When Brad Birkenfeld blew the whistle on UBS, the US government paid him $104M and sent him to jail

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1074

This interview with UBS whistleblower Brad Birkenfeld is as neat a case study in financial corruption as you could ask for: Birkenfeld's disclosures detailed 19,000 US tax evaders, including the bank's super-secretive list of "politically exposed persons," including people who laundered money for terrorists, and the US government threw him in prison (as well as paying him the largest reward in US history), declined to prosecute three quarters of those implicated, and then put him in prison. Read the rest

Wealthy families are most responsible for American wealth segregation

Mount_Tabor_New_Schoolhouse,_1914

Inequality in Children’s Contexts, USC Sociologist Ann Owens's paper in American Sociological Review (Scihub mirror), investigates the factors that contribute most to the unequal lives of wealthy and poor American children, and concludes that the single most significant factor is the neighborhood that the children's parents live in. Read the rest

Wells Fargo, who preyed on black borrowers, sponsors Black Lives Matter luncheon

Wells Fargo has been widely criticized for its predatory, deceptive practice of targeting black mortgage borrowers with subprime mortgages (whose teaser rates ballooned into unsustainable long-term rates after a few years), rather than offering those borrowers much cheaper and better mortgages that would not have led to widespread bankruptcy, foreclosure, and the destruction of hardworking families' live savings. Read the rest

Anonymous Analytics: self-proclaimed Anon "faction" that tanks companies through stock reports

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1067

Anonymous Analytics describes itself as "a faction of Anonymous" that uses its "unique skills to expose fraud and corruption among public companies." Read the rest

Judge OKs potentially lethal lawsuit against the world's largest banks

3729453412_3c96f8f78b_o

The biggest banks in the world have admitted to rigging LIBOR, a key interest rate that determines the value of trillions of dollars' worth of assets -- they paid billions in fines as a result. Read the rest

Banker implicated in one of history's biggest frauds says boss beat him with a tiny baseball bat

animation (1)

Jonathan Mathew is one of the bankers at Barclays who participated in the Libor rigging fraud, which cost people all over the world trillions of dollars in higher payments on mortgages, government bonds, student loans, and other assets totalling $350 trillion. Read the rest

German publishers owe writers €100M in misappropriated royalties

262325976_b48da5e66e_b

In Germany, media that can make or store copies (drives, copiers, blank optical discs) is subject to a "private copying levy" that is meant to compensate rightsholders for the works that will be copied to it (in return, the levy confers a limited right to make those copies to the purchaser). Read the rest

Chelsea Clinton's husband shuts down vulture fund after losing 90% of his investors' money

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1063

Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky is a Goldman Sachs alumnus; in 2014, he founded Hellenic Opportunity, a hedge fund that raised $25M to bet on distressed assets from Greece's collapsed economy, wagering that the country's investors would force it to make deeper cuts to finance payments on the debts. Read the rest

Panama Papers whistleblower issues statement, naming and shaming failed states and institutions

160403-overview-01

"John Doe," the mysterious whistleblower who released the largest-ever leak of confidential documents in world history -- papers from the Panamanian law firm Mossack-Fonseca, a key player in the offshore dark money industry -- has published their first-ever public statement. Read the rest

Community college evicts daycare center to make room for Goldman Sachs

15680359902_1b93d9890f_o

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo -- a former venture capitalist who invested state funds with hedge funds during her tenure as state treasurer -- invited Goldman Sachs to set up a partnership with the Community College of Rhode Island, then kicked out the college's daycare center to make room for Goldman staffers to work. Read the rest

Data-driven look at America's brutal, racist debt-collection machine

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1056

In 1996, New Jersey's courts heard 500 debt-collection cases; in 2008, they heard 140,000 cases, almost all against black people, almost all of whom were not represented by lawyers. The cases were filed by vulture capitalists who bought the debt for pennies on the dollar and employed "attorneys" who filed up to 1,000 cases a day, "reviewing" each one for about four seconds. Read the rest

Deep Insert skimmers: undetectable, disposable short-lived ATM skimmers

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1053

NCR reports in-the-wild sightings of "deep skimmers" (tiny, disposable card-skimmers that run on watch batteries and use crude radios to transmit to a nearby base-station) on ATMs around the world: "Greece, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States." Read the rest

Norway's titanic sovereign wealth fund takes a stand against executive pay

Norges_Bank_Kirkegata

When Norway -- historically one of the poorest countries in Europe -- struck oil in the North Sea, the country put the proceeds into a "sovereign wealth" fund that invested it in other industries and used the returns to pay for an extensive welfare state that has given Norwegians one of the highest standards of living in the world. Read the rest

Fantasy accounting: how the biggest companies in America turn real losses into paper profits

EnronStockPriceAugust2000toJanuary2001.svg.png

Lax enforcement from the SEC has allowed the biggest companies in America -- 90 percent of the companies in the S&P 500, led by the faltering energy sector -- to ignore the "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" (GAAP) in presenting their financial information to investors, manufacturing nonexistent profits in quarters where they suffer punishing losses. Read the rest

The Gimmick Economy: how central banks pretend software isn't eating the world

F27f91779c955572c62cdfce76da73129c20f86d-m (1)

Mathematician/economist Eric R Weinstein is managing director of Thiel Capital, but that doesn't mean that he thinks capitalism has a future. Read the rest

Hackers take $81 million from Bangladesh's central bank by pwning its $10 second-hand routers

2890262414_47dd52dd85_b

The central bank of Bangladesh lost $81M in a digital heist whose perpetrators have not been caught, thanks in large part to the bank's decision to run its computers without a firewall, and to run networking with second-hand cheapie routers it sourced for $10 each. Read the rest

UK Chancellor exempts families of "Politically Exposed Persons" from money laundering scrutiny

animation (4)

George Osborne, the Tory chancellor of David Cameron's UK government, has amended the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill to exempt the families of "Politically Exposed Persons" -- Members of Parliament and other elites -- from money laundering investigations. Read the rest

More posts