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- Geithner Still Not Interested in Fed Chair Slot (WSJ)
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- Bob Diamond calls for bank rules shake-up (FT)
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- Iran Dials Up Syria Presence (WSJ)
- Kerry Seeks to Sell Syria Deal (WSJ)
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- Emerging Stocks Rise to 3-Month High as Bonds Gain on Fed (BBG)
- Bernanke’s Maradona swerve hits bonds (FT)
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- Before Texas plant exploded: What did regulators know? (Reuters)
- Aso Says Japan Policy Unopposed at G-20 Meeting as Yen Falls (BBG)
- Bipartisan pair target $2.5tn US savings (FT)
- Plan for new Cyprus vote casts uncertainty on bailout (Cyprus Mail)
- Ireland picks through debtors’ lifestyles (FT)
It just is not Barclays' year. After being exposed (so far the only one) as a ringleader in a massive LIBOR-rigging scandal which cost Bob Diamond his job, yesterday the British bank added insult to injury, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) fined it $470 million - the largest penalty ever levied by the energy regulator, and even larger than the bank's LIBOR fine - for getting caught doing what Enron got caught doing about a decade ago: manipulating California's electricity markets. Although while the former ended up being the biggest corporate bankruptcy at the time, led to the end of one of the nation's largest auditors and sparked a scandal so great it was all corporate America spoke for about for the next year, this time the news has come and gone, and nobody cares. Perhaps this is to be expected: in a time when none other than the central bank intervenes each and every day in every single market to preserve the "wealth effect", habituation to epic corporate manipulation of every imaginable kind is perfectly normal.
Nothing has changed, it has only gotten worse...
With newsflow today non-existent, and the market acting somewhat bizarrely (i.e., not soaring on endless revenue misses and GDP forecast cuts, and in fact, selling off) we take this opportunity to share some philosophical "deep thoughts", although not from Jack Handey, but from the latest issue of the Edelweiss Journal.
Instead of having to fire 1900 people, Deutsche Bank will now have to only let go 1899. The reason: the second most prominent casualty of the Lieborgate scandal is now none other than Bob Diamond's daughter Nell, who made quite a splash in the aftermath of the Barclays Libor manipulation revelations when the social circuit butterfly tweeted that "George Osborne and Ed Miliband can go ahead and #hmd.” As it turns out after graduation from Princeton University in June 2011, and following a stint in UNICEF, the philanthropist, whose twitter profile is riddled with photos of shoes and runway poses, joined Deutsche Bank in November 2011, whether due to her natural curiosity into the minutae of Investment Banking, or for other reasons. Of course, considering her Princeton thesis was on "The Cultural Myth of Female Hair in the Victorian Imagination" (strinkingly comparable to "The Power Of Women's Hair In The Victorian Imagination" but we digress), it likely was the latter. As it turns out, 9 months after joining the firm full time (she had a part-time stint in the summer of 2010, following comparable stints at the Abernathy Macgregor Group, Nantucket Ice Cream Company, Abercrombie and Fitch), the young woman who sold "Rates" products (Libor and other IR derivatives? Surely that would be ironic at a bank which is now front and center into the Lieborgate investigation) at Deutsche Bank has decided to call it quits, in the process saving the job of at least one low level banker who now will not have to be let go because of the lack of an English thesis focusing on Female hair during Victorian times
The guy who openly admitted he was getting notification from the BOE to manipulate Libor, and was advising his traders appropriately, Barclays' COO Jerry del Missier, and who quit the same day as his boss Bob Diamond, has finally had his pay package revealed. The payoff to get him out and shut him up? £8,750,000.
Criminal Inquiry Shifts To JPMorgan's Mispricing Of Hundreds Of Billions In CDS: Is Dimon The Next Diamond?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/16/2012 19:09 -0500
On the last day of May, when we first learned via Bloomberg that there was even the scantest likelihood that JPM may have been massaging its CDS marks within the (London-based of course) CIO organization - the backbone of hundreds of billions in notional exposure, and thus a huge counterfeited benefit to trader bonuses and corporate earnings - we wrote, "The Second Act Of The JPM CIO Fiasco Has Arrived - Mismarking Hundreds Of Billions In Credit Default Swaps" in which we explained precisely how this activity would and did take place, precisely why other traders caught doing the same are on the verge of being thrown in jail, precisely why everyone else does it, and precisely why the biggest CDS self-reporting and client/banker owned-organization (this is where images of Libor should appear), MarkIt, may well be implicated in everything - very much in the same way that the BBA is the heart of Lie-borgate. Because unlike all other allegations of impropriety, most of which rely on Level 2 and Level 3 assets whose valuations are in the eye of the oh so very sophisticated beholder (in this case JPM) who has complex DCFs and speaks confidently when explaining marks to naive, stupid outsiders (in other words baffles with bullshit), when it comes to one of the last places where Mark to Market is still applicable and used: the OTC CDS market, and where daily P&L records are kept, it will take any regulator, enforcer, or criminal investigator precisely 1 minute to find out if there was fraud, or gambling, going on here. Most importantly, it opened up the firm to a criminal investigation. Which as Reuters reports, is precisely what has now happened.
Life ain’t fair
Last week the biggest point of contention in the testimony of Bob Diamond before the House of Commons Treasury Committee was who told him what, and when, with a special circle in hell saved for the BOE's Paul Tucker, who was alleged to have explicitly ordered Barclays to lower its fixing (which as was shown last week had a pretty dramatic impact on the bank's self-reported LIBOR rate). In a few short moments, Tucker himself will be in the hot chair, where an emphasis will be on the emails he sent to Bob Diamond which we presented previously, and whether he acted alone in "nudging" the bank to represent itself as strong than it otherwise would. Watch the full webcast of Tucker's testimony after the jump.
With a few hours until BoE's Paul Tucker takes the stand, the venerable institution has finally acquiesced to the Freedom of Information Act request from British MP John Mann and released all copies of emails and transcripts of telephone conversations between Tucker and Bob Diamond between 10/1/08 and 11/30/08. The emails make for some fascinating reading when one considers the sources of the conversation. The thrust of the discussion is Tucker's concern at UK Libor rates being considerably higher than US - especially as US rates were dropping; Tucker's 'shock' at the cost of funding for Barclays' government-guaranteed debt; and finally the explanation/admission for why the BoE's liquidity hosepipe was not fixing the solvency problem in British banks - a lack of eligible collateral. Smoking gun maybe; nail in the coffin of independent Central Banks for sure; hangings in the streets - we are not so sure.
And in the meantime, not a peep about any bank in the US, which is ironic considering JPM, Citi and BofA are BBA member banks, and had among the lowest fixing rates during the period in question, and as Bob Diamond himself said, "everyone did it." One may almost get the impression that US regulators and politicians, gasp, have a motive to not investigate banks for not only criminal but civil malfeasance. And why should they: after all there is unlimited taxpayer money. And if that ends, the US can just print some more.
But please don’t tell me that you are surprised that Barclays was “manipulating” LIBOR.
- Finland (which with Holland account for 50% of the Eurozone's AAA rated countries), just says "Ei" to stripping ESM subordination (Bloomberg)
- Libor Rate Scandal Set to Spread (WSJ)
- #ByeBarclays flashmob descends on bank (FinExtra)
- What is financial reform in China? (Pettis)
- Cities Consider Seizing Mortgages (WSJ)
- China Beige Book Shows Pickup Unseen in Official Data (BBG)
- China’s New Rules May Curb Credit Growth, CBRC Official Says (BBG)
- India Said to Pay in Euros for Iranian Oil Due to Rupee Hurdles (BBG)
- Wealthy Hit Hardest as France Raises Taxes (FT)
- Euro Bank Supervisor Faces Hurdles (WSJ)