Impunity has been the norm. The reason there have been no efforts made to criminally investigate is obvious. Former banking regulator and current securities Professor Bill Black told Bill Moyers that "Timothy Geithner, then Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong."
Though transparency was a cause he championed when campaigning for the presidency, President Obama has largely avoided making certain defense costs known to the public. However, when it comes to military appropriations for government spy agencies, we know from Freedom of Information Act requests that the so-called “black budget” is an increasingly massive expenditure subsidized by American taxpayers.
Gen. Wesley Clark has been a busy man since retiring from public service with a plan to make $40 million. In addition to chairing notorious investment bank Rodman & Renshaw, the former NATO allied commander and one-time Presidential hopeful has thrown his face and fame behind a plethora of OTC-listed companies, Bloomberg reports. From grilled cheese sandwich trucks to hydroponic lettuce companies run by the real-life Bud Fox, Clark's name has become so synonymous with doomed penny stocks that one fund manager calls his very appearance on a company board "a red flag."
A couple of days ago a Café member sent me some of the latest commentary by Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Economics, formally of Princeton Economics International. As you will read, he continues his rant against "the gold promoters," a rant that seemed more than vaguely familiar.
What an understatement!
Another Hedge Fund Legend Calls It Quits: Phil Falcone Leaves Harbinger Group, Gets $20.5 Million SeveranceSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/25/2014 09:47 -0500
Another day, another (former) hedge fund legend calls it quits, this time embattled one-time hedge fund legend (until that whole Securities Fraud charge appeared) Phil Falcone, whose Harbinger hedge fund was a decade ago the dream venue for most hedge fund traders and analysts, and who as of December 1, will no longer be CEO and Chairman of the Harbinger Group. But don't cry for Falcone: he will depart with a $20.5 Million lump sum payment. His replacement: the man who has already been intimately involved with Harbinger - Leucadia's Joe Steinberg, who on numerous previous occasions has provided critical funding to the embattled conglomerate.
In reality, there is nothing surprising in Matt Taibbi's latest piece since returning to Rolling Stone from the Intercept, as it tells a story everyone is by now is all too familiar with: a former bank employee (in this case Alayne Fleischmann) who was a worker in a bank's (in this case JPM) mortgage operations group, where she observed and engaged in what she describes as "massive criminal securities fraud" and who was fired after trying to bring the attention of those above her to said "criminal" activity. The story doesn't stop there, and as Carmen Segarra already showed, when she revealed that Goldman runs the NY Fed, once Alayne was let go and tried to "whistleblow" on the house of Jimon from the outside, she found the that US Department of Justice headed by Eric Holder is just as, if not more, corrupt, and in his desperate attempt to prevent discovery and bring JPM et al to justice, he would stretch the statue of limitations on frauds committed during the crisis long enough to where nobody had any legal recourse any more, up to and including the US taxpayer.
At the end of 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve embarked upon a monetary policy so extreme and so reckless that it had to invent a (new) euphemism for what it was doing, since if it simply used the old euphemism, even the puppet-politicians of the U.S. government would have rebelled at this monetary insanity.
- A Month of Bombs Dropped in One Night of Strikes on Syria (BBG)
- Air strikes in Syria hit Islamic State-held areas near Turkey (Reuters)
- Pimco ETF Draws Probe by SEC (WSJ)
- Shadowy al Qaeda cell, hit by U.S. in Syria, seen as 'imminent' threat (Reuters)
- Yellen Warns on Market Calm Before ‘Considerable Time’ Up (BBG)
- Dudley Says Fed Needs U.S. Economy to Run ‘A Little Hot' (BBG)
- Websites Are Wary of Facebook Tracking Software (WSJ)
- Just a joke now: Barclays Fined Twice in One Day for Compliance Failures (BBG)
- Fired UPS worker kills two supervisors, self, in Alabama shooting (Reuters)
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".
Let's take a look at the amount of settlements/fines from various banks and financial institutions around the world since the crisis.
- EU to weigh extensive sanctions on Russia (FT)
- U.S. lifts flight ban to Israel (Reuters)
- Russia says will cooperate with MH17 probe led by Netherlands (Reuters)
- Norway faces ‘concrete and credible’ terrorist threat (FT)
- Don’t Tell Anybody About This Story on HFT Power Jump Trading (BBG)
- But... but... PMI: Unilever Sales Growth Misses Estimates on Asian Slowdown (BBG)
- World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Reviews $8 Billion Russian Stake (BBG)
- Qualcomm latest US tech company to reverse in China (FT)
- Hamptons Home Sales Rise as Buyers Find More Inventory (BBG)
- France's Sarkozy faces corruption probe in blow to comeback hopes (Reuters)
- Ukraine Says Military Offensive Against Rebels Yielding Results (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Investors Show Support for Dimon in Cancer Fight (BBG)
- World’s ATM Moves to Frankfurt as Yellen’s Fed Slows Cash (BBG)
- Argentina Seen Backtracking on Fernandez Vows as Legacy at Risk (BBG)
- Palestinian teen killed in possible revenge attack (Reuters)
- The Bill and Hillary Clinton Money Machine Taps Corporate Cash (WSJ)
- London House Prices Surge the Most Since 1987, Nationwide Says (BBG)
- Last Jew in Afghanistan faces ruin as kebabs fail to sell (Reuters)
It seems crime pays... or "committing crimes, writing about them, having them adapated into a screenplay, and made into an oscar-winning movie" pays. Jordan Belfort, the "Wolf of Wall Street", as Bloomberg reports, expects to make more money this year than he "ever made in his best year as a broker." Having spent 22 months in jail in the 1990s, Belfort comments that 'my goal is to make north of a $100 million so I am paying back everyone this year," and adds some remarkably irresponsbible philosophy given the markets today and the world in which we are told we live in... "Greed is not good. Ambition is good, passion is good." How do we BTFD if we are not greedy?
- Why did Yellen use criminals in her employment case studies? Hilsenrath explainz (Hilsenrath)
- GM avoided defective switch redesign in 2005 to save a dollar each (Reuters)
- Xuzhou Zhongsen Said to Avert Bond Default on Guarantor Aid (BBG)
- France's New Finance Minister Faces Fiscal Challenge (WSJ)
- The magic is gone: Draghi’s Attempt to Talk Down Euro Lost on Traders (BBG)
- Another John Kerry smashing success: U.S. Gambit on Mideast Peace Talks Falters (WSJ)
- Combat-Ready China Military Seen as Xi’s Goal in Graft Battle (BBG)
- Huge earthquake off Chile's north coast triggers tsunami (Reuters)
- Pressure rises on Gross as investors pull $3.1 billion from Pimco's flagship fund (Reuters)
It is perhaps little wonder that Virtu was in such a hurry to use the cover of the JOBS Act to IPO itself before the whole HFT 'game' was exposed. Just 5 years after we first drew the world's attention to the potential damage that HFT could do; and mere minutes after we posted our article on how HFT is being set up to be the scapegoat for all that is broken with the market and conveniently distracting from the Fed, and god, or perhaps his agent on earth Goldman Sachs, 'completely unexpectedly' sends in the FBI:
- *FBI SAID TO PROBE HIGH-SPEED TRADERS OVER ABUSE OF INFORMATION
- *FBI Working With SEC, CFTC in High-Speed Investigation
- *FBI Investigating Whether High-Speed Firms Trade on Nonpublic Information
Now, the question is: how many HFTs will stop trading for fear that any further trading on 'non-public information' will be deemed criminal from this point... or keep trading and lobby/hope that "a reasonable man" will believe their liquidity-providing lies.