Daily Archives: April 19, 2016

Donald Trump Is Mysteriously Quiet On Hedge Funds All Of A Sudden

And what is now Donald’s stance on Wall Street since there is a New York primary today?….Silence…

Huffington Post:

NEW YORK — Donald Trump was full of bluster and vitriol when he talked about the financial industry eight months ago. He accused hedge funds of using the tax code to “[get] away with murder.”

Trump’s bare-bones tax plan called for eliminating the carried interest loophole, which lowers the taxes of super-rich private equity investors by billions of dollars a year.

“They’re paying nothing. And it’s ridiculous,” Trump said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” in August. “Half of them, look, they’re energetic, they’re very smart, but a lot of them, it’s like they’re paper pushers. They make a fortune, they pay no tax. It’s ridiculous, OK?”

But as Trump turned to campaigning in the center of the financial world leading up to the New York primary, his anti-Wall Street rhetoric all but ceased.

The shift is “a crass political calculation based on the industries that are in and around New York City,” Rick Tyler, a former spokesman for rival candidate Ted Cruz, told HuffPost.

“He can’t be in midtown Manhattan launching attacks on hedge funds and not expect that to have a negative effect on him,” said Doug Heye, the former head of communications for the Republican National Committee.

Trump’s silence could also be financially savvy.

Longer-term, he might not be able to afford to impugn Wall Street. The GOP front-runner says he self-funding his campaign, but everything from the “donate” button on his campaign website to his fundraising filings with the Federal Election Commission show this isn’t entirely true. Most of his personal wealth is illiquid — locked up in real estate and business ventures — so even if he wanted to fund his campaign all by himself, it’d be tough.

Alabama Senator Shelby calls for Fannie, Freddie investigation

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby called on the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget office to investigate the practices of the Federal Housing Agency as well as the government-sponsored enterprises it is over, according to an article by Ryan Rainey for Morning Consult.

Shelby issued a letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, leader of the GAO, asking for specific assessment of how the FHFA’s practices influence markets, according to the article. He also requested a study of possible outcomes from aspects of housing finance reform.

From the article:

“Congress has a responsibility to conduct proper oversight over both the FHFA and the GSEs,” the Alabama Republican said in a statement. “It is my hope that GAO and CBO will provide the Committee with meaningful data regarding the market impact of FHFA’s decisions to ensure that Congress takes steps to protect American taxpayers from risk.”

Former Lehman Bros. exec claims to be victim of $2M real estate phishing scam

A former managing director at Lehman Brothers claims that his real estate attorney’s email address was hacked last year, leading to the theft of nearly $2 million that was earmarked as the deposit for a $20 million apartment in Manhattan, the New York Post reported this week.

According to the New York Post report, Robert Millard, a former Lehman Brothers executive and current head of the private investment firm Realm Partners, and his wife worked with a Long Island lawyer, Patricia Doran, last year on the purchase of a sizable apartment in Manhattan.

Read on.

INM chiefs linked to Panama Papers firm

The chairman of Independent News & Media, Leslie Buckley, and non-executive director Paul Connolly were both shareholders and directors of offshore companies associated with the Mossack Fonseca law firm, the leaked Panama Papers show.

Mr Buckley and his wife Carmel were directors and shareholders of Zelia Ltd, a company incorporated in the tiny Pacific tax haven of Niue in June 1996, and were directors of Ronver Ltd, of the Bahamas, a company incorporated in July 1996.

Zelia registered for business purposes in the Isle of Man in 2004, where its affairs were administered by Walbrook Trustees (Isle of Man). AccountantsCharles Vanderpump and Nicholas Williamson, of Walbrook, were appointed directors. It was removed from the register in 2007.

Ronver registered in the Isle of Man in 2001 and the same two accountants from Walbrook Trustees became directors. It was dissolved in 2004.

Mr Connolly is the owner of Lynsdale Investments Ltd, which was incorporated in the Bahamas in 1995. All three offshore companies are described as investment companies in the leaked Mossack files.

Read on.

Offshore assets belong to Nigerian Senate president, not wife

The head of the Nigeria Senate is accused of failing to declare his property and operating foreign accounts while in public office.

Toyin Ojora-Saraki, the wife of the president of the Nigerian Senate, is a business front for her husband, Bukola Saraki.

According to documents retrieved from the Mossack Fonseca database, the assets in her name in tax havens are held in trust for Bukola, Nigeria’s third most powerful official.

Initial analysis of the leaks suggested that Saraki failed to disclose four assets found to be in his wife’s name offshore, in violation of Nigeria’s code of conduct law.

In his response to the leaks, Saraki said the assets belonged to the estate of his wife’s family, and that the law did not mandate him to declare such a category of assets.

But documents suggest that the assets are Bukola’s.

Sandon Development
One of the companies in Toyin’s name is Sandon Development, a vehicle used to buy a property on 8 Whittaker Street, Belgravia, London, in 2012. Another shareholder listed for that company is Babatunde Morakinyo, a long-term personal aide and friend of Bukola’s.

But fresh evidence suggests that Toyin and Morakinyo were fronts, nominee directors holding assets in trust for the Nigerian Senate president Bukola.

Read on.

Matt Taibbi: Government secretly plans Wall Street takeover of Fannie, Freddie

Rolling Stone’s Wall Street hatchet-man on the hidden truth of #FannieGate


If Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi is to be believed, yes, there absolutely was a government conspiracy behind the bailout and subsequent takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And now, the government is fighting tooth and nail to keep the evidence of that conspiracy a secret, all while plotting something far more insidious — the privatization of the government-sponsored enterprises.

Has the shock subsided?

In a long piece posted Monday, Taibbi, who’s made a career of taking on Wall Street, aims his sights on Fannie and Freddie bailout, the mountain of federal government documents pertaining to it, and efforts by the “most transparent administration in history” to keep those documents from seeing the light of day.

Some of those documents surfaced recently as part of lawsuits filed by a series of Fannie and Freddie shareholders, who sued the government, claiming that the government’s “sweep” of all of the GSEs’ profits was not only unnecessary because the GSEs weren’t actually in dire straits, but illegal as well.

The recently unsealed documents only scratch the surface of the massive collection of documents that the government has used “executive privilege” to keep under wraps because they supposedly reveal the truth about the GSE bailout.

According to Taibbi, the series of now-unsealed depositions given in the shareholders’ lawsuits are just the beginning of an “11,000-document cache of government communications” relating to the governmental takeover of the GSEs.

Taibbi writes that the still-sealed documents do more than show Fannie and Freddie weren’t actually in the supposed “death spiral” that the government claimed when it modified its conservatorship agreement with Fannie and Freddie to claim all the profits from the GSEs.

According to Taibbi, the documents not only prove that the government lied about the GSEs, the documents also likely reveal the government’s plans for the future of Fannie and Freddie and how the country’s biggest banks are conspiring with the government to takeover the country’s housing finance system.

Here’s Taibbi on the conspiracy:

Likely also buried in the still-sealed documents is a wealth of information about the government’s plans for future reorganization of Fannie and Freddie, a huge looming event in the history of American finance.

Many of the government officials who were involved in the decisions surrounding the GSE conservatorship are now in the private sector, working on proposals for much-anticipated GSE reform.

Without getting too deeply into the weeds of this even more complicated tale, government officials have been working with Wall Street lobbyists for years on a plan to have a consortium of private banking interests step into the shoes of Fannie and Freddie.

If this concept actually goes through, it would be the unlikeliest of coups for Wall Street. Having nearly triggered a global depression eight years ago, the usual-suspect, too-big-to-fail banks would essentially be put in control of the same housing markets they all but wrecked last time around.

Unsealed Bear Stearns emails shows Executives lied about Bank Failure

I followed this Bear Stearns story a few years ago.The real question is that whether the DOJ will take this information and investigate criminal charges (not civil charges or non-prosecution agreement) against the Bear Stearns execs. Great reporting by Teri Buhl!

Teri Buhl website:

For a few months I’ve been fighting behind the scenes to get a private civil fraud lawsuit against Bear Stearns and its senior leaders Jimmy Cayne, and Warren Spector unsealed. I won that battle last month in Manhattan federal court and discovered a war chest of internal emails by over a dozen Bear Stearns executives and confidential communications to its regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, that showed these men have misled the public for 8 years on the how, when, and why Bear Stearns really failed. I then chose to partner with one of my favorite and highly respected investigative journalist Roddy Boyd to report a story on how the SEC knew as far back as 2005 that something wasn’t right about the way Bear Stearns was disclosing its risk in the fixed income-mortgages department, run by Tom Marano, that eventually took down the bank. Shockingly the unsealed emails showed Bear’s CFO and public face to investors, Sam Molinaro, tell his team “we need liquidity ASAP” on the same day (Aug 3rd 2007) he held a public investor call reassuring Bear Stearns investors capital levels and liquidity was just fine.

The fact pattern I uncovered, which shows the depth of internal awakening by Bear Stearns executives back in the summer of 2007 that their beloved 100-year-old bank was in serious trouble and they planed to keep it quite from The Street and investors, is beyond troubling. But when I realized the SEC could have published a letter Molinaro sent them detailing what their real subprime risk was (and not disclosed in their financial statements) months before the bank failed and admitting they could go under; feels like the SEC aided these executives in their crimes of investor fraud and complete breach of their fiduciary duties.

I urge all my readers to take the time to read our story at the non-profit investigative journalism publication www.sirf-online.org.


Banks are STILL too big to fail, says Fed official

Neel Kashkari still has not changed position about the Too Big To Fail Banks….I wonder what Kashkari feels about his former employer, Goldman Sachs, going into the retail banking.

“I continue to think that the largest banks in the country are too big to fail.”

That might sound like a Bernie Sanders sound bite, but it’s actually from a speech that the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis president gave Monday.

Nearly eight years after the financial crisis shocked the global economy and caused a massive recession, the consensus view is that big Wall Street banks are a lot safer now.

But are they safe enough?

“I am skeptical that current efforts to fix that problem will ultimately work,” said Neel Kashkari, the head of the Minneapolis Fed.

It’s unusual to hear someone from within the Fed be so critical of Wall Street regulation, since the Fed is one of the main watchdogs over big banks. Earlier this month Fed chair Janet Yellen defended all the ways regulators like the Fed have made the system safer.

Read on.

Goldman Sachs finally moves into retail banking

Goldman Sachs has opened its vault to the 99 percent.

Now you can park your money with Lloyd Blankfein’s investment bank as Goldman started taking online deposits as low as $1 for savings accounts on Monday — a bit lower than the $10 million minimum required for its private banking clients.

The new retail banking arm, called GS Bank, is offering some sweet interest for early movers.

For new deposits, Goldman will give 1.05 percent annual yield and 2 percent on a five-year CD.

Read on.

Why the Goldman Sachs Settlement Is a $5 Billion Sham

“Recently Goldman Sachs reached a settlement with the federal government for $5 billion because they were selling worthless packages of subprime mortgages,” Bernie Sanders shouted (as he does) in the last Democratic presidential debate. “If you are a kid caught with marijuana in Michigan, you get a police record. If you are an executive on Wall Street that destroys the American economy, you pay a $5 billion fine, no police record.”

This lack of accountability for Wall Street and the perception of a two-tiered justice system gnaws away at Americans’ trust. But now that the Goldman Sachs settlement Sanders referred to has been finalized, I’m sorry to say that he was wrong. If you are an executive on Wall Street who destroys the American economy, you don’t pay a $5 billion fine. You pay much, much less. In fact, you can make a credible case that Goldman won’t pay a fine at all. They will merely send a cut of profits from long-ago fraudulent activity to a shakedown artist, also known as U.S. law enforcement.

Read on.