Daily Archives: September 9, 2015

BREAKING: House GOP Can Sue Over ACA Spending, Judge Says

And forgot the part of this lawsuit, that the taxpayers are paying for it…

Law360, New York (September 9, 2015, 4:33 PM ET) — The GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has legal standing to sue the Obama administration over allegedly improper implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a D.C. federal judge said in an eagerly awaited ruling on Wednesday.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer keeps alive a politically explosive lawsuit filed by the House, which is accusing the administration of improperly distributing billions of dollars in ACA subsidies without a valid appropriation from Congress.

“If its nonappropriation claims have merit … the House has been injured in…

Source: Law360

Exclusive: Credit Agricole may pay about $900 million in U.S. sanctions probes – source

France’s Credit Agricole SA (>> CREDIT AGRICOLE) is nearing an agreement to pay about $900 million to resolve investigations into whether it illegally moved funds through the United States for blacklisted individuals and countries such as Sudan and Iran, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Talks are ongoing and the total penalty, negotiated by multiple U.S. agencies, could change. A second source described the current settlement as in the “high hundreds of millions” and suggested it could reach a $1 billion.

The bank, France’s third-largest listed lender, is expected to reach an accord as soon as this month, the two people said.

Read on.

Libor Is The Worst Antitrust Decision On The Books

Law360, New York (September 8, 2015, 10:32 AM ET) — I have read the briefs, and my initial assessment has been confirmed: U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald’s infamous decision in the Libor price-fixing cases must be overruled, or else antitrust no longer means anything.

In these cases, the plaintiffs alleged that a number of a major banks that compete against one another acted in concert to manipulate the Libor index, which they used to set the effective prices of derivative contracts that they sold to the plaintiffs and others. By so acting, the colluding banks raised..

Source: Law360

Key U.S. official in Libor probe joins law firm – source

William Stellmach, a U.S. Justice Department official who played a leading role in the Libor manipulation investigation, has joined the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Stellmach, 42, worked in the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section for five years, rising to acting chief last year before Andrew Weissman was named to the post.

Read on.

Fired Citigroup Trader Points Finger at His London Bosses

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  • Managers deliberately flouted rules for profit, ex-trader says
  • Perry Stimpson makes allegations at unfair-dismissal trial

A Citigroup Inc. trader fired amid a global probe into foreign-exchange rigging alleged that improper conduct was endemic in the bank’s currency-trading activities, ranging from front-running to disclosing client orders to competitors in a bid to boost the company’s own positions.

Perry Stimpson, who is suing the bank for unfair dismissal, said at a London employment tribunal Wednesday that he saw managers deliberately flout the bank’s own code of conduct. He also said he was pressured by senior staff into using electronic chat rooms to share information with traders at other banks.

“My dismissal was down to an error of judgment” he said, adding that he neither sought nor made any financial gain. “I will show where senior management have deliberately flouted the code to the detriment of customers and the benefit of the bank,” he said.

Read on.

Online Mortgage Lenders Are Beating Traditional Bank Loans

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Traditional bank mortgages are losing ground to nonbank lenders, especially in cities with a hot housing market.

Seth James Ellis, 33, and his husband, Jared Ellis, 32, along with a third investor turned to Social Finance, Inc., a San Francisco-based online lender, for a jumbo mortgage to purchase a $1.1 million, three-bedroom duplex in Berkeley, Calif.

”We didn’t expect to get this house, ” said Seth James Ellis, who works as a fundraiser in the Bay Area. “The emotional feeling in this market is that you’re never going to get the house that you want, because someone is going to come in with a higher cash offer.”

Non-traditional, non-bank lenders, such as SoFi as the online lender is commonly called, offer less conventional underwriting for residential mortgages and typically a shorter period to close because of the design of the loans, mortgage experts say.

Read on.

CFTC probes JPMorgan for alleged client steering: WSJ

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating whether JPMorgan Chase is steering its private-banking clients to its own hedge-fund investment products without proper disclosures, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the probe.

The CFTC probe includes Highbridge Capital Management, an investment firm owned by J.P. Morgan, the Journal said.

CFTC is investigating why large proportions of Highbridge’s assets are coming from J.P. Morgan’s private-bank assets and if this factor helped Highbridge stabilize during the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the probe.

Read on.

Bill to Ban Fine Write-Offs Fails in CA Senate

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – PG&E can write off the historic $1.6 billion fine for the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion after a bill that would have required the utility pay full taxes was nixed in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 681 missed the required two-thirds margin, failing 25-14 in a Senate floor vote last Thursday due to a lack of Republican support. The bill requiring PG&E to pay full taxes on its record fine, issued in April by the California Public Utilities Commission, did not receive a single Republican vote and missed passage by two votes.
The bill proposed by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who represents the district where the explosion that killed 38 people took place, would have prohibited gas companies from claiming tax deductions on fines issued by the CPUC.
Hill implored the 14 Republican senators to hold PG&E and other gas companies liable for penalties and “find their moral compass.”
“I didn’t think we lived in a state that condoned writing off manslaughter,” Hill testified.

Read on.

Bank of America Continues to Push Investors to Support Dual Roles for Moynihan

4traders:

Bank of America Corp. continued to push shareholders Wednesday to support a bylaw amendment that allows Chief Executive Brian Moynihan to serve in the dual role of chairman.

Shareholders are slated to vote on the matter on Sept. 22.

In a presentation included in a regulatory filing, the bank said the proposed amendment provides the “same flexibility” found in the leadership structure of nearly all S&P 500 companies.

Activist institutional investors and major proxy advisers have lined up to protest the way the board named Mr. Moynihan chairman, arguing it overstepped its authority and needs to work to regain shareholder trust.

That appointment reversed a bylaw that was approved by shareholders in 2009 requiring the positions of CEO and chairman to be held by different people.

Jeb Bush Follows Trump On Ending Wall Street Tax Break

Jeb Bush is copying Donald Trump — and Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama.

Bush will present a tax plan on Wednesday that curbs a lucrative perk for hedge fund managers and private equity magnates — a proposals that mirrors those of his top rivals in the 2016 presidential election.

The plan, outlined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed distributed to reporters Tuesday night, is short on details. But one of the few concrete terms would eliminate the carried interest loophole, which allows wealthy fund managers to avoid billions of dollars in taxes by treating their income as capital gains rather than as salaries. Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than regular income, resulting in a massive tax break for many financiers.

The first hints of Bush’s move came in a March Politico story, but the candidate was too slow to announce publicly what he seemed to be mulling in private: Two weeks ago, Trump came out swinging against the carried interest loophole, using far more vitriolic language than the former Florida governor did in his opaque op-ed.

In July, Clinton said she’d close the loophole (with a big carve-out for venture capitalists).

Read on.