Daily Archives: March 18, 2016

Green Party presidential candidate offers ‘collaboration’ with Bernie Sanders

Facing a mathematically improbable path to victory, Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders needs all the support he can get, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein has an offer that would be unprecedented if accepted.


Stein is running for president just like Sanders is, but their “shared goals” could be enough for them to work together, the Green Party candidate tweeted on Wednesday.


“The Democratic Party is democratic in name only – superdelegates anyone?” Stein tweeted earlier in the day.

Therein lies the rub for many progressives enthusiastically supporting Sanders. The self-described democratic-socialist lost to Clinton in four out of five state primaries on Tuesday, and although Sanders expects to do better in upcoming contests, the delegate count – and more consequentially, the superdelegate count – is piling up in Clinton’s favor.

Read on.


5 hilarious emails from frustrated Wall Street investors



Carter Braxton Worth, a Cornerstone Macro technical analyst, has been getting an earful, or maybe more like an inbox full, from his clients and other contacts.
He shared on Friday what he describes as “colorful” emails in a “Mailbag Edition” note. Worth cut out each sender’s name, but left the time stamp.

Below are five particularly entertaining emails that Worth said he received recently. After you read them, you may think, “No wonder Jack Bogle and Warren Buffett advise not watching the market too closely.”

1. “In tears … maddening”

2. “Next beating soon enough”

3. The father-in-law indicator

4. “Utter despair”
5. “Off my meds”


Priest who sidelines as a hedge-fund manager, trades probed by Wall Street cop

  • SEC examining whether he spread false statements about stocks
  • Rules bar investors from profiting on misleading comments

A priest who sidelines as a hedge-fund manager is being investigated by U.S. regulators for possible stock manipulation, prompting scrutiny of trading skills that the cleric has described as a “gift from God,” according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether the Reverend Emmanuel Lemelson of Massachusetts made false statements about companies he was shorting, said the people who asked not to be named because the probe isn’t public. Securities laws prohibit traders from betting a company’s shares will fall and then trying to drive down the price by publishing information that they know isn’t true.

The SEC started its investigation after companies complained to the regulator that Lemelson, 39, had made potentially inaccurate comments about their firms in public forums, the people said. The opening of an SEC probe is typically a preliminary step and doesn’t mean Lemelson, who hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, will ever face an enforcement action.Read on.


Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase May Be Too Big To Break Up

Shareholders will decide one of the biggest political talking points.

At least by the rhetoric, it seems clear that politicians believe they can get a lot of votes claiming the big banks are “too big to fail.” The question is whether the claim will get a lot of votes among the bank’s shareholders.

This year, at their annual meetings, shareholders of both J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup will have the opportunity to vote later this year on whether the banking giants should break up into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Spurred by proposals by Bartlett Naylor, a financial policy advocate at the activist organization Public Citizen and a shareholder in both companies, the votes are not a hard break-up-immediately decision, but rather a referendum on whether to form committees to look into the viability of splitting the companies up.

Naylor worries that the large size of the banks hampers their stock values, and claims that by breaking up, the banks will be protecting investors by compartmentalizing risk.

“Our concern… is that a mega-bank such as Citigroup may not simply be ‘too big to fail,’ but also ‘too big to manage’ effectively so as to contain risks that can spread across Citi’s business segments,” Naylor wrote in his proposal in Citigroup’s proxy statement released Wednesday. “Many smaller banks have proven far better investments. Just as in the 2008 crash, shareholders will suffer in the next crash at Citi.”

Read on.

Fired FX Trader Uses the `S’ Word (Scapegoat) in Citigroup Case

A fired Citigroup Inc. currency trader joined a growing list of former bank employees who claim their bosses made them scapegoats for market-manipulation scandals that led to billions of dollars in fines.

Robert Hoodless, 40, said while giving evidence to a London employment tribunal that he and the other traders on his desk shared information with rivals “to meet the expectation of our own managers.”

I was “used as a scapegoat rather than being judged fairly and consistently with previous disciplinary sanctions,” Hoodless said in written statement filed to the court. “The severity of my punishment has been influenced by the desire of senior management to demonstrate a change in culture at the bank” to regulators.

Banks have paid $10 billion in fines after investigations into foreign-exchange market manipulation. Panicked by regulatory probes, firms ignored employment law and were too quick to fire traders, according to three rulings published so far. That would usually mean sympathy and a big payday for the victims. So far, judges say, no one deserves it.

Read on.

Tobacco giant gave $250,000 to group representing black-owned newspapers

After National Newspaper Publishers Association President Benjamin Chavis Jr. visited Reynolds American’s headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., he left impressed — and with hopes of big money from the tobacco giant.

Ultimately, Reynolds American last year gave $250,000 to the organization, which from its Washington, D.C., headquarters represents the interests of more than 200 African-American-owned community newspapers across the nation.

The donation — listed in a new Reynolds American corporate governance document reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity — represented the largest contribution Reynolds American made in 2015 to nearly three-dozen nonprofit organizations, many of which are politically active and typically keep their funders secret.

Other small, but notable Reynolds Americans’ contributions in 2015 helped Americans for Prosperity, a “social welfare” nonprofit connected to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, and Americans for Tax Reform, led by anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist.

During the 2014 midterms, Americans for Prosperity spent more than $2.35 million advocating against mostly Democratic U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. During the 2012 election, it spent more than $33.5 million in a bid to deny President Barack Obama re-election.

Read on.

How a For-Profit College Targeted the Homeless and Kids With Low Self-Esteem

Perhaps you remember Corinthian Colleges. It was the country’s second largest chain of for-profit colleges, before it collapsed into bankruptcy last year amid evidence of phony marketing and predatory loans.

The shenanigans brought investigations from more than 20 state attorneys general and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

But the actual emails and testimony underlying the allegations haven’t been public. Until now.

Earlier this week, California’s Attorney General quietly filed thousands of pages of documents and testimony as part of an ongoing lawsuit against Corinthian. We trudged through them and, well, just read the upshots.

Corinthian recruited homeless students and then helped them get federal loans they couldn’t pay back.

Hollie Harsh testified that she and her fiancé Brian French were homeless and living in a tent on vacant land in Northern California when they toured one of Corinthian’s campuses. They told a recruiter they were homeless and unemployed. Despite that, the recruiter enrolled both of them that day, promising strong future job prospects. They took on thousands in federal loans that, given their circumstances, would be difficult to pay back.

The day before classes started, Harsh and French moved their tent to an empty lot across the street from campus. They were kicked off the lot by a deputy sheriff two weeks later, so they moved the tent to the school’s grounds instead, with the knowledge of the campus president. Harsh’s testimony describes tough times:

After a few quarters, Harsh realized that her Corinthian education would never lead to a job or help her start a business, so she dropped out of the program, owing more than $15,000 in debt.

Court Rejects Lehman Employees’ Appeal Against Ex-CEO

A U.S. appellate court on Friday ruled Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s former chief executive isn’t accountable for squandering employees’ retirement savings on stock that was rendered worthless when the investment bank collapsed into bankruptcy.

A three-judge panel of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York affirmed the decision by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against former CEO Richard Fuld and other retirement plan directors filed by former Lehman employees, who saw hundreds of millions of dollars in retirement savings disappear when the bank filed for bankruptcy.

The former employees, who sued Mr. Fuld and the other directors under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, failed to convince the appellate panel despite a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving Fifth Third Bancorp that made it easier for employees to pursue lawsuits against directors over losses to retirement plans containing shares of a company’s own stock.

“We agree with the District Court that, even without the presumption of prudence rejected in Fifth Third, Plaintiffs have failed to plead plausibly that the Plan Committee Defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA by failing to recognize the imminence of Lehman’s collapse,” the court ruled in a 14-page decision.

Read on.

UK prosecutors granted arrest warrants for Euribor Five

British prosecutors have been granted warrants for the arrest of four Germans and a Frenchman they want to bring to London to face charges of conspiracy to rig Euribor benchmark interest rates.

The move sets the scene for a high-profile extradition battle at a time when critics are again questioning the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) ability to tackle white collar crime.

James Waddington, a lawyer for the SFO, told Southwark Crown Court on Friday that lawyers for four former Deutsche Bank colleagues; Kai-Uwe Kappauf, Joerg Vogt, Andreas Hauschild and Ardalan Gharagozlou and former Societe Generale (>> SOCIETE GENERALE)trader Stephane Esper had been informed about the European Arrest Warrants, which were granted by Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Lawyers for Vogt and Hauschild declined to comment. Lawyers for Kappauf and Gharagozlou did not respond to requests for comment. Esper did not respond to a telephone call. Deutsche Bank, which still employs Hauschild, declined to comment. SocGen did not respond to a request for comment.

Read on.

Banks face tighter rules to restore faith in Libor

Banks must follow tighter rules in the setting of Libor to fully restore confidence in the interest rate benchmark tarnished by attempted rigging, the body appointed to oversee it said.

The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, reflects the daily cost of borrowing among banks and is used to price home loans, credit cards and other financial transactions worth more than $350 trillion globally.

Banks have been fined $20 billion for trying to manipulate the rate, and several quick fixes adopted such as appointing ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange Inc, as an independent administrator for Libor and auditing submissions from banks.

On Friday the IBA published a “roadmap” for making Libor more robust at a time when the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve are pursuing alternatives.

Read on.