Financial News StoriesExcerpts of Key Financial News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of banking and finance news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Wells Fargo recently discovered that employees were improperly altering the documents of business borrowers, adding information to the accounts without the consent or notifying the clients. The latest issue comes only a week after news came out that Wells Fargo admitted it had improperly collected fees on a Tennessee public pension fund. Improper fees could be a widespread problem in its pension fund business. The bank’s wealth management unit is also under investigation for pressuring clients into rolling over their low-cost 401(k) accounts into more expensive alternatives. Wells Fargo has regularly said its problems are in the past, without spending the money it should to actually put those problems in the past. Wells Fargo, like other banks, doesn’t break out what it spends on compliance, and says it’s generally spending more, but in its most recent quarter it’s hard to see where. In February, the Federal Reserve sanctioned Wells Fargo for not having proper risk controls in place. The bank has since told shareholders it plans to cut costs, not raise them in order to improve compliance. The most recent problem ... appears to have come as Wells Fargo raced to comply with an order from regulators that it collect information on more than 100,000 accounts that it was supposed to have. It appears employees improperly altered the files, potentially adding false information, as part this regulatory review, once again showing a lack of oversight.
Note: Last year, it was reported that a Wells Fargo insurance scam defrauded 570,000 customers. The year before, this bank was caught opening millions of fake accounts using stolen customer identities. Wells Fargo fires employees and pays fines whenever these crimes are uncovered. But no bank executives are criminally prosecuted. And new problems continue coming to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The nation's six big Wall Street banks posted record, or near record, profits in the first quarter. While higher interest rates allowed banks to earn more from lending in the first quarter, the main boost ... came from the billions of dollars they saved in taxes under the tax law Trump signed in December. Combined, the six banks saved at least $3.59 billion last quarter, according to an Associated Press estimate, using the bank's tax rates going back to 2015. Before the change in tax law, the maximum U.S. corporate income tax rate was 35 percent, not including what companies paid in state income taxes. Banks historically paid some of the highest taxes among the major industries, due to their U.S.-centric business models. Before the Trump tax cuts, these banks paid between 28 to 31 percent of their income each year in corporate taxes. The results released over the past week show how sharply those rates have dropped. JPMorgan Chase said it had a first-quarter tax rate of 18.3 percent, Goldman Sachs paid just 17.2 percent in taxes, and ... Citigroup, had a tax rate of 23.7 percent. This is just one quarter's results. Bank executives at the big six firms have estimated that their full-year tax rates will be something closer to 20 percent to 22 percent. The AP's calculations are roughly in line with what Wall Street analysts predicted. Bank industry analyst Mike Mayo ... estimated that that the big U.S. banks combined would save roughly $19 billion in taxes for the full year.
An epic throw-down happened Thursday on Capitol Hill. The topic: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis. The Trump administration's acting director, Mick Mulvaney ... believes the bureau's powers are excessive. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ... led the creation of the bureau to protect consumers from abuses by everything from big banks to student loan providers to fly-by-night loan sharks. Mulvaney ... calls the bureau Warren's "baby." But Democrats say that over the past five months, he has done a terrible job of taking care of it. Back when he was a Republican congressman, Mulvaney sponsored legislation that would have abolished the bureau. Since its creation, the bureau has returned a total of $12 billion to consumers by clawing back money from companies that cheated them. Thursday's hearing was part of Mulvaney's mandated semiannual report to Congress on the activities of the CFPB. In a hearing ... New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney said the bureau used to bring several enforcement actions a month against financial companies. She pressed Mulvaney: "So let me ask you how many enforcement actions has the bureau initiated since you took over?" Mulvaney: "We have initiated none since I've been there." Mulvaney ... is asking lawmakers to put the bureau's budget under the control of Congress. The bureau ... is funded by the Federal Reserve instead of by Congress, a move designed to shield it from political influence.
Note: In 2016, Wells Fargo paid a $100 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after getting caught ripping off millions of customers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
Next week marks the 10th anniversary of the run on Bear Stearns, the investment bank that collapsed under the weight of toxic subprime mortgages ... leading to the biggest economic crisis in nearly a century. That seems like a terrible political backdrop for the Senate to pass a bill that deregulates the banking sector. But that's exactly what's about to happen. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which pro-regulation groups have called the "Bank Lobbyist Act," advanced in the Senate this week. The ... Congressional Budget Office stated [that the] legislation would increase the risk of another [financial crisis] happening. The bill ... rolls back key pieces of the Dodd-Frank Act and includes giveaways to large institutions of the same size and scope as the ones that crashed the economy in 2008. The most important measure in the legislation raises the threshold for enhanced regulatory supervision by the Federal Reserve from $50 billion to $250 billion. The beneficiaries, 25 of the top 38 banks in America, could be called "stadium banks:" not big enough to count as Wall Street mega-banks, but big enough to have a sports stadium named after them. Nearly all giant foreign banks with operations in the U.S. could enjoy the same weaker rules. Why would more than one-third of the Senate Democratic caucus provide the margin of victory on [this] bill. The answer is simple: money. The top three recipients of campaign donations from commercial banks since 2017 are Democrats. This whole process reveals that bipartisanship usually arrives in Washington at the barrel of a money cannon.
Fifty years after the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in lending, African Americans and Latinos continue to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts. This modern-day redlining persisted in 61 metro areas even when controlling for applicants' income, loan amount and neighborhood, according to millions of ... records analyzed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Lenders and their trade organizations do not dispute the fact that they turn away people of color at rates far greater than whites, [and] singled out the three-digit credit score ... as especially important in lending decisions. Reveal's analysis included all records publicly available under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Credit score was not included because that information is not publicly available. That's because lenders have deflected attempts to force them to report that data to the government. America's largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., has argued that the data should remain closed off even to academics. At the same time, studies have found proprietary credit score algorithms to have a discriminatory impact on borrowers of color. The "decades-old credit scoring model" currently used "does not take into account consumer data on ... bill payments," Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina wrote in August. "This exclusion disproportionately hurts African-Americans, Latinos, and young people who are otherwise creditworthy."
A whistle-blower who once worked for Monsanto walked away with a handsome payout for alerting regulators to accounting improprieties within the company, according to Reuters. Regulators will reportedly award the former executive with $22 million in connection with the $80 million settlement agreement Monsanto made with the S.E.C. over an incentive program the company ran to promote its trademark weed killer, Roundup. The $22 million payout is the second-highest sum the S.E.C. has given so far to a whistle-blower, behind a $30 million award paid in September 2014. The regulatory agency enacted a program to sweeten the idea of reporting impropriety in 2011, as part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. With between 10 and 30 percent of penalties or settlement agreements made with the government on the line, Wall Streeters and company insiders have all but lined up to tip off the S.E.C. Between September 2014 and September 2015 alone, the agency says 4,000 people forked over information, and more than 30 of them have pocketed a collective $85 million over the last five years.
Note: Monsanto lied to regulators and investors about RoundUp's profitability for three years. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies on the dangers of Roundup. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Earlier this year, a Michigan State University economist, working with graduate students and a former government official, found $21 trillion in unauthorized spending in the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015. The work of Mark Skidmore and his team, which included digging into government websites and repeated queries to U.S. agencies that went unanswered, coincided with the Office of Inspector General, at one point, disabling the links to all key documents showing the unsupported spending. Now, the Department of Defense has announced it will conduct the first department-wide, independent financial audit in its history. The Defense Department did not say specifically what led to the audit. But the announcement came four days after Skidmore discussed his team’s findings on USAWatchdog, a news outlet run by former CNN and ABC News correspondent Greg Hunter. Skidmore got involved last spring when he heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, refer to a report which indicated the Army had $6.5 trillion in unsupported adjustments, or spending, in fiscal 2015. Given the Army’s $122 billion budget, that meant unsupported adjustments were 54 times spending authorized by Congress. Typically, such adjustments in public budgets are only a small fraction of authorized spending. Skidmore thought Fitts had made a mistake. “Maybe she meant $6.5 billion and not $6.5 trillion,” he said. “So I found the report myself and sure enough it was $6.5 trillion.”
Note: Explore this webpage for additional background on this story. See also a detailed analysis of these missing trillions, which amount to $65,000 per man, woman, and child in the US. And don't miss this highly revealing interview with Prof. Mark Skidmore of Michigan State with even more startling news. Why isn't the major media reporting this huge news?
The Trump administration has waived part of the punishment for five megabanks whose affiliates were convicted and fined for manipulating global interest rates. One of the Trump administration waivers was granted to Deutsche Bank - which is owed at least $130 million by President Donald Trump ... and has also been fined for its role in a Russian money laundering scheme. The waivers were issued in a little-noticed announcement published in the Federal Register. Under laws designed to protect retirement savings, financial firms whose affiliates have been convicted of violating securities statutes are effectively barred from ... managing those savings. However, that punishment can be avoided if the firms manage to secure a special exemption from the U.S. Department of Labor. In late 2016, the Obama administration extended ... one-year waivers to five banks - Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank. Late last month, the Trump administration issued new, longer waivers for those same banks. Leading up to the new waiver for Deustche Bank, Trump’s financial relationship with the firm has prompted allegations of a conflict of interest. In 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump and his companies have received at least $2.5 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank and co-lenders. In 2015, Deutsche Bank pled guilty in the U.S. to wire fraud for its role in the [LIBOR] scandal. Less than two years later ... Deutsche Bank agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department for misleading investors.
Note: The megabanks again get away with huge manipulations resulting in financial losses for many millions, yet hardly any media focuses on how these banks hardly get a slap on the wrist for their huge criminal offenses. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
The Federal Reserve’s little-known role housing the assets of other central banks comes with a unique benefit to the United States: It serves as a source of foreign intelligence for Washington. Senior officials from the U.S. Treasury and other government departments have turned to these otherwise confidential accounts several times a year to analyze the asset holdings of the central banks of Russia, China, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Libya and others, according to more than a dozen current and former senior Fed and Treasury officials. The U.S. central bank keeps a tight lid on information contained in these accounts. But according to the officials interviewed by Reuters, U.S. authorities regularly use a “need to know” confidentiality exception in the Fed’s service contracts with foreign central banks. Some 250 foreign central banks and governments keep $3.3 trillion of their assets at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, about half of the world’s official dollar reserves, using a service advertised in a 2015 slide presentation as “safe and confidential.” Other major central banks and some commercial banks offer similar services. But only the Fed offers direct access to U.S. debt markets and to the world’s reserve currency, the dollar. In all, the people interviewed by Reuters identified seven instances in the last 15 years in which the accounts gave U.S. authorities insights into the actions of foreign counterparts or market movements, at times leading to a specific U.S. response.
Note: It's quite telling that no other major media picked up this important piece. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department ... is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans' financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records. That access to large amounts of confidential data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues. "The capability here is awesome or, depending on where you're sitting, troubling," said one former senior counterterrorism official who considers the program valuable. While tight controls are in place, the official added, "the potential for abuse is enormous." The program is separate from the National Security Agency's efforts to eavesdrop without warrants and collect domestic phone records, operations that have provoked fierce public debate and spurred lawsuits against the government and telecommunications companies.
The United States imposed sanctions on 52 people and entities Thursday for alleged human rights violations and corruption, a list that included Maung Maung Soe, a top Burmese general cited for an ongoing deadly crackdown on the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group. Maj. Gen. Maung Maung Soe was the chief of the Burmese Army’s Western Command during a crackdown that survivors say involved government soldiers stabbing babies, cutting off the heads of boys, gang-raping girls and burning entire families to death. Maj. Gen. Maung Maung Soe is the first high-level Burmese military official to be named in sanctions. “Today, the United States is taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the U.S. financial system,” said Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary. Among others penalized on Thursday was Yahya Jammeh, former president of Gambia. Mr. Jammeh created a terror and assassination squad ... that he used to intimidate, interrogate and kill people who threatened him. Benjamin Bol Mel of South Sudan, Dan Gertler, who did business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mukhtar Hamid Shah of Pakistan were also on the list. The sanctions freeze any assets the individuals or entities hold in the United States and also prevent them from using any American financial institution.
Note: Importantly, billionaire Israeli mine kingpin Dan Gertler is on this list. This revealing article on Gertler in the UK's Guardian shows corruption and abuse leading to very high places. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
The US government has imposed sanctions on the Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, whose African business dealings were exposed in the Paradise Papers, over “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In a strongly worded statement, the US president ... placed sanctions on 13 people and companies associated with them, declaring a state of “national emergency with respect to serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world”. In November, the Paradise Papers investigation unveiled new details of Gertler’s mining deals in strife-torn but resource-rich DRC, in particular over a $45m loan in shares to one of his companies from the world’s biggest miner, Glencore. In imposing sanctions on Gertler, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the Israeli billionaire’s corrupt dealings had deprived the state coffers of DRC of ... more than $1.36bn in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler. Gertler’s involvement in the DRC spans nearly two decades. He was cited by a 2001 UN investigation that said he had given the DRC’s then-president $20m to buy weapons to equip his army against rebel groups in exchange for a monopoly on the country’s diamonds, and a 2013 Africa Progress Panel report said a string of mining deals struck by companies linked to him had deprived the country of more than $1.3bn in potential revenue.
Note: Gertler had close ties with Mark Rich, who was once on the FBI's 10 most wanted list only to later be pardoned by Bill Clinton. This revealing article on Gertler in the UK's Guardian shows corruption and abuse leading to very high places. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
On July 26, 2016, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report “Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported”. The report indicates that for fiscal year 2015 the Army failed to provide adequate support for $6.5 trillion. Given that the entire Army budget in fiscal year 2015 was $120 billion, unsupported adjustments were 54 times the level of spending authorized by Congress. An appendix to the July 2016 report shows $2 trillion in changes to the Army General Fund balance sheet due to unsupported adjustments. On the asset side, there is $794 billion increase in the Army's Fund Balance with the U.S. Treasury. There is also an increase of $929 billion in the Army's Accounts Payable. What is the source of the additional $794 billion in the Army's Fund Balance? The July 2016 report is not the only such report of unsubstantiated adjustments. Mark Skidmore and Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, conducted a search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to 1998. While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015. [And why] after Mark Skidmore began inquiring about OIG-reported unsubstantiated adjustments, [was] the OIG's webpage, which documented, albeit in a highly incomplete manner, these unsupported "accounting adjustments," ... mysteriously taken down?
Note: Explore this webpage for a brief background to this astounding news. See also a detailed analysis of these missing trillions, which amount to $65,000 per man, woman, and child in the US. And don't miss this highly revealing interview with Prof. Mark Skidmore of Michigan State with even more startling news.
Few people realize that the loans they take out to pay for their education could eventually derail their careers. But in 19 states, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses from residents who default on their educational debts. Another state, South Dakota, suspends driver’s licenses, making it nearly impossible for people to get to work. Firefighters, nurses, teachers, lawyers, massage therapists, barbers, psychologists and real estate brokers have all had their credentials suspended or revoked. Determining the number of people who have lost their licenses is impossible because many state agencies and licensing boards don’t track the information. Public records requests by The New York Times identified at least 8,700 cases in which licenses were taken away or put at risk of suspension in recent years, although that tally almost certainly understates the true number. With student debt levels soaring — the loans are now the largest source of household debt outside of mortgages — so are defaults. Lenders have always pursued delinquent borrowers: by filing lawsuits, garnishing their wages, putting liens on their property and seizing tax refunds. Blocking licenses is a more aggressive weapon, and states are using it on behalf of themselves and the federal government. Tennessee is one of the most aggressive states at revoking licenses. From 2012 to 2017, officials reported more than 5,400 people to professional licensing agencies. Many - nobody knows how many - lost their licenses. Some ... lost their careers.
Two Playboy Playmates and a third woman have filed a lawsuit seeking $27 million, alleging a former fund manager for billionaire George Soros raped and beat them in a New York City penthouse described as a dungeon. The three plaintiffs, who were not identified, claim portfolio manager Howie Rubin beat them to the point they needed extensive medical attention, the New York Post reported, citing a lawsuit filed in federal court. “I’m going to rape you like I rape my daughter,” Rubin, a former Bear Stearns trader, yelled out during one of the attacks, according to the lawsuit. It states that Rubin rented out the $8 million penthouse in Manhattan and paid women $2,000 to $5,000 for brutal sex sessions in a side room with ropes, chains and sex toys. The New York Post said it reached out to Rubin, but he declined to comment. John Balestriere, the lawyer who filed the suit, said Rubin gagged, tied up and abused women in the penthouse. Balestriere alleged Rubin punched one woman in the head. In another encounter, Rubin is accused of beating a woman’s “breasts so badly that her right implant flipped,” the lawsuit stated. The suit alleges the woman was paid $20,000 by Rubin to repair the damage. The New York Post report also said Rubin had the women sign non-disclosure agreements. Rubin collaborated with two female fixers and a lawyer who sought to “cover up” his “sexual misconduct and criminal abuse of women and to serve as a cover for his wide-ranging human trafficking scheme,” Balestriere added.
Note: The NY Post article is available here. This may be related to Pizzagate sex abuse rings. For evidence this may be the case, read this speculative article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
One of Washington's most prominent lobbying firms is on the verge of shuttering after becoming ensnared by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Kimberley Fritts, the chief executive of the Podesta Group, told employees during a Thursday staff meeting that the firm would cease to exist at the end of the year. The developments come after the Podesta Group was tied last week to Mueller's indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, who pleaded not guilty after being charged with failing to file as foreign agents relating to a decade of work they did for ... a pro-Russia political party in the Ukraine. Mueller's special investigation team has also interviewed multiple people from the Podesta Group, which was recruited by Manafort and Gates to work along with another firm. Talk of potentially closing the Podesta Group marks a dramatic downfall of one of K Street's most iconic and well-connected firms. In its heyday, Podesta Group was the largest non-law firm lobbying organization in Washington. Tony Podesta, the firm's founder and chairman, helped fuel the company with work for foreign governments. He and his brother, John, founded the company almost three decades ago. John Podesta chaired Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. He left the firm in 1993. Mueller is looking into whether the Podesta Group properly identified to federal authorities its foreign advocacy for ... a Brussels-based non-profit group that federal prosecutors have called a mouthpiece for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.
Note: The Podesta brothers were deeply implicated in the Pizzagate affair. Though many believe Pizzagate was just a "conspiracy theory," our careful research shows powerful evidence that the Podestas were indeed involved in a child sex abuse ring. Could it be that behind the curtains, some are taking action against the Podestas for their involvement in these child abuse rings? For some intriguing, yet difficult to verify evidence along these lines, see this webpage.
ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room [is] the inside story of one of history’s greatest business scandals, in which top executives of America’s seventh largest company walked away with over one billion dollars while investors and employees lost everything. Based on the best-selling book ... this tale of greed, hubris and betrayal reveals the outrageous personal excesses of the Enron hierarchy and the moral vacuum that led CEO Ken Lay - along with other players including accounting firm Arthur Andersen, Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Skilling and Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow - to manipulate securities trading, bluff the balance sheets and deceive investors. By 2000, the company has grown into the largest natural gas merchant in North America, eventually branching out into trading other commodities. Jeff Skilling is named CEO, and the company stock skyrockets. Meanwhile, Skilling’s “black box” accounting results in declared earnings of 53 million dollars for a collapsing deal that doesn’t profit a cent. And Enron’s West Coast power desk has its most profitable month ever as California citizens become casualties of Enron’s scheme to artificially increase demand for electricity, resulting in rolling blackouts and two deaths. When Enron’s sleight of hand accounting and unethical trading eventually meet the realities of balance sheets that don’t balance and products that don’t exist, unwitting employees who have anchored their financial futures to the Enron ship watch in horror as water rushes in overhead.
Note: Watch this revealing documentary on this webpage. Enron was American's seventh-largest public company and controlled 25 percent of the nation's energy before it failed in 2002. Its stock plummeted from $90 a share to 9 cents a share in a matter of months after fraud was uncovered. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
It’s called the Paradise Papers: the latest in a series of leaks made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shedding light on the trillions of dollars that move through offshore tax havens. The core of the leak, totaling more than 13.4 million documents, focuses on the Bermudan law firm Appleby, a 119-year old company that caters to blue chip corporations and very wealthy people. As with the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers leak came through ... the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and was then shared with I.C.I.J., a Washington-based group that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the millions of records of a Panamanian law firm. The release of that trove of documents led to the resignation of one prime minister last year. This week, The New York Times is publishing articles on the Paradise Papers that were reported in cooperation with our I.C.I.J. partners. The predominantly elite clients of Appleby contrast with those of Mossack Fonseca - the company whose leaked records became the Panama Papers - which appeared to be less discriminating in the business it took on. Americans - companies and people - dominate the list of clients. Past disclosures, such as the 2013 “Offshore Leaks” from two offshore incorporators in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands, the 2015 “Swiss Leaks” from a private Swiss bank owned by the British bank HSBC and another leak in 2016 from the Bahamas were dominated by clients not from the United States.
Note: A directory of several New York Times articles detailing specific revelations from the Paradise Papers is available at the link above. In the US, many large companies pay little or no federal taxes, and former tax lobbyists now write the rules on tax dodging. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
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 journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed. Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car ... was destroyed by a powerful explosive device. A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan. Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats. The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35pm on Monday, and the explosion ... was reported to police just after 3pm. Caruana Galizia ... set her sights on a wide range of targets, from banks facilitating money laundering to links between Malta’s online gaming industry and the Mafia. Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5m documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. Her family have filed a court application demanding a change of inquiring magistrate. Investigations into the case are being led by Consuelo Scerri Herrera. But Herrera had come under criticism by Galizia in her blog.
Note: The release of the Panama Papers exposed tax-dodging elites in many countries. There is speculative evidence that the CIA had a hand in releasing these documents. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.