Department of Justice

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DOJ Announces Record $16.7 Billion Mortgage Settlement With Bank Of America: Live Feed





It was in June of 2011 when we reported that Bank Of America agreed to pay $8.5 billion to settle mortgage (mis)representation suit, where we said the bank was "about to part with more money than it has earned since 2008 in what will soon be the biggest financial settlement in the industry." Fast forward 3 years later when Bank of America once again makes history with its latest, and literally greatest, mortgage settlement with the US government, putting all of its MBS transgressions in the past, and which will cost the bank some $16.65 billion (of which, however, some $7 billion will be "consumer relief" and the remainder likely tax-deductible), a new record, and allow the bank to continue adding back "one-time, non-recurring" litigation charges to its adjusted, non-GAAP bottom line, thus once again "beating expectations".

 
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Eric Holder Releases "Message To The People Of Ferguson"





"At a time when so much may seem uncertain, the people of Ferguson can have confidence that the Justice Department intends to learn - in a fair and thorough manner - exactly what happened... In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson."

 
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Guest Post: Joblessness, Hopelessness, And Government Dependency





Of all the awful tensions roiling and coiling in American society, it’s only a little bit surprising that the racial module is blowing off now rather than, say, the stock market. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing: race riots in the summer; stock market crashes in the fall, revolutions in the spring.

 
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Obama Deploys Eric Holder To Ferguson; Speaks About Race





Moments ago while taking a break from his vacation, the president announced that he would drag away the US attorney general Eric Holder neck deep in workload (which involves if not prosecuting criminal bankers, who as we know as too systemic to prosecute, then certainly punishing them by demanding their shareholders pay legal charges that amount to pennies on the dollar from the crime proceeds) to Ferguson on Wednesday, where he will meet with federal law enforcement authorities. And while Obama touched on the topic of the ongoing military campaign in Iraq, which he admitted would be a long-term "strategy", the most important excerpt of the speech by a president somewhat out of his comfort zone, were the following comments on the topic of race, where he was on thin ice: condemn the rioting too hard, and he could cost the democrats the "race" vote in the midterms; condemn the police response, and he would appear to be pandering to rioters and looters and put the police union vote in jeopardy.

 
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Bill Ackman On Why Using Debt To Buyback Stock Is Great And Much More: Full Q2 Investor Letter





Now that everyone is finally focusing on the strategy of bloating any available company with massive leverage in order to use the proceeds to either buyback stock or engage in "synergy-creating" M&A (leading to countless pink slips), which is affectionately known as "activism", here is Bill Ackman's latest, Q2, letter with his take on this topic of how massive leverage which is great for shareholders now, but a disaster waiting to happen for employees and bondholders in the future as soon as rates rise, is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

 
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Obama Wines & Dines Some Of The World's Most Brutal Dictators At US-Africa Summit





Last week's first ever U.S.-Africa summit was a perfect mix of dinner-party diplomacy with some of the world’s most violent and homophobic dictators. As the Daily Mail points out, President Obama had no problem smiling and hobnobbing with a cornucopia of murders and human rights abusers. Just remember this the next time a politician tries to get you enraged about a human rights abuse somewhere. There is always an ulterior motive, because without question, the U.S. only cares about human rights when it is geopolitically or economically advantageous to do so.

 
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Frontrunning: August 8





  • Pope Francis calls for action as Iraqi Christians forced to flee (Reuters)
  • Richest Russians Deprived of Luxury Foods by Putin’s Ban (BBG)
  • Exxon Drilling Russian Arctic Shows Sanction Lack Bite (BBG)
  • Israeli Jets Strike Gaza Targets After Rockets Shatter Truce (BBG)
  • U.S. starts aid airdrops in Iraq but no strikes yet (Reuters)
  • Banks Said to Be Arranging Argentine Debt Buyer Group (BBG)
  • Siberia Flight-Ban Threat Forces Airlines to Mull Options (BBG)
  • Malaysia Airlines to Be Delisted in $429 Million Buyout (BBG)
  • Erdogan poised to win Turkey's first popular presidential vote (Reuters)
  • African Bank Fights Collapse in Espirito Santo-Like Drama (BBG)
  • China to build lighthouses on five isles in defiance of U.S. call (Reuters)
 
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Guest Post: Why Impeachment Is Necessary





The issue of impeachment is now no longer whispered about. Talk is prevalent and a recent poll indicated that 35% of the public believe the president should be impeached. Interestingly, the topic is being promoted more by Democrats than Republicans. Democrats don’t truly believe the President should be impeached, but they see it as a chance, likely their only chance, to bolster their election possibilities this November.

 
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Market Manipulation Probe Escalates; UK Opens Criminal Investigation Into FX Rigging





Since we first exposed to the world that yet another market (foreign exchange) was manipulated by nefarious traders over a year ago, the grand total of prosecutions for market rigging is... zero. As Bloomberg notes, however, more than 25 FX traders have been fired, suspended, or put on leave in that same period. While regulators appear incapable of discovering the truth, the market manipulation probes just got serious..."The [UK] Serious Fraud Office has today opened a criminal investigation into allegations of fraudulent conduct in the foreign exchange market."

 
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Frontrunning: July 18





  • Ukraine Says Malaysian Airliner Shot Down Near Russian Border (BBG)
  • Downing of airliner seen as pivotal moment in Ukraine crisis (Reuters)
  • Malaysian Air Flight Took Route Avoided by Qantas, Asiana (BBG)
  • Russian-Made Missile Hit Malaysia Jet, U.S. Officials Say (BBG)
  • Netanyahu Orders Military to Ready Wider Gaza Incursion (BBG)
  • Silvio Berlusconi Underage Sex Conviction Overturned (WSJ)
  • But... but... "economic patriotism" - AbbVie to Buy Shire for $54.8 Billion as Drug Deals Surge (BBG)
  • SEC targets 10 firms in high frequency trading probe - SEC document (Reuters)
  • Art bubble pop: Sotheby's to Lay Off 'Modest' Number of Employees (WSJ)
  • Moar Abenomics: Hermes Sales Trail Estimates as Japanese Revenue Declines (BBG)
 
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The Cost Of Downgrading The US: $1 Billion





Back in the summer of 2011 during the debt ceiling debacle, S&P did the unthinkable: it dared to speak the truth when it downgraded the US from its pristine AAA rating, setting off a stock market selloff and paradoxically sending bonds to record low yields. This resulted in a vindictive Tim Geithner promptly warning the Chairman of McGraw-Hill the US would retaliate (which it did), the termination of then CEO Devan Sharma (and his replacement with the all too friendly COO of Citibank), and most importantly, a still ongoing legal fight in which the DOJ sued S&P (and only S&P, not Moody's, not Fitch) allegedly for rating improprieties during the first housing bubble, but even 5 year olds knew it was just to teach S&P a lesson. Today we learn just what the cost is for anyone who dares to downgrade the US. The answer: $1,000,000,000. That is the amount that S&P has decided it will agree to pay in a settlement with the DOJ to put all this "truthiness" unpleasantness behind it.

 
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Frontrunning: July 14





  • Secret Path Revealed for Chinese Billions Overseas (BBG)
  • Traders Flood U.S. With $3.4 Trillion of Bond-Auction Demand (BBG)
  • Just in time to cover bad earnings in a massive $3.8 billion "one-time charge": Citi says to pay $7 billion to settle securities investigation (Reuters)
  • Troubled Epirito Santo family loosens grip on Portugal's BES (Reuters)
  • BES puts in place new executives after central bank push (Reuters)
  • Bank of China-CCTV drama may reveal power struggle in Beijing (SCMP)
  • Portugal speeds up Banco Espírito Santo management changes (FT)
  • Dark pool probe builds pressure on Barclays boss (Reuters)
  • Russia Vows to Respond After Shelling From Ukraine (BBG)
  • Ukraine forces end rebel airport blockade (Reuters)
  • Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Unseen Since '70s (WSJ)
 
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