"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


.
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bank of America reaches record $17bn settlement over questionable mortgages

Deal resolves investigation into mortgage-backed securities sales and is largest settlement arising from 2008 financial crisis

theguardian.com, Associated Press in Washington, Thursday 21 August 2014

Bank of America. The deal requires the bank to acknowledge making serious
 misrepresentations about the quality of its residential mortgage-backed securities.
Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

Bank of America has reached a record settlement of nearly $17bn (£10.2bn) to resolve an investigation into its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis, officials directly familiar with the matter have said.

One official, who spoke with AP on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not scheduled until Thursday at the earliest, said the bank will pay $9.65bn in cash and provide consumer relief valued at $7bn.

The deal is the largest settlement arising from the economic meltdown in which millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. It follows agreements in the past year with Citigroup for $7bn and with JPMorgan Chase & Co for $13bn.

Like the Bank of America deal, those settlements were a mixture of hard cash and "credits" for various forms of consumer aid that the banks have promised to provide in coming years.

The Bank of America settlement was negotiated through a joint federal and state working group established by the US president, Barack Obama, two years ago with the justice department and other federal and state authorities. Individual states are expected to share in the settlement.

Justice department spokeswoman Ellen Canale declined to comment, as did the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, a co-chairman of the group. The bank also declined comment.

The deal requires Bank of America to acknowledge making serious misrepresentations about the quality of its residential mortgage-backed securities issued by itself and by Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. Those institutions were acquired by the bank when they were on the brink of failure in 2008 and they were responsible for the bulk of the questionable loans.

The deals are intended to offer some financial relief to homeowners, whose mortgages were bundled into securities by the banks and then sold to investors.

The securities contained residential mortgages from borrowers who were unlikely to be able to repay their loans. Yet, the securities were promoted as relatively safe investments until the housing market collapsed and investors suffered billions of dollars in losses.

The poor quality of the loans also led to a slew of foreclosures, kicking off the recession that began in late 2007. The cash totals now being paid by some of the country's largest banks are not nearly enough to reverse the damage caused by the bursting of the housing bubble and the ensuing recession.

Bank of America had argued that it should not be held liable for the subprime mortgages issued by Countrywide and Merrill Lynch. Combined, those three firms issued $965bn in mortgage-backed securities from 2004 to 2008, according to public records. Roughly 75% of that came from Countrywide.

In a federal lawsuit last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Bank of America and two subsidiaries with defrauding investors in an offering of residential mortgage-backed securities by failing to disclose key risks and misrepresenting facts about the underlying mortgages.

The justice department filed a parallel civil action against Bank of America, alleging violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act.

Related Article:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, MediaDemocracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“…  The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Standard Chartered fined $300m by US financial watchdog

Further penalty imposed for failing to tackle compliance problems following $340m fine in 2012 over money-laundering scandal

theguardian.com, Dominic Rushe in New York, Wednesday 20 August 2014

Standard Chartered have been fined $300m for lapses in its compliance
after the Iran money-laundering scandal. Photograph: Kevin Lam/Reuters

Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $300m over lapses in its anti-money-laundering procedures, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has announced.

The settlement comes almost exactly two years after the British bank paid a $340m fine to the DFS after it was accused of scheming with Iran to hide from US authorities billions of pounds worth of transactions.

The latest payment follows the bank's failure to tackle problems with its anti-money laundering compliance that the New York regulator required following the 2012 settlement.

"If a bank fails to live up to its commitments, there should be consequences. That is particularly true in an area as serious as anti-money-laundering compliance, which is vital to helping prevent terrorism and vile human rights abuses," said Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the DFS.

Lawsky alleged the British lender failed to catch millions of higher-risk transactions that should have triggered further investigation. He said "a significant amount" of the potentially high-risk transactions the bank failed to detect originated from its Hong Kong subsidiary (SCB Hong Kong) and branches in the United Arab Emirates (SCB UAE), among others.

As well as the monetary penalty the bank agreed to keep on for a further two years an independent compliance monitor appointed by the regulator and to make enhancements to the transaction surveillance system at its New York branch. It will also suspend dollar clearing operations for high-risk retail business clients of SCB Hong Kong and start abandoning high-risk small and medium business clients at SCB UAE.

The New York branch will not, without the prior approval of the DFS, open a US dollar demand deposit account for any customer who does not already have such an account there.

Standard Chartered settled with Lawsky in 2012 after he released a scathing report that accused a unit of the bank of leaving the American financial system susceptible to terrorists and "drug kingpins". The $340m fine was part of a $667m settlement with other regulators over breaches of US sanctions on Iran.

Lawsky had accused the bank of helping Iran launder about $250bn, keeping false records and handling lucrative wire transfers for Iranian clients.

The report found that one Standard Chartered executive caustically dismissed concerns from a US colleague about dealings with Iran, one of a number of countries under American sanction.

"You fucking Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we're not going to deal with Iranians," Lawsky's report quoted the banker as saying.

That fine was a particular embarrassment for Standard Chartered – which is based in London but best known for its banking services in Asia and Africa – as its management had weeks earlier emphasised that it had a more conservative, "boring" culture than some rivals.

The bank strongly rejected Lawsky's portrayal of its activities, which sent its share price and management into a tailspin. In August 2012, chief executive Peter Sands agreed to settle the charges while insisting that the bank had committed only minor breaches of the rules.

Announcing quarterly results this month, the bank warned it faced further US fines, saying Lawsky had uncovered "certain issues" with its efforts to block money laundering following the 2012 agreement.

The alleged lapse in anti-money laundering controls was detected by Ellen Zimiles, the independent monitor installed as part of the 2012 settlement. According to the DFS the bank's New York office had developed a transaction monitoring system, the SCB Rulebook, designed to alert the New York branch to unusual transaction patterns that would require further investigation.

But when Zimiles, an authority on anti-money laundering programmes at Navigant Consulting, gathered information and attempted to test the SCB Rulebook she found it contained numerous errors and other problems.

As a result, said the DFS, SCB failed to identify high-risk transactions for further review. "SCB failed to detect these problems because of a lack of adequate testing both before and after implementation of the transaction monitoring system, and failed to adequately audit the transaction monitoring system."

In a statement the bank said it "accepts responsibility for and regrets the deficiencies in the anti-money laundering transaction surveillance system at its New York branch. The group has already begun extensive remediation efforts and is committed to completing these with utmost urgency."

Friday, August 15, 2014

US Police: Going Military with Program 1033

The shooting of Michael Brown has revived debates about race and policing in the US. Not just over the killing – but the response to the protests that followed, and what’s being called the "militarization" of the police.

Deutsche Welle, 15 Aug 2014



 USA Tod eines schwarzen Jugendlichen Protest in Ferguson Polizeieinsatz 12.08.2014
The civil rights legend John Lewis expressed what many Americans were thinking. "This is not China or Russia or the Congo. This is America." His statement came after Wednesday night's turmoil in Ferguson, when the streets of the Missouri town were transformed into a conflict zone.

It wasn't just the tear gas, smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails that proved shocking. It was the sight of armored vehicles on American streets, surrounded by officers armed so heavily they looked like they were going to war.

Barack Obama interrupted his vacation to call for calm. Attorney General Eric Holder – leading the White House's response to the situation – said, "At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message."

'Small Armies'

The shooting of teenager Michael
 Brown triggered days of protests and
riots in Ferguson
It's a concern that has been echoed across the political divide. "We need to de-militarize the situation," said Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.

"Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies," wrote Republican Senator Rand Paul in Time Magazine.

At the heart of this process of "militarization" is a Pentagon program that has channeled billions of dollars worth of surplus weapons, vehicles and even aircraft from the military to law enforcement agencies all over the US – virtually free of charge. Its name is Program 1033.

Program 1033

Run by the Defense Logistics Agency, the program has its roots in the early 1990s, as a means of providing local agencies with equipment for use in the "war on drugs." It was expanded later in the decade and is now subject to "few limitations and requirements" according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The program's website hails its own scope: "If your law enforcement agency chooses to participate, it may become one of the more than 8,000 participating agencies to increase its capabilities, expand its patrol coverage, reduce response times, and save the American taxpayer's investment." And with US combat forces now long out of Iraq and soon leaving Afghanistan – there is a lot of surplus equipment going for free.

Small town police force?

The incentive to militarize

From M16 rifles to Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection Vehicles (MRAPs) – there's plenty on offer for cash-strapped police forces. And they only have to pay the cost of delivery and maintenance.

There is even an incentive to put their new equipment to use – and fast. The ACLU highlights a clause in the Memoranda of Agreements between states and the DLA requiring the recipient to "utilize property within one year or schedule its return."

The ACLU says Program 1033 is encouraging not just escalation on the streets of Ferguson but countless SWAT team deployments that never go reported: forms of "militarization" that disproportionately target the black community.

Congressman Henry Johnson says it is time to end this process. He has drafted a "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act," which he says will "end the free transfers of certain aggressive military equipment to local law enforcement." His spokesman told DW that the bill does not seek to scrap Program 1033 altogether. But he said it would limit the types of weapons on offer – as well as boosting accountability.

Ferguson regroups

Back in Ferguson, the police response demilitarized dramatically on Thursday night after Governor Jay Nixon weighed in. But there is no sign the equipment seen on the suburb's streets will be returned to sender.

DW asked the spokesman for Missouri's Department of Public Safety if the police would ever have been able to afford – or even obtain – such gear without access to government programs like 1033. He would only say that Missouri was no special case: "This is a national program available right across America."

Related Articles:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

China's elite tighten their belts as crackdown bites

Yahoo – AFP, Jerome Taylor, 13 Aug 2014



China's big spenders are reining in overt shows of wealth, shelving shopping trips in Hong Kong and Macau gambling sprees in the face of the Communist Party's anti-corruption and frugality drive, analysts say.

President Xi Jinping has launched a much-publicised graft crackdown since taking office last year with a series of high profile takedowns of party officials sending shockwaves through an elite who once did little to hide their prosperity.

A related austerity drive -- ordering an end to excessive gift-giving and banquets within the state sector -- has also meant officials are wary of popping too many champagne corks.

Fearful of attracting any scrutiny that might lead to a potentially career-ending probe, many of China's most powerful are either tightening their belts or being much more careful about how they spend their money publicly, analysts say.

That shift has been most keenly felt in the Chinese elite's nearest playgrounds of Hong Kong and Macau. But a ripple effect is beginning to have an impact as far afield as the luxury fashion houses of Europe.

"The corruption crackdown shows no signs of slowing down. It has created a lot of concern within the country and as far as I can see a lot of high profile individuals are much more cautious about their overt spending," Steve Vickers, a risk consultant and former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police?s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, told AFP.

Recent key indicators of the luxury market in Hong Kong and Macau have shown a noticeable downward trend in areas where China's elite play a key role.

VIPs shunning Macau

Gambling revenues in Macau have fallen for the second month in a row while retail sales in Hong Kong, a city that many locals complain has become a giant shopping mall for wealthy mainlanders, have been slipping since the beginning of the year.

The dip in Macau?s gambling revenues -- the first major drop since 2009 following the global economic crash -- is particularly stark.

The territory's gambling watchdog, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, said casino income dropped by 3.6 percent year on year in July following a 3.7 percent dip in June.

Analysts attribute the fall in part to a drop-off in so-called ?VIP junkets?, organised trips where Chinese high rollers from the mainland blow huge sums of cash on casino floors and in private rooms.

"We believe there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that a VIP recovery is imminent," Union Gaming Research Macau analysts Grant Govertsen and Felicity Chiang wrote in a briefing note shortly after the figures were released.

"To the contrary, the anti-corruption crackdown in the PRC (China) seems to be accelerating / expanding, which in our view should result in continued, although indirect, pressure on the VIP segment."

Analysts say Hong Kong's falling retail sales have been affected by a number of causes, including the general slowdown of the world?s second-largest economy, anti-mainlander sentiment in the southern Chinese city and the tendency of high spenders to splurge further afield where their shopping sprees are less noticeable.

Sales of jewellery, watches and other valuable gifts slumped 28.2 percent in June according to official government data.

Avoiding attention

"At this critical moment, you don't want to lavishly spend a lot of money and draw attention overseas even if it's your own money,? David Ji, head of research and consultancy for Greater China (HKSE: 0431.HK - news) at realtor Knight Frank, told AFP.

On the mainland itself, other key indicators illustrate the more cautious approach officials and big spenders are taking.

The nascent but growing market for private jets has slowed as business tycoons opt for smaller or less flashy models while demand for yachts has also seen a hiccup.

John Watkins, CEO or ASC Wines, one of the most prominent wine importers to China, said sales of high end bottles and vintages purchased by state officials have dropped by 80 to 90 percent.

"The premium end of the imported wine market has been affected starting two years ago. The impact is still felt today," he said.

"With government officials we are seeing very little activity in restaurants, hotels and clubs."

Last month British drinks maker Diageo (LSE: DGE.L - news) said its international brands fell 14 percent in China during the last financial year, largely driven by weakness in demand for its whiskies.

Luxury goods houses in Europe are beginning to feel the pinch. France's Hermes reported that sales decreased in the second quarter, in part because of slowing sales in China.

Spirits group Remy Cointreau (Other OTC: REMYY - news) and clothes designer Burberry had similar woes for the period while Swiss-based luxury giant Richemont also noted slowing China sales.

But in Europe itself the spending power of the luxury yuan is still going strong, analysts say, partially because China's elite believe they can set off fewer alarm bells the further they are from Beijing.

"It's no longer just Hong Kong and Macau that are their stomping grounds for luxury purchases," says Vickers.

"They have other places to go where they are under less scrutiny."

Related Article:


Saturday, August 9, 2014

RBS begins to dismantle controversial restructuring division

Head of Royal Bank of Scotland’s GRG division leaves following scrutiny of unit’s dealings with small companies facing collapse

The Guardian, Julia Kollewe, Friday 8 August 2014

Derek Sach, head of Royal Bank of Scotland’s global restructuring group,
will leave in 2015. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Royal Bank of Scotland is dismantling its controversial restructuring division, with its head Derek Sach and another executive leaving the bank in spring 2015.

Sach and Aubrey Adams, who runs the property unit within the global restructuring group (GRG), are leaving at the end of next March. Laura Barlow, who currently heads up the restructuring team for the UK and US within GRG, has been appointed as head of RBS’s restructuring division with immediate effect.

GRG, which deals with companies facing collapse, has faced a barrage of criticism, notably from Lawrence Tomlinson, an adviser to the business secretary, Vince Cable. He concluded in a report last November that the unit forced viable small businesses to the brink so that the bank could buy up their properties and make a profit. RBS then commissioned law firm Clifford Chance to investigate the claims. Its report said RBS did not deliberately defraud customers. The Financial Conduct Authority is also investigating.

The move to close GRG as a standalone unit comes in the wake of the UK’s economic recovery, which has led to a sharp drop in the number of restructuring cases. A few weeks ago, the RBS chief executive, Ross McEwan, said the number of cases being referred to GRG had dropped by 40%. RBS has set up an internal bad bank, which has taken on a lot of GRG cases.

The division dealt with a number of big turnaround cases, including luggage maker Samsonite, Liverpool FC and Thomas Cook.

Sach and Chris Sullivan, the bank’s deputy chief executive, denied GRG was run as a profit centre when interrogated by MPs on the Treasury select committee in June. In a letter to committee chair Andrew Tyrie, Sullivan subsequently admitted that the operation was run this way in terms of its accounting basis.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

High court throws out 'incredible' £6m bonus claim by ex-Investec traders

Andrew Brogden and Robert Reid had alleged that the firm failed to honour an unwritten bonus agreement for 2010-2011

The GuardianAgencies, Wednesday 6 August 2014

The pair had claimed more than £6m in bonuses despite their business
having made losses. Photograph: Getty Images

Two former Investec traders lost a three-year, £6m battle over their bonuses on Wednesday in a case described by a London high court judge as fanciful and "wholly incredible".

Andrew Brogden and Robert Reid, the former head and deputy head of the bank's structured equity derivatives desk, alleged that the firm failed to honour an unwritten bonus agreement for 2010-2011 made when they joined the bank in 2007. The pair claimed more than £6m in bonuses despite their business having made losses.

The bank said it paid bonuses of £150,000 to Brogden and £100,000 to Reid in June 2011, which the two men accepted. Both men left the bank a month later and launched their case shortly afterwards, an Investec spokesman said.

Investec dismissed suggestions it had orally agreed to pay bonuses to Brogden and Reid according to an "economic value added" formula, which ignored actual profit and loss and referred instead to theoretical savings made by the bank, calculated by reference to rates in the bond market.

Dismissing all the claims against the bank, judge George Leggatt said: "I regard their claim that an oral agreement was made to use the 'institutional market rate' in calculating their bonuses as wholly incredible."

He said both men struck him as decent and highly talented and they genuinely believed they had developed a retail structured product business which generated economic value for the bank to which they were entitled to a share. But Leggatt said the court could only judge what was fair in terms of contract.

The two were ordered to pay Investec's costs of more than £1.5m.

Lawyers have said that a legal victory scored in 2012 by 104 London-based bankers against Commerzbank, after Germany's second-largest lender slashed their bonuses in the wake of huge investment bank losses, could spur other aggrieved staff to sue firms in payout disputes. Commerzbank was ordered to pay €50m (£40m) to the bankers who sued after they were offered only a 10th of the amount.

But Leggatt said on Wednesday that although he did not think Brogden and Reid's evidence was invented or dishonest, he had been persuaded that no oral accord had been made during pre-contractual discussions.

"Not only did they seem to me to be sincere and straightforward individuals, but the account they gave does not have the hallmarks of deliberate concoction. It much more likely has its origin in something actually said, however great the distortion in the claimants' recollections," he said.

Lawyers for Brogden and Reid were not immediately available for comment.

David Van Der Walt, the chief executive of Investec in London, said: "This was a baseless claim and an unwarranted attack on our institution, our culture and values. It is unfortunate that these claims were ever issued, but we move on from here."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bernie Ecclestone: 'I'm an idiot' for paying £60m to settle F1 bribery trial

Formula One chief relieved at end of trial but questions paying $100m settlement as 'judge more or less said I was acquitted'

The Guardian, Josie Le Blond in Berlin, Tuesday 5 August 2014

Bernie Ecclestone. The F1 boss is worth £3bn-£4bn but the defence denied
claims that he had bought his freedom. Photograph: Willi Schneider/Rex

The Formula One chief, Bernie Ecclestone, has declared himself "a bit of an idiot" for paying a £60m settlement to bring an end to his bribery trial.

The president and chief executive of Formula One agreed with German prosecutors on Tuesday to pay the record sum to end his trial, a district court in Munich confirmed. The defence has denied accusations that he had bought his freedom.

The Formula One boss went on trial in Munich in April over allegations that he bribed a former German banker as part of the sale of a major stake in the motor sport business eight years ago.

Although slightly lighter in the pocket, given Ecclestone's worth is estimated at about £3bn-£4bn, he was nonetheless relieved that he could put this period of his life finally behind him.

Ecclestone, 83, told PA: "The bottom line is it's been three and a half years of aggravation, travelling, meeting lawyers, and God knows what else, so it is good it is out of the way.

"This trial has been going on for two days a week and it was going to go on until October. When you're trying to run businesses it's not easy trying to resolve things when you're dealing with lawyers.

"In the end what has happened today is good and bad; the good is the judge more or less said I was acquitted, and they [the prosecution] really didn't have a case.

"So I was a bit of an idiot to do what I did to settle because it wasn't with the judge, it was with the prosecutors.

"Anyway, it's done and finished, so it's all right. I'm contented, it's all fine.

"This now allows me to do what I do best, which is running F1.

"Another three months out would have been bad. I've been working weekends to catch up with what I've been missing during the week.

"I've not really noticed, but it's probably taken its toll a little bit."

The Munich court said in a statement that $99m (£59m) would be paid to the German treasury and a further $1m to a German children's hospice charity. The money will be paid within a week, it added, after which the trial will officially be abandoned.

"The abandonment is neither a 'deal' nor a 'settlement', even less so a 'buying out,'" said Ecclestone's defence team in a joint statement. Prosecutors said they had based their decision partly on the defendant's age and willingness to cooperate.

Ecclestone was accused of having given Bayern Landesbank's chief risk officer, Gerhard Gribkowsky, $44m in 2006 in order to ease the sale of the bank's share to a company that had guaranteed to keep Ecclestone as chief executive.

Throughout the trial, Ecclestone admitted paying the money but denied it was a bribe, saying he paid it to silence Gribkowsky who had threatened to report him over irregularities in his tax affairs. Gribkowsky was sentenced in 2012 to eight and a half years for tax evasion, breach of duty and accepting bribes.

In a statement explaining its decision to abandon proceedings, the court said it had "considerable doubts" that Ecclestone knew Gribkowsky had held the position at the German state bank at the time of the alleged bribe.

"Accordingly, a prosecution of the accused due to bribery is not probable as things stand," the court said, despite admitting that all evidence in the case had not yet been heard.

Last week Ecclestone's legal team informed the court that he was willing to pay €25m (£19.8m) to Bayern LB in a separate settlement. The bank, which had been seeking €400m in damages from Ecclestone, had rejected an earlier offer of €50m in 2012, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

German law provides for some criminal cases to be settled with smaller punishments, such as fines, though the size of the payment in the Ecclestone case has led some to question a system that in effect favours rich defendants.

A paragraph in the German criminal code allows for trials to be ended under conditions that are "appropriate for resolving the public interest in a prosecution," as long as the gravity of wrongdoing does not outweigh this.

In practice, wealthy defendants have in the past used this clause to buy their way out of criminal trials. But no one has ever paid so high a sum as has been agreed with Ecclestone.

The agreement, which his defence lawyers said kept his presumed innocence intact, means Ecclestone is able to continue unchallenged at the helm of the multibillion-pound business, which he is credited with building up over the past four decades.

If he had been sentenced, Ecclestone, a leading figure in the sport since the 1970s, could have faced up to 10 years in prison and would most likely have been forced to step down.

During the trial, Ecclestone handed over the day-to-day running of Formula One to his chief legal officer, Sacha Woodward-Hill. Now Ecclestone is once again free to take control, with no sign of the veteran sports magnate voluntarily giving up any of his considerable power.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Three men jailed over the bribing of Indonesian and Iraqi officials

Prison sentences follow Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribes paid to increase sales of toxic fuel additive tetraethyl lead

The Guardian, Press Association, Monday 4 August 2014

Sentences passed down at Southwark crown court follow the payment of bribes
by Associated Octel, renamed Innospec, to officials in Indonesia and Iraq.
Photograph: Colin Mcpherson for the Guardian

Three men were jailed on Monday for their roles in bribing state officials in Indonesia and Iraq.

The sentences at Southwark crown court followed a Serious Fraud Office investigation into the payment of bribes by Associated Octel, subsequently renamed Innospec, to increase sales of the toxic fuel additive tetraethyl lead.

Dennis Kerrison, 69, of Chertsey, Surrey, was sentenced to four years in prison, Paul Jennings, 57, of Neston, Cheshire, to two years, and Miltiades Papachristos, 51, of Thessaloniki, Greece, to 18 months.

David Turner, 59, of Newmarket, Suffolk, was given a 16-month suspended sentence with 300 hours' unpaid work.

Kerrison and Papachristos had been convicted in June of conspiracy to commit corruption.

Jennings pleaded guilty in June 2012 to two charges of conspiracy to commit corruption and the following month to a further similar charge.

Turner pleaded guilty in January 2012 to three charges of conspiracy to commit corruption.

Judge Andrew Goymer said: "Corruption in this company was endemic, institutionalised and ingrained … but despite being a separate legal entity, it is not an automated machine; decisions are made by human minds.

"None of these defendants would consider themselves in the same category as common criminals who commit crimes of dishonesty or violence … but the real harm lies in the effect on public life, the effect on community and, in particular with this corruption, its effect on the environment.

"If a company registered or based in the UK engages in bribery of foreign officials, it tarnishes the reputation of this country in the international arena."

David Green, the director of the SFO, said: "This successful conclusion to a long-running investigation demonstrates the SFO's ability and determination to bring individuals committing crimes in the corporate arena to justice."

Innospec pleaded guilty in March 2010 to bribing state officials in Indonesia and was fined $12.7m dollars (£7.5m) in England with additional penalties being imposed in the US.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Millionaire City executive who dodged £43,000 in train fares unmasked

Jonathan Burrows, 44, should have paid £21.50 for commute, but got away with paying £7.20 over period of five years

theguardian.com, Martin Williams, Saturday 2 August 2014

Southeastern railway kept Jonathan Burrows' identity quiet after he reimbursed
them promptly. Photograph: Johnny Green/PA

A millionaire City executive who dodged £43,000 in train fares and hoped to avoid prosecution has been unmasked.

Jonathan Burrows, 44, tried to keep his anonymity by reimbursing Southeastern railways within three days of being caught. His identity has been revealed, however, after an investigation by British Transport police that was triggered after the story first broke in April.

The investment executive is thought to be Britain's biggest fare dodger, after repeatedly exploiting a loophole in the Oyster card system on his daily commute to London.

His commute from his East Sussex home should have cost him £21.50, but Burrows, who earns up to £1m and owns two country mansions worth £4m, managed to pay just £7.20 over a period of five years.

When he was eventually caught in November, he told Southeastern he wanted his name kept secret because of the impact the scandal could have on his job, according to the Daily Mail.

But when British Transport police found out that Southeastern had let Burrows off quietly it launched a criminal investigation, which is ongoing.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also investigated Burrows over concerns that he could be unsuitable for working in the City. Last week he was forced to tell his managers at BlackRock that the regulator was investigating. He was suspended immediately from his job and eventually resigned.

Jonathan Mullen, a spokesman for BlackRock, said: "Jonathan Burrows has left BlackRock. What he is alleged to have done is totally contrary to our values and principles."

An FCA spokesman said that their investigation had been dropped following Burrows's resignation, but added that past misconduct is taken into consideration when people apply for fresh authorisation. It said: "That doesn't have to be a criminal record. It can be anything that calls into question someone's fitness and propriety to work in the industry."

Burrows could not be contacted for comment. Asked about the case by the Mail, he reportedly said: "Dunno what you're talking about."

Friday, August 1, 2014

GOP lawmaker: You will ‘rethink everything’ when full 9/11 report is released

The Raw Story, Travis Gettys, Thursday, July 31, 2014


A Republican lawmaker renewed his call for the release of 28 redacted pages from the investigative report into the 9/11 terrorist attacks — which a left-wing fringe group claims implicates the British monarchy.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) appeared Wednesday on the Glenn Beck Program to discuss the excerpt, which he and two other current lawmakers and one former lawmaker were permitted to read earlier this year.

The Tea Party-backed freshman lawmaker, who was one of five House Republicans who voted against authorizing Speaker John Boehner to sue President Barack Obama, posted video earlier this month from a news conference on those classified portions of the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.” 

“It is sort of shocking when you read it,” Massie told reporters. “As I read it, we all had our own experience, I had to stop every couple of pages and absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history for the past 13 years and the years leading up to that. It challenges you to rethink everything.”

Massie appeared alongside Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA), who cosponsored legislation to release the classified pages after being allowed to read them – but not to publicly discuss their contents.

Although the news conference was held in March, the newly posted video prompted renewed online coverage – and an invitation to appear on Beck’s syndicated radio program.

Massie told Beck the revelations would not “tear our country apart,” although he said there would be “anger, frustration, and embarrassment when these 28 pages finally come out.”

“If we’re going to use 9/11 as a motivation to get involved in these civil wars in the Middle East, (lawmakers and the public) need to read these pages and understand what truly caused 9/11 and who our friends are and who our enemies are,” Massie said.

According to Jones’ friends in the Lyndon LaRouche movement, which has claimed knowledge of some contents of those 28 pages since at least 2009, those duplicitous friends are Great Britain and Saudi Arabia.

“We know exactly who did it: It was done by the British monarchy,” said LaRouche, the conspiracy theorist and perennial candidate for president. “The British monarchy set the whole thing up. That’s the guilty party, and that’s what the cover-up is all about.”

LaRouche has suggested for years that Britain controls the world’s political economy and international drug trade using strategies – such as funding terrorists to destabilize nation-states – developed by medieval Venice.

Jones and Lynch pressed for months to gain access to the redacted documents – which are left blank in the published report.


LaRouche’s website contains a number of links to documents suggesting 9/11 – as well as the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya – was funded as part of the ongoing Al Yamamah weapons-for-oil deal set up by the British aerospace company BAE Systems and the Saudi government.

LaRouche’s “Executive Intelligence Review” publication claims to have evidence about the findings provided by former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), who has seen the 28 redacted pages and has called for additional investigation into the Saudis’ role in 9/11.

“Despite the carefully orchestrated campaign to protect our Saudi ‘friends,’ ample evidence of Saudi Arabia’s intimate ties to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks has come to light,” Graham said.

Bob Kerrey, a former U.S. senator who served on the 9/11 Commission, has also suggested the role of Saudi Arabia needs to be further investigated. A U.S. counter-terrorism report released in 2008 concluded Saudi Arabia was the leading source of money for Al Qaeda.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Swiss UBS pays millions to Germany in settlement over tax evasion

Swiss banking giant UBS has agreed to pay Germany a hefty fine for its involvement in helping German clients hide money from tax authorities. It's the biggest fine ever paid to the country by a Swiss lender.

Deutsche Welle, 29 July 2014


Zurich-based UBS confirmed Tuesday it had settled investigation charges of aiding German clients suspected of evading taxes.

Switzerland's largest lender agreed with prosecutors in Bochum, Germany, to pay a fine of some 300 million euros ($403 million). The payment will put the case to rest in Germany, but UBS continues to face similar punitive action elsewhere.

The Swiss lender also stands accused of aiding account holders from France and Belgium in hiding their money from domestic tax authorities.

Little impact on earnings

As early as 2009, UBS was able to ward off a trial in the US over its role in helping clients avoid taxes by paying a fine of $780 million in an out-of-court settlement.

Despite continued litigation costs, the lender on Tuesday reported a 15-percent net profit jump in the second quarter, compared to its earnings in the same period a year earlier.

UBS said the hike was driven by strong results from its core wealth management and trimmed-down investment banking franchises.

hg/ng (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bank of England blasts Lloyds for rigging bailout funding

Taxpayer-owned bank ordered to pay nearly £8m after 'reprehensible and unlawful' manipulation of repo rate – on top of £218m in fines for Libor rigging

The Guardian, Jill Treanor, Monday 28 July 2014

Lloyds Banking Group fined over Libor rigging. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

The Libor-rigging scandal took a new twist on Monday when Lloyds Banking Group faced accusations of unlawful behaviour after being ordered pay compensation to the Bank of England for manipulating the fees it paid for emergency funding during the height of the banking crisis.

In addition to £218m of fines from regulators in the UK and US for rigging the benchmark rate, the 24% taxpayer-owned bank was ordered to pay Threadneedle Street nearly £8m.

The fines imposed on Lloyds cover two main issues – manipulating Libor, for which seven other firms have been punished – and, for the first time, rigging another rate, known as the repo rate. This repo rate was used to calculate the scale of the fees paid to the Bank of England for its special liquidity scheme (SLS) which was created to pump money into the financial system amid fears banks were facing a credit crisis.

The Bank of England said Lloyds' manipulation of the repo rate was "highly reprehensible and clearly unlawful".

As has been the case with other Libor fines – Barclays was the first to be penalised in June 2012 – regulators on both sides of the Atlantic published emails and electronic chats exposing evidence of manipulation. In one exchange, a Lloyds trader remarks when asked about reducing a Libor rate: "every little helps... It's like Tescos".

Unlike other Libor penalties, Lloyds is also paying the Bank of England £7.8m in compensation because of the lower fees being paid for the SLS, which was introduced in April 2008 and closed in January 2012.

In a harshly worded letter, the Bank of England governer Mark Carney said this scheme was intended to help banks get through the worse of the financial crisis as Lloyds TSB rescued HBOS, which owned Halifax and Bank of Scotland.

"Such manipulation is highly reprehensible, clearly unlawful and may amount to criminal conduct on the part of the individuals involved," Carney said.

The Lloyds chairman, Lord Blackwell, replied: "I absolutely share your concern about the nature of the SLS conduct and in particular its implications for reducing fees. This was truly shocking conduct, undertaken when the bank was on a lifeline of public support".

Tracey McDermott, the FCA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "The firms were a significant beneficiary of financial assistance from the Bank of England through the SLS. Colluding to benefit the firms at the expense, ultimately, of the UK taxpayer was unacceptable.

"The abuse of the SLS is a novel feature of this case but the underlying conduct and the underlying failings - to identify, mitigate and monitor for obvious risks - are not new. If trust in financial services is to be restored then market participants need to ensure they are learning the lessons from, and avoiding the mistakes of, their peers. Our enforcement actions are an important source of information to help them do this," she said.

The Financial Conduct Authority, which issued fines alongside two US regulators, shows a manager from Bank of Scotland and a trader at Lloyds acknowledging their influence over the repo rate used to price the SLS. "While we've got two votes we should use this to our advantage, you know what I mean?" the Bank of Scotland manager told his colleague in 2009, four months after the two banks merged.

Four individuals at Bank of Scotland and Lloyds were involved in or knew about the repo fixing while 12 were involved in or knew about rigging Libor when priced in sterling, US dollars and Japanese yen, where there was collusion with the Dutch bank Rabobank.

The Libor fine also covers a period when Bank of Scotland was still part of HBOS and as it was being rescued by Lloyds. Bank of Scotland submitters to Libor were given direct instructions to ensure their rates did not appear too high. Submitting a higher rate than rivals may have indicated their bank was in financial distress. An individual at Bank of Scotland responsible for submissions to Libor sent a message to a rival: "I've been pressured by senior management to bring by rates down into line with everyone else". Only days previously, the rate had been half a percentage point higher than rivals.

Libor has been overhauled since the furore caused by the fines on Barclays and others, including Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS. During the period of the offences it was based on submissions from banks at the rate they believed their rivals would charge them to borrow for a number of periods, ranging from overnight to 12 months.

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