Daily Archives: March 29, 2016

HSBC Struggles to Bring Money-Laundering Vigilance Up to Snuff

The monitor overseeing HSBC’s compliance with a landmark anti-money-laundering settlement has uncovered a range of potential lapses that included the sale of miniskirts to Iran, candy to Syria and the opening of an account by a man in Mexico who had thousands of dollars of cash in a bag, according to a person familiar with the monitor’s findings.

In 2012, HSBC Holdings PLC agreed to pay a then-record $1.9 billion to the U.S. Justice Department to settle allegations it failed to spot the laundered proceeds of drug trafficking in Mexico and failed to flag transactions with countries subject to economic sanctions, such as Iran. The monitor’s findings, which date from 2015, suggest that despite three years of efforts to bring compliance systems up to U.S. standards, HSBC is still struggling to meet the terms of the deal.

According to HSBC’s annual report released in February, the monitor found progress but expressed “significant concerns” about “instances of potential financial crime” and whether HSBC is on track to meet the settlement’s terms. The annual report didn’t include any details of lapses. In a few days, a summary of the monitor’s findings for 2015 will be filed in federal court, which also will likely be stripped of specifics.

HSBC’s 2012 agreement with the government included a five-year deferred-prosecution agreement and a demand that HSBC bring its compliance up to snuff and hire a monitor to check its efforts.

After that point, the Justice Department will decide whether the bank has fulfilled the terms or whether, instead, a prosecution of the bank should proceed. Another path for the DOJ would be to extend the monitoring. Under the most severe scenario, its U.S. banking license could be at risk.

Stuart Levey, chief legal officer of the London-based bank, declined to comment about specific allegations but said the bank does continuously come across things that are problems. He said HSBC is determined to meet the settlement terms. “It’s as high a priority as anything in the bank, and we’re making the progress that we need to make,” he said. HSBC doesn’t believe it will be end up being prosecuted after 2017, people familiar with the bank said.

The monitor, Michael Cherkasky, declined to comment, as did the Justice Department.

Read on.

FBI Reveals New Details About Its Probe Into Hillary Clinton’s Use of Private Email Server

 

 

Vice News:

By Jason Leopold

March 26, 2016 | 6:05 am

The FBI submitted a classified declaration to a federal court judge late Friday explaining details about the bureau’s “pending investigation” into the use of a private email server by Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The declaration addresses why the FBI can’t publicly release any records about its probe in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by VICE News.

In a separate public declaration, David Hardy, the chief of the FBI’s FOIA office, said there are a number of documents exchanged between the FBI and the State Department relating to the FBI’s ongoing investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server, which stored all of the official government emails Clinton sent and received during her tenure as Secretary of State. But the FBI, which consulted with attorneys within its Office of General Counsel “who are providing legal support to the pending investigation,” cannot divulge any of them without “adversely affecting” the integrity of its investigation.

Some of the documents at issue concern “server equipment and related devices obtained from former Secretary Clinton,” Hardy said. The documents “consist of memoranda from the FBI to the Department of State regarding evidence. The purpose of these communications with the Department of State was to solicit assistance in furtherance of the FBI’s investigation.”

VICE News sought a wide-range of records from the FBI last December related to Clinton’s private email server. Specifically, we asked the FBI for any emails and other documents retrieved from her server, thumb drive, and any other electronic equipment that has not been publicly disclosed; any correspondence and other documents between the FBI and Clinton or her representatives; correspondence between the FBI and the State Department about Clinton’s server; and any documents memorializing authorizations granted to the FBI to disclose to the media what the bureau seized from her server. In his declaration, Hardy said the FBI does not have any documents showing that the bureau communicated with Clinton or her aides nor does the FBI have any records about disclosures to the media. The FBI has asked US District Court Judge Randolph Moss to dismiss VICE News’ FOIA lawsuit on grounds that the documents it does have about Clinton’s private email server are located in files pertaining to a pending investigation that is exempt from disclosure because their release would interfere with active law enforcement proceedings.

“Materials that were retrieved from any server equipment and related devices obtained from former Secretary Clinton for the investigation, which would be responsive to [VICE News’ FOIA request], are potential evidence in the FBI’s investigation, or may provide leads to or context for potential evidence,” Hardy wrote. “As this is an active and ongoing investigation, the FBI is continuing to assess the evidentiary value of any materials retrieved for the investigation from any such server equipment/related devices. Disclosure of evidence, potential evidence, or information that has not yet been assessed for evidentiary value while the investigation is active and ongoing could reasonably be expected to undermine the pending investigation by prematurely revealing its scope and focus.”

Hardy noted that the FBI’s probe was launched after the bureau received a referral from inspectors general of the State Department and the intelligence community about Clinton’s use of a private email server. FBI Director James Comey acknowledged during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last October that the FBI received a “security referral” from the watchdogs. But beyond that, “the FBI has not and cannot publicly acknowledge the specific focus, scope, or potential targets of any such investigation.”

Earlier this month, the Washington Post cited a senior law enforcement official when itreported that the Department of Justice granted immunity to Bryan Pagliano, a former State Department staffer who worked on Clinton’s private email server, “as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information.”

Donald Trump’s Own Surveillance Camera Proves His Campaign Manager Lied About Grabbing Reporter

The Intercept:

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with battery by the police in Jupiter, Florida on Tuesday, for grabbing the arm of a reporter and pulling her away from the candidate earlier this month.

Although Lewandowski had previously denied touching the reporter, Michelle Fields, video released by the Jupiter Police Department following his arrest showed that the incident was captured by a surveillance camera at the Trump National Golf Club on March 8.

According to the police report, the investigating officer, Marc Bujnowski, obtained the footage “from Trump Security at Trump National in Jupiter” on March 12, one day after Fields filed a complaint.

The origin of the video is important since it shows that when Trump told CNN two days after the incident that the reporter was lying — “perhaps she made the story up, I think that’s what happened” — his own golf club possessed evidence proving that was false.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: County part of $8.5 million privacy lawsuit settlement with Wells Fargo

Riverside County will get about $1.3 million in a privacy lawsuit settlement with Wells Fargo that involves four other counties and the state’s attorney general’s.

As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo will pay $8 million to Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura and Alameda counties as well as the California Attorney General office.

The suit alleged that the bank failed disclose that calls between bank representatives and customers were being recorded, according to a news release from the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.

In California, each person included in a conversation has to be told that a call is being recorded so he or she has a chance to object to.

A total of $7.6 million will be awarded in civil penalties and Riverside County will get $64,000 of the $384,000 awarded in investigative costs, according to the release.

Riverside County’s share of the penalties will go toward groups that deal with privacy rights and consumer protection, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Elise Farrell.

“Hopefully because Wells Fargo is such a large company that other companies that may not be in compliance with California laws will be compliant,” Farrell said.

Read on.

Ex-Rabobank Trader Appeals Sentence To 2nd Circ.

 

 

Law360, New York (March 29, 2016, 2:18 PM ET) — Former Rabobank trader Anthony Conti, who was sentenced to a year and a day in prison earlier this month after a jury found him guilty of rigging Libor rates, appealed his conviction and sentence to the Second Circuit on Monday.

Conti and Anthony Allen, Rabobank’s former global head of liquidity and finance, were both sentenced on March 10 after they were found guilty in November of conspiracy and wire fraud for their roles in manipulating Libor rates, a global benchmark that underpins trillions of dollars in…

Source: Law360

Meet Tim Canova, served on Sanders’advisory committee for Federal Reserve to challenge Rep. Wasserman-Schultz’s seat

Tim Canova Presidential candidate website:

Tim Canova has been challenging Wall Street banks and political corruption for most of his adult life.

As an activist, attorney, educator, and frequent commentator on the rigged economic and political systems that put Wall Street and multinational corporations first while leaving ordinary Americans behind, Tim is uniquely positioned to shake up Congress.

 

“If elected this fall, he would instantly become the strongest advocate in Congress for a people’s Fed.”

Born and raised on Long Island in Merrick, New York, Tim had strong family ties to South Florida before moving to the Sunshine State in the mid-1990s. He is from an immigrant half Italian Catholic, half Jewish family, which taught him the traditional values of honesty and hard work. Tim ran cross-country and track in high school and college, including on his high school varsity state championship cross-country team. As a teenager and young man, he worked in a wide variety of manual labor jobs, from delivering newspapers and cutting lawns to pumping gas, painting houses, loading trucks in a plastics factory, and picking avocados on a kibbutz in northern Israel. 

Tim attended public schools K-12, completed his undergraduate studies in government and economics at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, earned a law degree, with honors, at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., and was a Swedish Institute Visiting Scholar at the University of Stockholm.

 

As a legislative aide to the late U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas (Democrat, Massachusetts), Tim worked on a range of regulatory and human rights issues. While working on Capitol Hill, Tim began warning about the rise of Wall Street special interests and the assault on working families. In the early 1980s, he wrote critically about the deregulation of interest rates and lending standards and the rise of subprime and predatory lending. These practices would eventually have a devastating effect on the people of Florida when real estate markets crashed in 2008. To this day, Florida still has the highest rate of foreclosure in the country, with over 300,000 open foreclosure cases in state courts.

In the 1990s, while an associate attorney at a prominent law firm and then as a visiting professor at the University of Miami, Tim opposed efforts to weaken the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act firewalls that had separated commercial banking from the risky securities markets. He also cautioned about the rise of complex derivative financial instruments that were turning the United States into a “casino” economy. In the early 2000s, Tim warned about the growing bubble in housing prices and called for increased supervision of Wall Street banks and financial markets. He was one of the few law professors in the country who consistently opposed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, including a 1996 op-ed in the New York Times opposing Greenspan’s reappointment.

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In 2011, Tim took part in the Occupy Wall Street movement, teaching a workshop on the Federal Reserve at the Occupy Los Angeles encampment. At that time, he was also selected by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to serve on an advisory committee on Federal Reserve reform along with such leading economists as James Galbraith, Robert Reich, Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

And here were the top economists on Sen. Sanders’ advisory committee on Federal Reserve in 2011. From Senator Sanders’ website:

Sanders’ panel of experts includes:

  • Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize. The economics professor at Columbia University is a former chief economist for the World Bank.
  • Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute and an economics professor at Columbia University. He also is special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
  • Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He also served on President-Elect Obama’s transition advisory board. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the ten most successful cabinet secretaries of the century.
  • James K. Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. Galbraith served in several positions on the staff of the U.S. Congress, including Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee.
  • Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, the premier research organization focused on U.S. living standards and labor markets.
  • William Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He worked with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
  • Nomi Prins, a senior fellow at Demos, was a managing director at Goldman Sachs, a senior manager at Bear Stearns in London, a senior strategist at Lehman Brothers, and an analyst at the Chase Manhattan Bank (now JPM Chase)
  • William Greider, author of Secretsof the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country, a monumental account of how the American central bank, cloistered and protected from public accountability, exercises its control over the US economy – workers, consumers, investors.
  • Jane D’Arista, an Economic Policy Institute research associate, has written on the history of U.S. monetary policy and financial regulation, The former Boston University School of Law professor previously served as a staff economist for Congress.
  • Tim Canova, professor of economic law and co-director of the Center for Global Law & Development at the Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif. He was an early critic of financial deregulation and warned of the dangers of the bubble economy.
  • Robert Johnson, senior fellow and director of the Project on Global Finance at the Roosevelt Institute. He was chief economist of the Senate Banking Committee and a senior economist for the Senate Budget Committee.
  • Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He was a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a consultant for the World Bank and the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress.
  • Gerald Epstein, chair of the economics department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Epstein also is the co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute.
  • Robert Auerbach, professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs with the University of Texas at Austin. Auerbach was an economist with the House banking committee during the tenure of four Federal Reserve Chairmen: Arthur Burns, William Miller, Paul Volcker, and Alan Greenspan. Auerbach also served as an economist in the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Domestic Monetary Affairs during the first year of the Ronald Reagan administration and as a financial economist with the U.S. Federal Reserve System.
  • Roger Hickey, Co-Director of the Campaign for America’s Future. In the late 1980s he and Jeff Faux created the Economic Policy Institute.
  • Robert L. Borosage is the founder and president of the Institute for America’s Future and co-director of its sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future.
  • Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute and economics professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He has worked with the Joint Economic Committee and the U.S. Competitiveness Policy Council.
  • L. Randall Wray, a professor of economics and research director of the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute.
  • Stephanie Kelton, associate professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a research scholar at the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability.

 

By the way, Florida Democratic Party had denied Mr. Canova access to voter data. Well, thanks to pressure from the Progressive activists, Florida Democratic Party reversed their decision:

 

The Media Is an Arm of the Ruling Class of This Country

2016-03-28-1459206558-8333256-mediaownership

The Media Vs. the People

The ruling class of this country not only controls our political and economic systems, but also the mainstream media and in effect, the news that we consume.

Did you know that The Walt Disney Company owns ABC?

How about Time Warner? Did you know it owns CNN and Time Magazine?

Did you know that News Corp owns Fox, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post? Did you know Comcast and GE own MSNBC, NBC News and CNBC?

What about this news source, here? Did you know Verizon, which now owns AOL, owns The Huffington Post? Did you know most people don’t know any of this?

As Bernie Sanders said in an interview on The Young Turks, “The media is an arm of the ruling class of this country.” We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.

Sanders continued, “I think what you have is a corporate media, which by definition has conflicts of interest.” He went on to explain that companies like Disney pay their workers in Disney World $8 or $9 an hour. The terrifying reality is that these same companies own ABC and other major news outlets. No wonder you don’t see ABC or MSNBC running specials on the minimum wage or wealth and income inequality.

If the mainstream media began covering our nation’s asymmetrical distribution of wealth, if our electorate became more informed about the disintegration of the middleclass, maybe, just maybe, people would rise up and demand real change. That’s a notion that absolutely horrifies the executives of Comcast and Disney.

Ask yourself, why isn’t there more climate change coverage? Why doesn’t CNN spend more time talking about overturning Citizens United? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the corporate media collect huge sums of advertising money from the fossil fuel industry and the super PACs that only exist because of Citizens United?

Do the media executives behind the scenes (and TV screens) want to destroy our planet? Do they support billionaires buying elections? Do they like watching laborers in Disney World work longer hours for lower wages while their companies’ profits skyrocket?

Chances are, these executives are mothers and fathers. Chances are, they do care about the American people. They just care much, much more about their profits.

Read on.