewis argues that the stock market is now rigged to benefit a group of insiders that have made tens of billions of dollars exploiting computerized trading. The story is told through an unlikely cast of characters who figured out what was going on and have devised a plan to correct it. It could have a huge impact on Wall Street. Tonight, Michael Lewis talks about it for the first time. Steve Kroft: What's the headline here? Michael Lewis: Stock market's rigged. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism is rigged. Steve Kroft: By whom? Michael Lewis: By a combination of these stock exchanges, the big Wall Street banks and high-frequency traders. Steve Kroft: Who are the victims? Michael Lewis: Everybody who has an investment in the stock market. If it wasn't complicated, it wouldn't be allowed to happen. The complexity disguises what is happening. If it's so complicated you can't understand it, then you can't question it. Steve Kroft: And this is all being done by computers? Michael Lewis: All being done by computers. It's too fast to be done by humans. Humans have been completely removed from the marketplace. The insiders are able to move faster than you.
Note: For an amazing story of greed and manipulation exposed on Wall Street, see the New York Times article on Flash Boys at this link.
It's 1999, the tail end of the Clinton years. Most observers on the Hill thought the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was just the latest and boldest in a long line of deregulatory handouts to Wall Street that had begun in the Reagan years. Wall Street had spent much of that era arguing that America's banks needed to become bigger and badder, in order to compete globally with the German and Japanese-style financial giants. Bank lobbyists were pushing a new law designed to wipe out 60-plus years of bedrock financial regulation. The key was repealing or "modifying," as bill proponents put it the famed Glass-Steagall Act separating bankers and broker. Now, commercial banks would be allowed to merge with investment banks and insurance companies, creating financial megafirms potentially far more powerful than had ever existed in America. The [bill] additionally legalized new forms of monopoly, allowing banks to merge with heavy industry. A tiny provision in the bill also permitted commercial banks to delve into any activity that is "complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally." Today, banks like Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs own oil tankers, run airports and control huge quantities of coal, natural gas, heating oil, electric power and precious metals. They likewise can now be found exerting direct control over the supply of a whole galaxy of raw materials crucial to world industry and to society in general, including everything from food products to metals like zinc, copper, tin, nickel and ... aluminum.
Note: For more on government collusion with the biggest banks, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Pope Francis's crusade against corruption has made him a target for Italy's all-powerful mafia clans, a leading anti-mob prosecutor has warned. Nicola Gratteri, who has battled Calabria's shadowy 'Ndrangheta mafia, said [that] Francis's attempt to bring transparency to the Vatican was making the white collar mobsters who do business with corrupt prelates "nervous and agitated". He told the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano: "Pope Francis is dismantling centres of economic power in the Vatican. If the bosses could trip him up they wouldn't hesitate. I don't know if organised criminals are in a position to do something, but they are certainly thinking about it. They could be dangerous." Francis, who has called for "a poor church", has backed reform at the Vatican's bank, which has been suspected for years of being a channel for the laundering of mob profits. This week police impounded a luxury hotel on Rome's Janiculum hill formerly a monastery which the 'Ndrangheta allegedly purchased from a religious order. "The mafia that invests, that launders money, that therefore has the real power, is the mafia which has got rich for years from its connivance with the church," said Gratteri. "Priests continuously visit the houses of bosses for coffee, which gives the bosses strength and popular legitimacy," he said. A bishop in Locri in Calabria had excommunicated mobsters after they damaged fruit trees owned by the church, he said. "But before that episode, the bosses had killed thousands of people" without being sanctioned, he added.
Note: For more on secret societies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
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