Daily Archives: July 7, 2016

Jamie Dimon Says JPMorgan Could Move Thousands of Staff Out of U.K.

“The key issue is the ‘passport rule’ that we have in London.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co could be forced to move thousands of staff out of Britain if the country loses its automatic right to sell financial services to the European Union after last month’s Brexit vote, bank CEO Jamie Dimon told an Italian newspaper.

Currently, banks based in the U.K. can sell services freely across the EU under a “passporting” system, considered the most significant feature of the EU single market for financial firms. But that is now in doubt after Britons voted to leave the bloc.

Read on.

Christie Ex-Allies Won’t Get His Phone Before Bridge Trial

  • Judge denies request to force the handover of Christie’s phone
  • Baroni, Kelly accused of gridlocking traffic to punish mayor

The judge overseeing the George Washington Bridge case denied a request by two former allies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to obtain his personal cell phone to help prepare for their criminal trial.

The ex-allies, Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, had requested all the cell phones and tablets, as well as thousands of other documents, reviewed by a law firm hired by Christie’s office in conducting an internal investigation of the lane closings in September 2013 which gridlocked traffic for four days.

The firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, argued that the subpoena by Kelly and Baroni far exceeded their legal authority to obtain documents before trial. U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton agreed, ruling that the request was “so sweeping and so broad” that she must deny it.

Kelly and Baroni were pressing for the phone that Christie used to send texts to another top aide in December 2013. The exchanges came as lawmakers took testimony from officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

Christie has said he doesn’t have the phone, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said prosecutors never got it, and they relied on Gibson Dunn to examine its contents and turn over evidence. Gibson Dunn said in a June 28 court filing that it “returned the phone” without saying who received it.

Read on.

Australian ex-Rabobank trader admits in U.S. to Libor scheme

A former Rabobank trader pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to manipulate benchmark interest rates, as U.S. prosecutors dropped separate charges against three ex-ICAP Plc (>> ICAP plc) brokers acquitted in a related British trial.

Paul Thompson, an Australian and former head of money market and derivatives trading in Northeast Asia for the Dutch bank, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to a single conspiracy count, admitting to scheming to manipulate Libor.

“I apologise to those who were harmed by my actions,” he said in court.

Read on.

Five U.S. investment banks offer support for London after Brexit vote

Five U.S. investment banks promised British finance minister George Osborne on Thursday that they would try to help London keep its top spot as a financial center, but gave no commitment on jobs following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

One banker at the meeting with Osborne told Reuters the banks wanted to see concrete moves to ensure firms based in London would retain access to EU markets, however, because “no one in their right mind” would currently invest in Britain.”

Since the June 23 referendum there have been fears of an exodus from the City of London if access to the EU’s single market becomes significantly harder. Banks like JPMorgan (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.)have said they could move thousands of jobs.

On Thursday JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs (>> Goldman Sachs Group Inc), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (>> Bank of America Corp) and Morgan Stanley (>> Morgan Stanley), as well as Britain’s Asia-focused Standard Chartered (>> Standard Chartered PLC) said they would try to support London’s financial sector.

“Today we met and agreed that we would work together … with a common aim to help London retain its position as the leading international financial center,” the banks said in a joint statement with Osborne.

Read on.

Ex-Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver arrested in insurance fraud scheme

Former San Diego State University players named as co-defendants

Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeffery Leon Webb, 34, was arrested Tuesday, June 28, on suspicion of staging car crashes in insurance fraud schemes in 2012 and 2013.

Webb, who lives in Indio, was identified as the “ringleader” in the schemes, which involved eight other people – including some ex-San Diego State football players – according to a California Department of Insurance news release. The total loss in the crashes was estimated at $139,000, the news release said.

Felony insurance fraud charges were filed against Webb, his brother William Wesley Webb, his girlfriend in 2013, Darlene Crystal Stewart, former San Diego State running back Atiyyah Jamal Henderson, former San Diego State defensive back Donny Vernon Baker Jr., Cornelius Tau Hearne, Ana Isela Velasquez, Jermaine Lenard Davis and Genevie Ann Federico.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, in a written statement, said similar types of insurance scams are common in California.

“California is ground zero for staged auto collisions,” Jones said. “Organized crime rings are responsible for the majority of staged collisions, which are costly to insurers and consumers.”

Read on.

Philosophy for Bankers…? How About Just Classes in Honesty and Ethics?

Several articles came across my desk this week. I found one especially intriguing, as it fits my frame of reference. It is a post by Ms. Yves Smith, commenting on an article “Can Philosophy Stop Bankers From Stealing?” by Lynn Parramore, a senior research analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
Smith argues that the title might more appropriately be called, “Can Morality Stop Bankers from Stealing?” She comments that:
“it seems impossible to go from the openly corrupt world in which we live now to one that values reputation, probity, and fair dealing. Yet dramatic swings in values can happen in a generation, or even less.”
She says, “the first step, as this article indicates, is to start calling things by their proper names. And there is now much less inhibition about calling out predatory conduct and using words like “fraud”, “stealing,” and “corruption.””

The UK’s Iraq War inquiry vindicates a whistleblower who took his own life

In July of 2003, four months after the fall of Baghdad, David Kelly walked a mile from his Oxfordshire home to a wooded area called Harrowdown Hill, and stabbed a pruning knife into his left wrist, severing a major artery. He was found dead the next morning.

On Wednesday, a long-anticipated report on the decisions that brought a ‘coalition of the willing’ to war in Iraq was released, and laid waste to the intelligence relied upon by the United Kingdom and the United States to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.

In doing so, the Iraq War Inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, offered vindication for Kelly — the scientist who first went to the media, highlighting that the claims made by the British government about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction were at best misleading and at worst lies.

Kelly, a biological warfare expert, had been provided a copy of a classified dossier, written by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and released in September of 2002. The report was to be released to the public in order to make the case for war in Iraq and, more importantly for then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to sway Parliament to approve the deployment of British troops.

“The document discloses that [Saddam’s] military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them,” wrote Blair in the foreword to the JIC dossier.

Chilcot’s inquiry sheds new light on how Kelly tried to blow the whistle from inside the British government, and how his warnings ultimately went unheeded.

The executive summary of the report damningly concludes what Kelly had said at the time: “The assessed intelligence had not established beyond doubt that Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons.”

Read on.

Chilcot Report: Tony Blair Told George W. Bush, “If We Win Quickly, Everyone Will Be Our Friend.”

THE CHILCOT REPORT, the U.K.’s official inquiry into its participation in the Iraq War, has finally been released after seven years of investigation.

Its executive summary certainly makes former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the British push for war, look terrible. According to the report, Blair made statements about Iraq’s nonexistent chemical, biological, and nuclear programs based on “what Mr. Blair believed” rather than the intelligence he had been given. The U.K. went to war despite the fact that “diplomatic options had not been exhausted.” Blair was warned by British intelligence that terrorism would “increase in the event of war, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.”

On the other hand, the inquiry explicitly says that it is not “questioning Mr. Blair’s belief” in the case for war — i.e., it is not accusing him of conscious misrepresentations. Blair is already spinning this as an exoneration, saying the report “should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies, or deceit.”

Read on.

House Republicans might want to think twice before taking on the FBI director over Hillary’s emails.

On a side note: Comey, as Deputy AG appointed then U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as Special Prosecutor  to head the CIA leak grand jury investigation (the leaking of CIA covert’s name) after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself in 2003. And who can forget Comey testifying at the Senate Judiciary that Alberto Gonzales, as White House counsel, tried to get AG John Ashcroft, critically ill on his hospital sickbed, to approve an NSA program the DOJ had serious legal doubts about:


Yet Chaffetz and his colleagues might get more than they bargain for in attempting to set up the FBI director for an oversight hearing bloodbath—just as last summer’s marathon hearing on Clinton’s role in Benghazi ended up backfiring on that same committee, as the former secretary of state parried questions with confidence and ended up making Republican lawmakers look small by comparison.

Comey, as it turns out, is in his element when he’s under fire: He’s an experienced courtroom prosecutor and savvy Washington political fighter, and he burst onto the national stage in 2007 with some of the most riveting—and unexpected—congressional testimony in memory. But more than that, Comey comes armed Thursday with a secret weapon that he didn’t have even during that 2007 hearing, when he shocked the committee room by blowing the lid off a secret high-level showdown over the NSA’s domestic spying program that nearly caused mass resignations within George W. Bush’s Justice Department.

After he left government, Comey spent three years being grilled, or “probed,” as an executive at Bridgewater Associates, the $150 billion hedge fund founded by Ray Dalio that the New Yorker has labeled “the world’s richest and strangest hedge fund.” Dalio, who regularly ranks among the 50 or 60 wealthiest people on the Forbes 400 list, has built the highly successful fund since the 1970s on a platform of “radical transparency,” a principle that encourages—actually forces—deep questioning from the ranks of all leadership decisions.