Treasury Department

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Turkey's "200 Tons Of Secret Gold" Trade With Iran: The Biggest, Most Bizarre Money Laundering Scheme Ever?





While Ben Bernanke once said that "gold is not money", it appears China, Dubai, and most especially Turkey and Iran would disagree. On the heels of the "Petrogold" wars we discussed previously, a leaked report of a secret plot to 'juice' Turkey's trade balance exposes gold at the heart of "one of the most complex illicit finance schemes [prosecutors] have seen."

 
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Officials At The Ex-Im Bank Are Under Investigation As It Fights For Survival





Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), the federally-backed bank which has been around since 1934, faces a very serious threat to its survival. The most important aspect of this entire fight is the fact that on opposite sides of the debate are not Democrats versus Republicans, but once again Republicans vs. Republicans. We again see tea party Republicans facing off against establishment RINOs. On one side we hear claims by the tea party wing that the Ex-Im merely serves as a conduit for crony capitalism and favoritism to large corporations, or those willing to bribe officials. On the other side, we see establishment Republicans, who are extremely cozy with mega-corporations, maintaing that the institution plays a crucial role in financing American exports to make them competitive. The battle against the Ex-Im bank, a 80 year old institution, is just another example of the sort of changes that happen in Fourth-Turnings. So what does Barack Obama think of the Export-Import bank? As usual, it depends on who you ask, Presidential-candidate Obama, or President-elect Obama.

 
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Frontrunning: June 13





  • Tea Party struggles to repeat Cantor-style shock in Tennessee (Reuters)
  • Iran Deploys Forces to Fight al Qaeda-Inspired Militants in Iraq (WSJ)
  • Oil Rallies as Militant Advance in Iraq Threatens Crude (BBG)
  • Gold Set for First Back-to-Back Weekly Gain Since April (BBG)
  • Hedge Funds Get Stung by Slow Markets (WSJ)
  • Sterling nears 5-year high after Carney speech (FT)
  • Britain Warns Boom in Real-Estate Prices Threatens Economy (WSJ)
  • East Europe Leaders Urge EU Unity to Counter Russia (BBG)
  • Formula One Said to Be Valued at $8 Billion as Malone Seeks Stake (BBG)
  • Dumb and dumber: Abe Plans Company Tax Cut in 2015 as Kuroda Warns on Budget (BBG)
 
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Scotiabank Asks "Are Treasuries The Only Adult In The Room?"





Treasuries continue to do nothing wrong.  Bullish views on bonds over the past several months have been met with stern opposition; however, several are now beginning to question their defiance.  With such in mind, it is worth reviewing once again some possible explanations behind the bid.  There are many reasons to expect their strong performance to continue (particularly over the next week).

 
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Third Tailing Treasury Auction Concludes This Week's Bond Issuance





Moments ago, the Treasury department concluded its auction activity for the week with the issuance of $29 billion in 7 Year Notes (Cusip WN6), which in keeping with the prior two - 2 and 5 Year - auctions earlier in the week, also had a modest tail: the bond priced at a 2.010% yield (73.9% allocation) compared to a When Issued of 2.009%. Then again, considering the big drop in yield from April, when the same auction priced at 2.32% this is perhaps not too surprising.  Notably, this was the first 7 Year auction tail since December, and is once again notable considering the overall strength of the secondary bond market.

 
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Lessons From Wall Street’s First Crash... In 1792





The New York Fed's historical appreciation society has looked back at what was likely the US' first crash and foud that Alexander Hamilton's actions in 1792 which they claim "appears to have effectively managed the crisis with little or no long-term spillover to the economy," has now become the blueprint for manipulative intervention until this day by the central planners who know far better than 'us' collectively... but there are some lessons that Bagehot has that are worth remembering...

 
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Austerity Strikes The Fed: Boston Reserve Bank Slashes 160 Jobs Due To US Treasury Cost-Cutting





As The Fed tapers and shifts its decision-making process away from rules-based, model-backed strategies in favor of "we'll know when to tighten when we see it" qualitative hand-waving, it seems the need to maintain teams of PhDs - to mutually masturbate over the historical back-fitted effectiveness of their models - is lacking. As The Boston Globe reports, The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston will cut nearly 15% of its workforce - around 160 jobs - in the largest layoff in over a decade... “It’s obviously a tough decision for us and the folks who are here,” Lavelle said. “It’s really about cost and efficiency.” Austerity strikes... (as it turns out the job cuts are due to losing a key customer - The US Treasury!)

 
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Department Of Defense To Study Bitcoin As A "Terrorist Threat"





A division of the U.S. military known as the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), which studies threats to national security (i.e., the status quo’s grip on power) has listed Bitcoin amongst a number of potential terrorist threats. Of course, as we and many others have noted repeatedly, anything which threatens the prevailing criminal status quo will be merely labeled a “terrorist threat” in order to neutralize it. Just in case you aren’t yet convinced of how insane the folks at CTTSO are, “also on the CTTSO’s list of terrorism research topics were Android, Motorola, social media and virtual reality.” What has happened to this country...

 
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Friday Humor: You Can't Make This Stuff Up





20 years in prison... That’s the penalty you could face for traveling to a country the President has labelled to be “of concern”. Sending any form of monetary assistance to people in the country merits further steep penalties.  While something as innocuous as travelling abroad is enough to get the average American 20 years in prison, the government is using your tax dollars to aid terrorism directly… and using YouTube as their auditor. Sounds about right for a terrorist organization whose leader has a Nobel Peace Prize.

 
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The Quest To Freeze "Putin's Billions"





For years, the suspicion that Mr. Putin has a secret fortune has intrigued scholars, industry analysts, opposition figures, journalists and intelligence agencies but defied their efforts to uncover it. Numbers are thrown around suggesting that Putin may control $40 billion or even $70 billion, in theory making him not only the richest head of state in world history but possibly the richest man alive in the world today, period. Now, the quest to track down, and isolate, Putin's billions launches in earnest.

 
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Obama Administration Encouraged Insider Trading





Over the past week the Obama administration leaked material information, in effect allowing and encouraging frontrunning of public data, when it told "asset managers last week that it was planning additional sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine."Bloomberg reports that the meeting, convened a week before talks with Russia in Geneva that ended yesterday, left managers grappling with the question of whether the government intended to follow through, or was trying to trigger asset sales through the threat of sanctions, said the person. Former administration officials have said forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool President Barack Obama has at his disposal in trying to defuse the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

 
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US Pays Half Of Gazprom's Overdue Invoice With $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee





With Ukraine no longer paying for Russian gaz, and with Gazprom making it clear Kiev has to a) first pay the overdue $2+ billion in invoice and then b) prepay some $5 billion in gas until the end of the year of Europe gets it, it was only a matter of time before the US Treasury stepped in and paid off part or all of Gazprom's demands. That time is now, when moments ago Jack Lew announced a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine - very much the same way that the US provided billions in loan guarnatees for the now long overthrown Mursi regime in Egypt. And in other news, many more "costly" and "damaging" US sanctions are surely headed Russia's way any second now.

 
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