Banking, Finance & Services
A new CorpWatch report shines a light on the role of six major banks in Greece, Ireland and Spain in the EuroZone crisis. "The EuroZone Profiteers" profiles Commerzbank, Depfa and Westdeutsche Landesbank from Germany; CrÃ©dit Agricole and SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale from France; together with Dexia - a Franco-Belgian financial institution.
The company that bought AIDS patient M. Smith's life insurance policy in the 1990s was betting she wouldn't live more than two years. Now it's trying to weasel out of its contract because her being alive is starting to cut into their profit margin.
During the final, desperate days before it entered bankruptcy proceedings, MF Global executives took money from segregated customer accounts - money that belonged not to MF Global but to the farmers and commodities traders that were its clients - and used it to prop up its rapidly collapsing business. Nor was this petty cash: of the $6.9 billion in customer assets that MF Global held, a stunning $1.6 billion is missing. There is virtually no chance that the full amount will ever be recovered.
Finance sector invests heavily in candidates When former Texas Senator Phil Gramm came out of the Tavern on the Green one recent August morning, his disposition turned edgy. Now a vice chairman of the Swiss financial corporation UBS, he had just left his colleagues at the Financial Services Roundtable breakfast. He wasn't keen on talking to waiting journalists, certainly not to the CorpWatch team.
There's one group of people who should be giving thanks daily for the Enron scandal: the partners of KPMG, one of the Final Four accounting firms. That's because the fallout from Enron is what allowed KPMG to extract a favorable settlement from the Justice Department last week. The firm agreed to fork over less than a year's profit in return for not being indicted on a zillion counts of cheating the government by peddling sleazy, dishonest tax shelters for six years.
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.