Daily Archives: February 23, 2015

Argentinean Money Documents Unsealed

LAS VEGAS (CN) – A federal judge ordered a complaint unsealed in which a U.S. corporation accuses Argentinean insiders of using hundreds of Nevada shell companies to launder $65 million in Argentinean pesos.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach on Thursday partly approved and partly denied a motion to unseal documents in NML Capital’s attempt to recoup $1.7 billion worth of Argentinean bonds.
NML in 2001 refused to restructure the $1.7 billion in Argentina bonds it held at a time when other bondholders agreed to restructure and suffered a 70 percent loss, Ferenbach wrote in his Feb. 19 order.

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Ocwen to Sell $9.8 Billion in Mortgage-Servicing Rights to Nationstar

Portfolio of about 81,000 loans included in sale are owned by Freddie Mac

Ocwen Financial Corp. said Monday that it has agreed to sell $9.8 billion in servicing rights to Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. as the embattled mortgage-servicing company overhauls its business amid recent regulatory penalties.

Shares climbed 6.7% in premarket trading after gaining 57% this month.

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REMIC Armageddon on the Horizon?

Deadly Clear

explosionIt’s about time somebody recognized it.  David Reiss and Brad Bordon posted a dynamic review of the most recent ‘slap down the banks’ cases of Saldivar and Erobobo and the potential impact on the [failed] REMIC tax shelters in REFinBlog.

David Reiss writes: “Brad Borden and I have warned that an unanticipated tax consequence of the sloppy mortgage origination practices that characterized the boom is that MBS pools may fail to qualify as REMICs.  This would have massively negative tax consequences for MBS investors and should trigger lawsuits against the professionals who structured these transactions. Courts deciding upstream and downstream cases have not focused on this issue because it is typically not relevant to the dispute between the parties.

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The Rich Hide an Estimated 21 Trillion in Offshore Accounts

James Henry, author of “Pirate Bankers,” says Swiss Banks like HSBC, Credit Suisse, and UBS facilitate offshore accounts and buy millions of dollars worth of influence in Washington –  February 22, 2015

Bio

James S. Henry is a leading economist, attorney and investigative journalist who has written extensively about global issues. James served as Chief Economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co and as an investigative journalist his work has appeared in numerous publications like Forbes, The Nation, and the The New York Times. He was the lead researcher of the recently released report titled ‘The Price of Offshore Revisited.’

SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.Last week we did an interview with James Henry titled “Over 100 Billion in Assets Stashed in Offshore Accounts by HSBC Clients”. The interview was about the latest revelations of HSBC’s involvement in establishing offshore accounts by whistleblower Hervé Falciani. In the interview, James Henry referred to John Podesta, an outgoing counselor to the president, as a lobbyist paid by Credit Suisse while at the White House. White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Scholz wrote to The Real News stating that John Podesta did not work as a lobbyist while he was at the White House. So we decided to take the story down while we fact-checked the reference. We found that Podesta cofounded the lobbying firm Podesta Group in 1988 with his brother Tony Podesta, who is in fact a lobbyist on behalf of Credit Suisse, according to the financial statements revealed by OpenSecrets.com. According to press reports, John Podesta left the firm in 1998 before the Credit Suisse contracts in question.To discuss all of this further we are joined by James Henry. James is a leading economist, attorney, and investigative journalist who has written extensively. James served as chief economist at the International Consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. And as an investigative journalist, his work has appeared in numerous publications, like Forbes magazine, The Nation, and The New York Times. He was a lead researcher of the recently released report titled The Price of Offshore Revisited. He’s a senior adviser at the Tax Justice Network. He was featured in the documentary We’re Not Broke in 2012. And in the soon-to-be released documentary The Price We Pay. He’s the author of Blood Bankers and Pirate Bankers.James, thank you so much for joining us today.JAMES S. HENRY, SENIOR ECONOMIST, TAX JUSTICE NETWORK: Thank you.PERIES: James, you specifically named John Podesta, who is counsel to the president as a lobbyist for Credit Suisse. What did you mean to say?HENRY: Well, what we do know is that they hired John Podesta’s brother and Podesta Group to lobby for them from 2009 on. I think it’s not surprising that the White House is a little bit sensitive right now about HSBC. I mean, their attorney general nominee is up before Congress, and her nomination’s being held up over her handling of this matter.We don’t know what John Podesta’s connection to Credit Suisse really is while he was counselor. We do know that his brother Tony was hired by Credit Suisse, his lobbying firm, called Podesta Group, which John Podesta founded. But it may well be that John has no financial interest in that firm, and we do know only that Credit Suisse hired Podesta group in 2009, 2010.PERIES: Podesta Group that is now being run by his brother Tony Podesta.HENRY: As far as we know. And they have quite a few corporate clients. They have about $25 million a year of lobbying income. Credit Suisse has paid them about 1.4 million.But we really don’t want to get distracted by this Credit Suisse story. I mean, all of these Swiss Banks have lots of other channels of influence beside their particular lobbyists. Credit Suisse, HSBC, and UBS have spent $103 million in the last ten years on U.S. lobbying and political contributions. So they’re not without alternatives.

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PERIES: So, James, tell us how much of our tax dollars that we should be realizing in our public treasury to address many problems that we have is really squandered away by these offshore accounts.HENRY: Well, we’ve estimated at Tax Justice Network $21-$32 trillion offshore. About a third of that is from developing countries. That’s just financial assets owned by individuals. We assume that more than 95 percent of that is not being reported to the home authorities.In addition to that, there’s an enormous amount of corporate tax dodging that goes on using offshore havens, companies like Apple and Google and Microsoft parking intellectual property offshore. And if you add all this up, it’s at least a couple of billion dollars a year of tax revenue that should be paid to the home countries. How that’s distributed exactly between developing countries and the rich countries like the United States is something that needs more work. But it’s a big number. The United States estimate for quite a long time has been $100 billion per year of lost tax revenue due to the offshore segment.

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HSBC’s political committee goes dark in days before Swiss Leaks scandal

HSBC North America’s political action committee stopped donating money to U.S. politicians in the weeks before scandal rocked its worldwide operations, a new financial filing indicates.

The lack of activity immediately preceded revelations this month by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, that HSBC’s operation in Switzerland apparently assisted customers in hiding their money from tax authorities, while serving other clients with demonstrated connections to arms trafficking, conflict diamonds and bribery.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reporters first informed HSBC about the nature of its investigation in early January.

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