Banking, Finance & Services
JP Morgan, the Wall Street investment bank, has been fined $920 million for violating trading laws that were discovered after trader Bruno Iksil (nicknamed the "London Whale") lost billions in bets last May. It was also fined over $80 million for credit card scams in an unrelated incident.
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.
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.
The FBI has just released an ad featuring the fictional character Gordon Gekko from the "Wall Street" films to target insider trading. Increasingly, however, it seems that Scotland Yard needs a similar campaign for the City of London, which has become the center for the mantra "Greed is Good."
Dahabshiil, a Somali money transfer company, has won a temporary reprieve from Barclays, the last major bank to allow remittances to Somalia. The agreement comes just as a new report estimates that African expatriates lose $1.8 billion a year in transfer fees to companies like Moneygram and Western Union.
KENNETH L. LAY and his second in command, Jeffrey K. Skilling, were the public faces of Enron, painting a rosy picture of strong profits and healthy businesses. But as the facts began to tumble out, in the fall of 2001, the company swiftly collapsed, taking with it the fortunes and retirement savings of thousands of employees.