Daily Archives: April 6, 2016

Indonesia to Pursue U.S. Tech Firms on Taxes

Indonesia will chase back taxes from technology firms Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit, Twitter Inc. and Yahoo Inc. after allegedly finding proof that these companies have been avoiding corporate taxes for years in the country, a government official said.

Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro on Wednesday said that Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been incorporated in Indonesia since last week and now can be subjected to local taxes, after years running businesses as representative offices that enjoyed lower taxes than traditional corporations.

“These companies have been getting many businesses here, especially from advertising, and we are not sure that they’ve been paying the taxes correctly in accordance with the amount of businesses they’ve earned from Indonesia,” he said.

Facebook and Yahoo couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Google and Twitter declined to comment.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy aims to obtain “billions of dollars” in alleged back taxes and is ready to scuffle in a legal process that may take years to resolve, the Finance Minister said. Mr. Brodjonegoro said Indonesia is following the steps of fellow G-20 members such as the U.K., France and Italy in pursuing back taxes from U.S. technology companies.

Read on.

Hungry for ‘Donald Flakes’ and ‘Better Eat Your Bernies’?

 

Hungry for 'Donald Flakes' and 'Better Eat Your Bernies'?
Image credit: Miguel Dominguez
Introducing election cereal… Can’t wait to see when the cereal boxes for Cruz Loops, Kasich Krunch, and Clinton Corns come out.. lol!

Politics might not make for polite dinner conversation, but what about at breakfast? Enter the Kickstarter campaign to get two new cereals into production: Donald Flakes and Better Eat Your Bernies. Launched by Miguel Dominguez, Election Cereals promises to “Make cereal great again!”

We wondered: Is Miguel just milking this crazy election for laughs? Is his use of flakes a comment on our political system? To find out (and to stop ourselves from filling the entire day with terrible cereal puns), we spoon-fed him some questions.

Entrepreneur: When did the idea hit you?
Dominguez: I wanted to bring some comedic relief to the campaign trail. I thought about how fun and colorful the cereal boxes of our adolescence were compared to what you see on the shelves today and was thinking about how they used to develop cereal box concepts around celebrities and political figures. That’s when I realized that there was an opportunity to create something around both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who are two very interesting and dynamic characters.

Entrepreneur: What thinking went into the design?
Dominguez: We took both characters and conceptualized them as cartoonish figures and added games to the back of the box. With the Bernie box, we made references to some of the things he’s preaching as well as him being a Senator from Vermont. The Donald Box most prominently has him in a fight with the giant robot, which is meant to depict “the establishment.”

Entrepreneur: What does the cereal taste like?
Dominguez: Our corn flakes are the crispy and delicious golden flakes we remember from our childhood.

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Citigroup to Limit Executive Pay When Investor Returns Fall

Citigroup Inc.’s board changed the way the lender calculates performance pay for executives after receiving some complaints.

Executives can now earn more than 100 percent of their annual performance-based compensation only if shareholder returns are positive, the New York-based bank said Wednesday in a regulatory filing. The plan is designed to ensure executives don’t get bonuses that are bigger than those initially awarded if total shareholder returns fall over a three-year period. The changes are reflected in performance share units granted in February.

Citigroup “heard some concerns from other stakeholders regarding Citi’s new performance share unit” program after submitting its proxy last month, according to the filing. The board’s compensation committee “remains fully committed to a robust pay-for-performance executive-compensation program.”

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Banks continue to face investor backlash over pay policies blamed for rewarding behavior that helped cause the financial crisis. Citigroup overhauled its 2012 compensation plan after shareholders rejected the bank’s 2011 package amid complaints it allowed then-Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit to collect millions of dollars too easily.

One Of Ben Carson’s Craziest Ideas Is Coming True

The U.S. is the world’s hottest new tax haven.

Like the thing about the pyramids actually being grain silos, when Ben Carson revealed his plan to turn the U.S. into a tax haven, it was hard to take too seriously.

The idea was to slash U.S. tax rates so dramatically that America “become[s] a tax haven for people because it also becomes an opportunity haven for people,” Carson told CNBC last October.

Unfortunately, Carson, who left the race after winning just eight delegates and wondering aloud if his whole campaign had been an elaborate fraud he was never clued in on, was on to something.

In January, Bloomberg’s Jesse Drucker investigated the world’s hottest tax haven. “Some are calling it the new Switzerland,” he wrote. “The U.S.,” Drucker reported, “is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners. “

And on Thursday, the Financial Times’ John Dizard published a piece with the forthright headline “Fear and regulatory loathing makes America the top tax haven.”

How did the U.S. become the world’s latest, greatest place for corrupt government officials, plutocrats or anyone else who would just prefer a little less scrutiny from tax officials to stash money?

Perversely, the U.S. is tax haven because of years of work by American authorities to crack down on traditional tax havens. In 2010, the U.S. passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires banks abroad to report details about U.S. clients to American authorities. The U.S. carries enough global financial heft that the group that functions as a club for the world’s rich countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, put out standard rules for reporting and sharing account information, spurred in part by the act. Almost 100 countries have signed on to those rules, called the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). Except, crucially, the U.S. Why not? Blame Congress, Dizard says:

While the US administration and the Treasury declared themselves all in favour of adopting the CRS, they do not have the budget authorization or appropriation from Congress to spend anything to do so. Therefore, while Switzerland set a deadline of January 1 2017 as the “effective date” for starting CRS-based tax information sharing with the other 95 signatories, the US Internal Revenue Service will not give its “reciprocal” partners any information about the foreign beneficiaries of any “entities”, such as Nevada or South Dakota trusts.

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JPMorgan Chase Loses Foreclosure Case at Fourth DCA After 5 Debt Sales

A purchase and assumption agreement was not enough to prove JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.’s legal standing in a foreclosure case before the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

The bank filed suit as successor to defunct Washington Mutual Bank against homeowners Ottoniel and Luz Cruz, alleging it was the owner of a real estate debt that changed hands at least five times.

JPMorgan Chase purchased the debt in September 2008 from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. when WAMU was in receivership, but that deal was one in a string of transfers.

 

Lawsuits claim Wayne Co. keeps botching foreclosures

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Wayne County has foreclosed on more than 100,000 homes for taxes in past 10 years
  • County acknowledges problems with certified mailings warning of foreclosure
  • At least 18 homeowners suing over foreclosures

Wayne County is spending up to $18.6 million warning property owners they face tax foreclosure, but lawsuits allege the office is doing such a poor job that some owners aren’t aware they’ve lost homes until it’s too late.

The county foreclosed on Bernice and Ron King’s Westland home last year over a $3,000 unpaid tax bill. The couple said they didn’t realize they were in danger of losing their home until days before it was sold at auction, after a neighbor saw a man taking pictures in the driveway.

They’ve fought their foreclosure in court, arguing they didn’t get foreclosure notices and were making payments. Now, the couple faces possible eviction from the winning auction bidder.

“I don’t want to lose my home,” said Ron King, 57, whose lawsuit is before the Michigan Court of Appeals. “We are good people. We work every day.”

“I am going to lose my home that is paid for, for $3,000. It’s crazy. I am going nuts.”

The Wayne County treasurer’s office has processed more than 100,000 foreclosures in the last decade. State law requires officials to reach out to anyone with possible interest in the properties when it is headed to foreclosure — through first class and certified letters, newspaper notices and personal property visits, including posted notices if no one is home.

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Mexico tax authority investigates 33 people in ‘Panama Papers’ leak

Mexican authorities are investigating 33 people for possible tax evasion or financial crimes after the “Panama Papers” leak, tax chief Aristoteles Nunez said on Wednesday.

Nunez told Radio Formula that if their money came from legal means they would be forgiven if they pay their taxes, bring their money back to Mexico and invest in a business in Mexico for at least three years. He also said the tax authority had already been investigating 18 of the 33 before Sunday’s media reports based on leaked documents.

Governments around the globe have started to investigate possible financial wrongdoing after 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, nicknamed the “Panama Papers,” were leaked to a German newspaper and reports were published in cooperation with the U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

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Landmark PHH court battle against CFPB about to begin

PHH’s battle with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is about to head to the courtroom in what is one of the first cases of a business successfully challenging the bureau. But whether PHH will win its battle against the big guy is hard to say.

The mortgage lender fought back against the leadership at the CFPB, saying the bureau overstepped its authority when it imposed a penalty on PHH.

Both parties will meet before a panel of judges on April 12.

In advance of the hearing, the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. sent both parties a list of questions that they should be prepared to brief on, according to a note from Compass Point Research & Trading.

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Clinton Wrong About Wall Street Attacks

Fact Check website:

Hillary Clinton falsely claimed she is “the only candidate” in the presidential campaign “on either side” who has been attacked in advertising funded by “Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers.” Actually, several candidates have been the target of ads funded in part by those in the financial industry.

In fact, by Clinton’s logic, real estate developer Donald Trump seems to be the favorite target of “Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers” — not Clinton.

Clinton made her remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on April 3. Host Chuck Todd showed a video clip of Bernie Sanders urging Clinton to release the transcripts of her paid speeches to business groups. Asked for her response, Clinton said Sanders was “misrepresenting my record when it comes to being tough on Wall Street,” adding that Wall Street financiers oppose her candidacy.

Clinton, April 3: I’m the only candidate in the Democratic primary, or actually on either side, who Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers are actually running ads against.

That’s not remotely true.

The Clinton campaign referred us to an Oct. 28, 2015, USA Today news article about Future45, a super PAC that has received funding from well-known Republican donors. In the story, which is headlined “New Republican super PAC takes aim at Hillary Clinton,” USA Today‘s Fredreka Schouten wrote: “The super PAC has received financial support from Ken Griffin and Paul Singer, the billionaire founders of hedge funds, along with some members of TD Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts’ family.”

It’s true that Singer and Griffin have donated to Future45. It is also true that Future45 has spent about $500,000 on ads attacking Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ opensecrets.org.

But Singer and Griffin also gave to other outside groups that have spent millions on TV ads attacking Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

Singer, who gave $250,000 to Future45, donated $1 million to Our Principles PAC, an anti-Trump super PAC, and $5 million to Conservative Solutions PAC, which supported Marco Rubio, according to opensecrets.org. Our Principles has spent $14.8 million attacking Trump, while Conservative Solutions has run $16.7 million in attack ads against Trump, Cruz, Christie, Bush and Kasich.

Likewise, Kenneth Griffin has given $250,000 to Future45, but he also has given $5.1 million to Conservative Solutions, according to opensecrets.org.

And, of course, Singer and Griffin aren’t the only ones in the financial industry who contributed to outside groups seeking to influence the presidential election.

For example, Keep the Promise I — a pro-Cruz super PAC — was formed with an $11 million donation from Robert Mercer, the co-chief executive officer of Renaissance Technologies, a $25 billion private hedge fund firm. Keep the Promise I has spent nearly $9.5 million on ads, including $2.2 million against Marco Rubio and about $900,000 against Trump. By contrast, the group spent just $80,000 against Clinton.

Who’s the top target of “Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers”? It appears to be Trump, by a landslide.

Milford man sues Citigroup over 2013 firing

Abdul Jaludi says banking giant terminated him because he was a whistleblower

A longtime Milford resident described by some as the Michael Jordan of data center operations at Citigroup is suing the banking industry giant alleging that the company fired him for uncovering fraudulent activity that could have cost loyal customers untold millions of dollars.

Abdul Jaludi, who was employed at the bank for 26 years until his termination in 2013, alleges in court documents filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, that Citigroup — through its managers, executives and attorneys — engaged in discrimination, humiliation, harassment and constructive discharge in retaliation for blowing the whistle to government agencies on repeated Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority violations.

“Citigroup began hiding system problems that were affecting large numbers of customers and large dollar amounts from federal regulators,” said Jaludi, whose lived in Milford for 23 years. “At the time, my team was responsible for making sure these problems were fixed properly and didn’t occur again.”

During his more than two-decade career at the company, Jaludi said he was able to work his way up to manager of the North America Event Management Team at Citigroup, overseeing problem management — or EMS — ticket issues.

He said EMS tickets would be produced in order to alert personnel to issues. In certain instances, the tickets were being deleted, reclassified or not being created at all.

Those tickets included failures by Citigroup to post hundreds of millions in deposits to customer accounts within the regulatory requirements, he said.

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