Cohen

How Many Billions Of Drug-Laundered Money Does It Take To Shut Down A Bank?

It's an odd question, we know - especially ahead of today's Stress Tests, but given today's testimony on assessing the bank secrecy act, apparent trouble-maker Elizabeth Warren pokes and prods (correctly we would add) at the surreality that exists between the Department of Justice, The Treasury, and the financial system. David Cohen, Tom Curry, and Jerome Powell dodged bullets and blame, "does that mean essentially we have a prosecution-free zone for large banks in America?" But Warren wasn't going to be fobbed off with useless banter as she pointed out, "if you're caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you're going to go to jail... for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night - I think that's fundamentally wrong." Indeed Ms. Warren.

The Bermuda 'Reacharound' Triangle Tax Dodge

With sequesters and loopholes the only two words that seem to matter in Washington (the latter more than the former as far as action), we suspect the popularity of the so-called 'Bermuda Triangle' tax dodge may raise more than a few eyebrows. Put simply, hedge fund managers create a Bermuda-based re-insurance entity, their clients (high-net-worth individuals) funnel their hard-earned gains through this offshore entity and back to the US hedge funds - dramatically reducing their personal income taxes. The re-insurers do a minimum of business to create the appearance of legitimacy but are enabling hedge fund investors to avoid paying high-rate income tax on any gains from the funds and growing tax-free while in the fund. Of course this is defended as "good tax management." Funds such as Paulson's, Third Point, Greenlight, and SAC all use this vehicle according to Bloomberg as a handy way to funnel a US hedge fund investment through a tax haven. It truly is good to be king...

Frontrunning: February 19

  • Here comes the replay of 2011 as China starts the counter-reflation moves: China Central Bank Reverses Cash Pump (WSJ)
  • Security group suspects Chinese military is behind hacking attacks (Reuters)
  • Iceland Foreshadows Death of Currencies Lost in Crisis (BBG)
  • China Allows More Firms to Sell Mutual Funds to Bolster Market (BBG)
  • Uncertainty looms for Italians (FT)
  • Forget the big comeback; Detroit focuses on what can be saved (Reuters)
  • SAC’s Cohen May Face SEC Suit as Deposition Hurts Case (BBG)
  • Hollande wrestles with austerity demands (FT)
  • Obama Golf With Woods in Florida Risks Muddling Messsage (BBG)
  • Simpson and Bowles to Offer Up Deficit (WSJ)
  • Aso Says Japanese Government Not Planning Foreign Bond Buys (BBG) - ... until it changes its tune once more
  • Abe to Decide on Bank of Japan Governor Nomination Next Week (BBG)

Guest Post: Adrift At Sea

The big story this past week, besides the annual State of the Delusion speech by Barack “It won’t add a cent to the deficit” Obama, was the fate of the passengers on the Carnival Triumph as their skyscraper sized ship was left adrift at sea for days without power. The ordeal at sea of the Carnival Triumph and the leadership displayed by the Carnival management and executive officers is a microcosm of our declining empire. Rather than deal with our reality, Obama chose the Carnival Cruise Line method of public relations - misinformation, denial and delusion. He has embraced the Big Lie concept as if he had created it. Our cruise of illusions and delusions is headed for troubled water. The math challenged citizens on this ship have been enjoying the 24 hour pizza buffet without the labor required to pay for the bounty. This voyage is reaching an end and the bill is coming due. The engine is on fire but the captain is telling us all is well. Eventually, everyone will know the captain lied.

Frontrunning: February 14

  • John Kerry just got happier: Berkshire Hathaway, 3G Buying Heinz for $72.50 a Share, or $28 Billion - ~20% premium to last price (CNBC)
  • US Airways, AMR to Merge (WSJ) - can thousands of workers spell "synergies"?
  • Draghi, Carney show ascent of "whatever it takes" central bankers (BBG) ... to preserve the Goldman way of life
  • Euro zone economy falls deeper than expected into recession (Reuters)
  • Soros has made $1 billion betting against the Japanese Yen (WSJ)
  • Ex-Analyst at SAC Felt Pressured for Tips  (WSJ)
  • Desalination Seen Booming at 15% a Year as World Water Dries Up (BBG)
  • China's 'Wall' Hits Business (WSJ)
  • Israel publishes some details as Australian spy mystery deepens (Reuters)
  • Tata Motors Profit Falls 52% (WSJ)
  • AB InBev Will Sell Corona Unit to Salvage Modelo Takeover (BBG)
  • "Blade Runner" Pistorius charged with murdering girlfriend (Reuters)
  • In Ohio and beyond, Obama sees model for manufacturing revival (Reuters)

Tipping Points And What The Teeter Taught Here

Down over a point in the long bond. Up almost a point in the long bond. Equities down more than 100 points. Equities up almost 100 points. All of this in the span of two days. Nothing was particularly new; no event popped up on the radar screen, no black swan swopped in from the horizon to startle the markets and anyone observing the markets may well ask, reasonably ask, just what the heck is going on. First, in my mind, we are getting a pretty good signal that the markets are running out of steam and that the collective vision of the way forward is murky. We are in a fragile state; near a tipping point. Please remember, however, that there are two components to additional debt and the markets have only focused on one side of the equation which is the interest rate variable.

Frontrunning: February 4

  • Euro Tremors Risk Market Respite on Spain-Italy, Banks (Bloomberg)
  • Obama Says U.S. Needs Revenue Along With Spending Cuts (Bloomberg
  • China Regulators Moved to Restrain Lending (WSJ)
  • Low Rates Force Companies to Pour Cash Into Pensions (WSJ)
  • JAL wants to discuss 787 grounding compensation with Boeing (Reuters)
  • Abe Shortens List for BOJ Chief as Japan Faces Monetary Overhaul (Bloomberg)
  • Monte Paschi probe to widen as Italian election nears (Reuters)
  • Hedge funds up bets against Italy's Monte Paschi (Reuters)
  • Spain's opposition Socialists tell Rajoy to resign (Reuters)
  • Electric cars head toward another dead end (Reuters)
  • BlackRock Sued by Funds Over Securities Lending Fees (Bloomberg)

Frontrunning: January 28

  • CAT beats ex-Chinese fraud: $1.91, Exp. $1.70; Warns 2013 could be a "tough year"; sees 2013 EPS in $7.00-$9.00 range, Exp. $8.54, sees Q1 sales well below Q1, 2012
  • Yi Warns on Currency Wars as Yuan Close to ‘Equilibrium’ (BBG)
  • Monte Paschi seeks new investor as scandal deepens (Reuters)
  • Assault Weapons Ban Lacks Democratic Votes to Pass Senate (BBG)
  • Toyota Again World's Largest Auto Maker (WSJ)
  • Curious why all those Geneva Libor manipulators moved to Singapore? Bank probes find manipulation in Singapore's offshore FX market  (Reuters)
  • Japan eased safety standards ahead of Boeing 787 rollout (Reuters) - so like Fukushima?
  • Goldman is about to be un charge: Osborne cools on changing inflation target (Telegraph)
  • Abe Predicts Bump in Revenue as Japan Emerges From Recession (BBG) - actually, "hopes" is the correct verb here
  • Toxic Smog in Beijing Fueling Auto Sales for GM, VW (BBG)
  • Fed waits for job market to perk up (Reuters) ... any minute now that S&P to BLS trickle down will hit, promise
  • BofA shifts derivatives to UK (FT)

Why Steve Cohen Is In Davos

Those wondering if Steve Cohen is attending the most epic of "economic forum" boondoggles elsewhere known as Davos (where for some reason Derek Jeter is present and accounted for) was just to get a hot tip, or to interact with the Swiss branch of Gerson-Lehrman, the one where not every conversation is being recorded by the feds, the answer is neither. The man, whose fund as most by now have been made aware is one turned informant away from greeting the men in gray coats on its front porch at 72 Cummings Road, is in Davos to learn about... "Resilient Dynamism."

Frontrunning: January 9

  • A Bold Dissenter at the Fed, Hoping His Doubts Are Wrong (NYT)
  • China and Japan step up drone race as tension builds over disputed islands (Guardian)
  • How Mario Draghi is reshaping Europe's central bank (Reuters)
  • Merkel Economy Shows Neglect as Sick Man Concern Returns (BBG)
  • US oil imports to fall to 25-year low (FT)
  • China Loan Share at Record Low Shows Financing Risks (BBG)
  • Dimon Says Some JPMorgan Execs ‘Acted Like Children’ on Loss (BBG) - children that reveleased who 'excess reserves' are truly used
  • Fed injects new sell-off risk into Treasuries (FT) - really? So the Fed will stop monetizing the US deficit some time soon?
  • Obama aide presses Republicans to accept more tax revenues (Reuters)
  • Ex-SAC analyst named 20 alleged insider traders (FT)
  • BOJ easing bets help dollar regain ground vs yen (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs Said to Be Part of Fed-Led Foreclosure Settlement (BBG)
  • Venezuela postpones inauguration for cancer-stricken Chavez (Reuters)

SAC Loses Anchor Investor As Noose Tightens Some More

First it was Citi, then SocGen, now a third key investor has decided to pull their money from SAC - the once vaunted hedge fund which now everyone is now avoiding like the plague, and for which the only question now is "when" - when will Stevie close down shop, and will this happen before or after the paddywagons finally arrive  at 72 Cummings Point road. The WSJ reports: "Titan Advisors LLC recently told clients that it had decided to withdraw its entire investment from SAC, said clients who received phone calls from Titan.  "They've told us they still think SAC is a good firm but Titan doesn't need the headline risk, and we sure don't," said Tom Taneyhill, executive director of the Fire & Police Employees' Retirement System of the City of Baltimore, on Friday.  Société Générale SA, which has client money in SAC through its Lyxor asset-management arm, also decided to pull its money from SAC, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month. At the time, an SAC spokesman declined to comment. Titan's departure is significant given SAC's long-standing relationship with one of Titan's founders. Titan co-founder George Fox began investing in SAC in the mid-90s, several years after Mr. Cohen started what became the firm in 1992."

36 UBS Bankers To Be Implicated In Liborgate, Criminal Charges To Be Filed

As the fallout of Liborgate escalates, the next big bank to be impacted in the fallout started by Barclays civil settlement "revelation" is set to be troubled UBS, already some 10,000 bankers lighter, where as many as three dozen bankers are reported by the implicated in the fixing of the rate that until 2009 was the most important for hundreds of trillions in variable rate fixed income products. Only instead of attacking the US or even European jurisdiction, where the next big settlement is set to hit is Japan: a country whose regulators as recently as half a year ago promised there were no major issues with Libor, or Tibor as it is locally known, rate fixings. And while this most recent development will have little material impact on UBS' ongoing business model, the one difference from previous settlements is that it will likely include criminal charges lobbed against some of the 36 bankers. From the FT: "UBS is close to finalising a deal with UK, US and Swiss authorities in which the bank will pay close to $1.5bn and its Japanese securities subsidiary will plead guilty to a US criminal offence. Terms of the guilty plea were still being negotiated, one person familiar with the matter said on Monday, adding that the bank will not lose its ability to conduct business in Japan. The pact between the bank and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, US Department of Justice, UK’s Financial Services Authority and UBS’s main Swiss supervisor Finma is expected to be announced on Wednesday, although last minute negotiations continue."

Frontrunning: December 17

  • New Calls for Gun Limits (WSJ)
  • Funerals begin for Newtown victims as schools confront tragedy (Reuters)
  • Introducing The Stock Trader of the Future (WSJ)
  • Feds knocking on 72 Cummings Ave door any minute now? SAC E-Mails Show Steve Cohen Consulted on Key Dell Trade (BBG)
  • China Signals Tolerance of Slower Growth After Meeting (BBG)
  • Huge mandate for Japan's LDP may be less than meets the eye (Reuters)
  • UBS Said to Face $1.6 Billion Libor Penalty This Week (BBG) - shareholders pay, and nobody goest to jail
  • Treasury Plan Would Cut Rates on Some Mortgages in Bonds (BBG)
  • Egypt opposition calls for protests against basic law (Reuters)
  • Euro Crisis Will Linger, Merkel Tells Summit (WSJ)
  • Economic slowdown throughout euro zone a worry for ECB: Liikanen (Reuters)

Frontrunning: December 6

  • MSM discovers window dressing: Fund Managers Lift Results With Timely Trading Sprees (WSJ)
  • White House Unyielding on Debt Limit (WSJ)
  • Obama, Boehner talk; Geithner prepared to go off "cliff" (Reuters)
  • Republicans urged to resist tax rises (FT)
  • China looms large over Japanese poll (FT)
  • As predicted here two months ago, Greek Bond Buyback Leads S&P to Cut to Selective Default (BBG)
  • Japan opposition LDP set to win solid election majority – polls (BBG), but...
  • Japan Opposition LDP’s Main Ally Cautions Abe on BOJ Pressure (BBG)
  • U.S. and Europe Tackle Russia Trade (WSJ)
  • King Seen Maintaining QE as Osborne Extends Fiscal Squeeze (BBG)
  • Syria pound fall suggests currency crisis (FT)
  • Irish budget seeks extra €3.5bn (FT)
  • U.K. Extends Cuts Due to Poor Outlook (WSJ)
  • ECB Seen Refraining From Rate Cuts as Yields Sink on Bond Plan (BBG)