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; Crédit Agricole and Société Générale 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.
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.
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.