Monthly Archives: May 2014


JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Claim Currency Suits Fall Short

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Claim Currency Suits Fall Short

Case Title

Haverhill Retirement System v. Barclays Bank PLC et al

Case Number



New York Southern

Nature of Suit



Lorna G. Schofield

Law360, Los Angeles (May 30, 2014, 10:42 PM ET) — A group of financial institutions accused of manipulating foreign exchange rates asked a New York federal judge on Friday to throw out the charges, saying the complaints don’t specifically allege any concerted efforts by the banks to restrain trade.

Nearly a dozen banks teamed up in a bid to dismiss the investor suits, which claim they worked together to manipulate the massive currency market to their own advantage. The banks say the investors haven’t adequately alleged that the banks entered into an agreement in restraint of…


BREAKING NEWS: Newark Votes, Approves Use of Eminent Domain to Fight Foreclosures–First Domino Falls

BREAKING NEWS: Newark Votes, Approves Use of Eminent Domain to Fight Foreclosures–First Domino Falls

Newark, New Jersey has become the first city in the country to officially approve a controversial plan that uses eminent domain to fight foreclosures and neighborhood blight. 

Newark’s new mayor, Ras Baraka, introduced the resolution and the Newark Municipal Council, which passed it unanimously, according to a press release issued today by New Jersey Communities United (, which describes itself as a progressive grassroots community organization committed to building power for low and moderate income people, predominantly in Newark.

According to the release…

“Newark Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Local Principal Reduction Program for Families Facing Foreclosure
Mayor-Elect Ras Baraka Leading Fight Against Foreclosure Crisis in Newark”

The program would allow homeowners trapped in certain type of mortgage, known as a Private Label Security or PLS Loans, to voluntarily participate in a program where the City purchases these mortgages from investors and repackages them at terms homeowners can afford. For most of the estimated 1,200 homeowners with these types of loans in Newark, the policy would save them from losing their homes to foreclosure.

Mayor-Elect Ras Baraka…

“Newark families have been absolutely devastated by the foreclosure crisis.  Unless we take decisive action now, the situation will only get worse.  As Mayor of Newark, I will aggressively move forward to implement the resolution passed by the Council. It will send a clear message that we will no longer accept the predatory lending and questionable foreclosure practices by banks. More importantly this policy will keep families in their homes and begin to reverse the blight created by vacant and abandoned houses that have already been lost to bank foreclosures.”

Copy of LA city attorney’s lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase

May 30, 2014

Suit Contends Bank’s Practices Deepened Foreclosure Crisis and Damaged City

Los Angeles–Continuing to tackle the impact of the foreclosure crisis on Los
Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer today sued another of the nation’s largest
banks, JP Morgan Chase. The suit alleges the bank engaged in discriminatory
lending, which the City contends led to a wave of foreclosures that continues to
diminish the City’s property tax revenues and increase the need for costly City

The new litigation against JP Morgan Chase comes on the heels of a federal
court ruling on Wednesday that denied a motion by Wells Fargo to dismiss a
similar complaint by the City. Feuer sued Wells Fargo, Bank of America and
Citigroup in December.

“L.A. continues to suffer from the foreclosure crisis–from blight in our
neighborhoods to diminished revenue for basic City services,” said
Feuer. “We’re fighting to hold those we allege are responsible to account and to
help bring back every community in our City.”

The City seeks damages for reduced property tax revenues resulting from the
decreased value of foreclosed properties–foreclosures the City claims were
caused by allegedly discriminatory mortgage lending. The suit also seeks
damages for the increased cost of City services resulting from the foreclosures.

As a member of the California State Assembly Feuer was an author of the
Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, along with other legislation to protect homeowners
grappling with foreclosure.

A copy of the complaint is attached.

Click to access lacityp_028287.pdf



Clorox : U.S. investigating Icahn, Mickelson in insider trading probe

Clorox : U.S. investigating Icahn, Mickelson in insider trading probe

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating possible insider trading involving billionaire investor Carl Icahn, golfer Phil Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler William Walters, a source familiar with the matter said.

Federal investigators are looking into whether Mickelson and Walters may have traded illegally on private information provided by Icahn about his investments in public corporations, the source told Reuters, confirming a report by the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Icahn, Mickelson and Walters were not immediately available for comment.


Need a Book for the Beach? Here’s J.P. Morgan’s Summer Reading List

Need a Book for the Beach? Here’s J.P. Morgan’s Summer Reading List

Summer is nearly here and that’s means sand, surf, sun and a pile of books with which to relax.

And one bank has offered to assist its wealthy clients, at least with the book part. For the past 15 years, J.P. Morgan has been putting together a reading list of 10 books specifically chosen to appeal to the tastes and preoccupations of the wealthy. The list has ranged through the years from Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” to a Middle Eastern cook book.

J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank initially started the list as a way for to keep in touch with clients over the summer, said Darin Oduyoye, who crafted the idea and also heads up communications for J.P. Morgan’s Asset Management division.

Getting on the 10-book list isn’t easy. This year employees from J.P. Morgan Asset Management offices around the world submitted 568 titles that were reviewed by a 16-person committee, Mr. Oduyoye said. That’s grown from 115 recommendations from J.P. Morgan private bankers when the list first came out in 2000, he said.

Over the years, Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan’s chief executive and chairman, and Mary Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, have contributed their own picks, Mr. Oduyoye said.

Here’s this year’s list:

Art & Place: Site-Specific Art of the Americasby Editors of Phaidon
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, by Arianna Huffington
Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Mindsby Carmine Gallo
The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy, by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley.
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mindby Biz Stone
The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mindby Michio Kaku
Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cookingby Rawia Bishara
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anythingby Col. Chris Hadfield
The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing’s Greatest Race, the America’s Cup, by Julian Guthrie

And for comparison here’s the inaugural list from 2000:

The Pursuit of Wealth: The Incredible Story of Money Throughout the Ages by Robert Sobel 
The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Lawrence Cunningham 
Security Analysis (Classic 1934 Edition) by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
The Cluetrain Manifesto by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger
The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton Christensen
Faster by James Gleick

The Silicon Boys and Their Valley Dreamsby David Kaplan 
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell 
Patient Number Oneby Rick Murdock

My recommendation of a book for Jamie Dimon to read and re-read is Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips because he knows nothing about being a leader. Oh and go back and re-read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Jamie, because you are not in the B, S, and I quadrants!:

  • E: Employee – Working for someone else.
  • S: Self-employed or Small business owner – Where a person owns his own job and is his own boss.
  • B: Business owner – A person who owns a business to make money; typically where the owner’s physical presence is not required.
  • I: Investor – Investing money in order to receive a larger income in the future.



UBS Probed in Belgium Over Money Laundering, Organized Crime

UBS Probed in Belgium Over Money Laundering, Organized Crime

It’s a never ending story of money laundering scandals from the banksters…

UBS AG (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest bank, is being probed by Belgian authorities over allegations of money laundering and organized crime.

Judge Michel Claise is leading the investigation, Anja Bijnens, a spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor, said by telephone today.

UBS employees approached wealthy Belgian taxpayers including chief executive officers and sportsmen over a 10-year period, encouraging them to open undeclared accounts in Switzerland, M… Belgique magazine reported, without saying where it got the information. UBS Belgium, the bank’s local arm, helped to organize the transfer of large amounts of money to Switzerland, the magazine said.

“UBS conducts its business in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations,” the bank said in a statement to Bloomberg News today. “UBS does not tolerate any activities intended to help its clients circumvent their tax obligations.” It said it was unaware of “any preliminary investigation” of its Belgian operation.



Los Angeles sues JPMorgan over mortgage lending practices

Los Angeles sues JPMorgan over mortgage lending practices

(Reuters) – Los Angeles on Friday sued JPMorgan Chase & Co (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.), accusing the largest U.S. bank of engaging in discriminatory mortgage lending practices that drove up foreclosures.

(Reuters) – Los Angeles on Friday sued JPMorgan Chase & Co (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.), accusing the largest U.S. bank of engaging in discriminatory mortgage lending practices that drove up foreclosures.

The second most populous U.S. city said it is seeking damages for reduced property tax revenue and the higher cost of providing services, both of which it attributed to the foreclosures.


Five states make up nearly half of U.S. foreclosures: CoreLogic

Five states make up nearly half of U.S. foreclosures: CoreLogic

Just five states made up almost half of all U.S. foreclosures completed over the past year, even as the national market showed a marked improvement, with gauges of troubled properties reaching near pre-crisis levels last month, according to data released Thursday.

These usual suspects made up the five states: Florida, Michigan, Texas, California and Georgia. Meanwhile, the national landscape continued to rebound in April, as the number of mortgages per completed foreclosure rose to 65 – the strongest reading since February 2008 – up from 52 a year earlier, according to CoreLogic, an Irvine, Calif.-based analysis firm.

“We have now registered two and a half years of continuous decreases in the number of homeowners who are in some stage of the foreclosure process,” Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s chief executive, said in a statement.


Mexico Detains Oceanografia CEO Amid Citigroup Fraud Probe

Mexico Detains Oceanografia CEO Amid Citigroup Fraud Probe

Mexican authorities issued an arrest warrant for the chief executive officer of Oceanografia SA, the oil services provider seized by the government after Citigroup Inc. (C)’s local unit alleged a $400 million loan fraud.

Amado Yanez, 49, is under police supervision while recovering in a hospital after undergoing emergency surgery last week, Mexico’s attorney general said today in an e-mailed statement. He was accused of participation in crimes including violations of the country’s credit-institutions law.

Mexico took control of Oceanografia in February, putting it under the supervision of the Finance Ministry, after Citigroup said it lost $400 million on loans that were granted to the company based on fraudulent invoices. The Oceanografia case briefly stalled legislative talks this year to open the state-controlled oil industry to private investment, after the main opposition party’s leaders complained that some party members had been wrongly singled out for involvement in the fraud case.

“This may be the government showing that it’s cleaning up the energy sector ahead of the oil opening,” Javier Oliva, a political and security analyst at Mexico’s National Autonomous University said by phone from Mexico City.


PNC Financial Services : U.S. Has Opened at Least 15 Probes into Bank-Processing Activities — 4th Update

PNC Financial Services : U.S. Has Opened at Least 15 Probes into Bank-Processing Activities — 4th Update

WASHINGTON–U.S. officials have opened at least 15 civil and criminal investigations into whether banks and payment-processing firms helped enable fraudulent activity, according to Justice Department documents made public Thursday.