Monthly Archives: May 2017

Federal Reserve Board announces $41 million penalty and consent cease and desist order against Deutsche Bank AG

The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday announced a $41 million penalty and consent cease and desist order against the U.S. operations of Deutsche Bank AG for anti-money laundering deficiencies.

The actions were taken by the Board to address unsafe and unsound practices at the firm’s domestic banking operations. The Board identified failures by Deutsche Bank’s U.S. banking operations to maintain an effective program to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering laws.

Read on.

Court of Appeals hands Wells Fargo victory over Los Angeles in fair housing lawsuit

Wells Fargo may be facing a lawsuit from the city of Philadelphia over alleged discriminatory lending practices against minority borrowers, but a federal Court of Appeals just handed the bank a victory in a similar lawsuit brought by the city of Los Angeles back in 2013.

Four years ago, the city of Los Angeles sued Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America for discriminatory lending, saying that the banks violated the Fair Housing Act and were to blame for a wave of foreclosures that blighted the city.

But a district judge threw out the city’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo in 2015, stating that the city is did not prove its case that the bank’s policies led to minority borrowers ending up in higher cost loans.

The Los Angeles city attorney appealed the ruling, but the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled last week in Wells Fargo’s favor and upheld the lower court’s ruling.

In the four-page ruling, three of the court’s judges ruled unanimously that that lower court ruled appropriately because Los Angeles “did not show a discriminatory loan” during the time period in question.

Read on.

FBI Investigations Are Conducted at the Discretion of its Director

 

NEP’s Bill Black talks to The Real News Network and explains the history and dynamics of FBI investigations, which show that they are not as unstoppable or unimpeachable as they are being made out to be. You can view with transcript here.

 

Source: New Economic Perspectives

Tough-on-crime Jeff Sessions lets Citigroup off with fine for money laundering across the border

Daily Kos:

Because despite a whole lot of tough talk and a seemingly zero-tolerance approach to crime, Sessions and the Trump administration just let Citigroup-owned Banamex USA get away with six years worth of illegal activity with a hefty fine and no jail time for anyone involved.

Banamex and Citi officials knew of some 18,000 separate suspicious account activities from 2007 to 2012 yet reported just six to regulators, according to the description of the crimes in the deal. The transactions mostly involved remittance payments from people in the United States to account holders in Mexico — a standard class of transaction relied upon heavily by immigrants.

The transactions Citigroup failed to police internally or report to external authorities, however, were not typical worker remittances. Those usually involve small sums and scattered movements of money — as one would expect to see when a large group of individual workers are sending some of their pay back home to a large number of families.

But wait. What exactly happened to those long, harsh sentences and mandatory minimums? Guess they only apply to drug dealers. And only if you are black or brown. Since this wasn’t actually some hardworking immigrants sending money to relatives back home but instead some unknown “person or organization” sending large quantities of money back and forth across the border, Ol’ Jeffy thought to himself “Meh, we’ll let this one slide!”

Citigroup’s subsidiary noticed that very large remittances were flowing into the same bank account — as one might expect to see if illicit, scattered profits earned in the United States were being consolidated across the border by the person or organization who had made them possible. […]

Under the non-prosecution agreement, Citigroup-owned Banamex USA will pay $97.4 million and admit it broke the Bank Secrecy Act for years.

House Dems Investigating Trump Loans for Russian Connections

A reminder that The Guardian reported that Deutsche Bank examined Trump’s account for Russia links in February’s article:

The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump has conducted a close internal examination of the US president’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia, the Guardian has learned.

Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow.

The Guardian has also learned that the president’s immediate family are Deutsche clients. The bank examined accounts held by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, her husband, Jared Kushner, who serves as a White House adviser, and Kushner’s mother.

The internal review found no evidence of any Russia link, but Deutsche Bank is coming under pressure to appoint an external and independent auditor to review its business relationship with President Trump.

House Dems sent to Deutsche Bank’s American CEO on May 23, 2017,  and asked for a copy of the review and related documents: The full text of the letter.

 

TRUMP’S “AMERICA FIRST“ INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN: LET SAUDI ARABIA AND BLACKSTONE TAKE CARE OF IT

By 

The Intercept:

THROUGHOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL campaign, Donald Trump blasted his rival for taking money from Saudi Arabia, which, he regularly charged, has a horrific human rights record and was behind the attack on September 11.

“You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money,” he complained.

Trump, of course, has never been married to anything he has said in the past. But even by Trumpian standards, a recent series of deals he struck with Saudi Arabia stand out.

The two that made the news — a $110 billion arms deal and a $100 million gift to an Ivanka Trump-inspired endowment — are remarkable in their own right.

But the third, which was rolled out much more quietly, is no less stunning: The Saudi kingdom joined forces with a top outside adviser to Trump to build a $40 billion war chest to privatize U.S. infrastructure.

The vehicle would employ the same kind of public-private partnerships, known as P3s, the Trump administration has endorsed for its trillion dollar infrastructure plan. The deal hands over control of projects to rebuild American roads and bridges to the private sector and a foreign country.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund announced its $20 billion investment with Blackstone, the private equity giant whose CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, chairsthe Strategic and Policy Forum, a key group of private-sector advisers to President Trump. In recent months Schwarzman has become a key adviser to the president, speaking to him “several times a week,” according to Politico. Schwarzman, who has an estate near Mar-a-Lago and has known Trump for years, is a Republican megadonor, giving over $4 million to Super PACs that support conservative candidates in the last election cycle.

The Saudi investment was announced when Trump was in Saudi Arabia and was touted by the White House as part of Trump’s commitment to render deals for outside investment in America. Blackstone described the deal as “the culmination of a year’s discussions” and insisted the White House was not involved.

But the managing director of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al Rumayyan, explicitly said that the deal “reflects our positive views around the ambitious infrastructure initiatives being undertaken in the United States as announced by President Trump.”

The timing was also notable, coming just after Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner negotiated a $110 billion arms sale to the Saudis. Kushner and Blackstone have a long history; Blackstone is one of the largest lenders to Kushner’s business, with over $400 million in financing since 2013.

Jeff Sessions’ DOJ Backed a Mortgage Corporation Over a Veteran

Happy Memorial Day….

Esquire:

From OregonLive:

The Marine Corps called him back to Iraq and Afghanistan for three more tours. He was in Fallujah in Iraq’s “bloody triangle” during the surge. In all, he spent about four years in the Middle East. In between deployments, McGreevey would return to Vancouver, where he managed to buy a house on Northeast 24th Court. But the years overseas took a toll. He says he made a fateful mistake: trusting someone else to make the mortgage payment. He returned from his third tour in June 2010, just in time to watch PHH Mortgage repossess his house. Knowing next to nothing about the consumer protections afforded him as a member of the military, McGreevey didn’t contest it. The foreclosure became final on Sept. 10. McGreevey’s final deployment ended in 2012. He had advanced from private to staff sergeant. Though diagnosed 80 percent disabled with post-traumatic stress syndrome, hearing loss and a back injury, he set about reinventing himself for civilian life. He earned a business degree from Portland State University and got a job at a bank.

So, yes, PHH foreclosed on a veteran while he was on his third tour in the Middle East. Happy Memorial Day Weekend. Luckily, there is something called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that is supposed to protect members of the military serving overseas from having done to them exactly what PHH did to Jacob McGreevey. He got legal help and took PHH to court. Then, something happened.

What neither McGreevey nor Riddell anticipated was that PHH Mortgage wasn’t going to be their only adversary. Five months after the U.S. Department of Justice announced a major initiative to crack down on financial institutions taking advantage of active-duty service members, the agency intervened in McGreevey’s case. But it didn’t come in on the side of the Marine.It went with the lender.

The United States Department of Justice—Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, proprietor—has intervened on the side of a corrupt corporation and against a serviceman done dirt by that corrupt corporation. It already has filed a brief on behalf of PHH in the federal lawsuit against the CPFB.