Banking, Finance & Services
Ten major U.S. banks settled charges of illegally kicking people out of their homes for pennies on the dollar, under two agreements with the government. The biggest beneficiary is Bank of America which will win a get-out-of-jail free card for selling fraudulent loans to the government.
UBS, the Swiss bank, is being investigated by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission for failing to carry out adequate due diligence before working on share offerings for several Chinese companies. The bank says that it is at risk of being suspended from doing business in the city.
Protests at the 2012 annual general meetings of companies may rank as the most diverse, widespread and sizeable in history. They have been bolstered not just by Occupy activists outside but also by institutional investors inside who have started a "shareholder spring" against excessive CEO pay.
A cache of secret documents has thrust HSBC, the world's second largest bank, into the limelight for helping international clients dodge taxes. A series of articles published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is finally pushing reluctant governments to act almost eight years after the original leaks.
British Petroleum said yesterday that it did not have external insurance to cover the damage caused to its Texas City refinery in the US, where an explosion killed 15 people.
The midterm elections are days away, but the winners are virtually certain: the corporations and conservative operatives like Karl Rove who have taken advantage of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling to establish a well-heeled "shadow party" of networked trade associations and G.O.P. front groups.