South Dakota Republicans want to block anti-bribery measure that limits lobbyist "donations"

South Dakota voters approved a ballot measure that would limit the amount of money state politicians could receive from lobbyists and other donors, capping "gifts" at $100 annually; now, Republicans in the SD government are seeking to block it, with an emergency resolution, a court challenge and an appeal to the governor. Read the rest

"Work ethic": Minutes from 2011 meeting reveal Federal Reserve bankers making fun of unemployed Americans

The Federal Reserve Board, charged with maximizing employment in America, sets interest rates and takes other measures to achieve this goal; because of public records laws, we get to look in on their deliberations five years after the fact. A recently released transcript, dating from the depths of America's unemployment crisis in 2011, reveals that Board members selected by American business (as opposed to those members appointed by the President) mocking unemployed Americans as being uneducated, addicted to drugs, and having a poor "work ethic." Read the rest

The Department of Labor's Wells Fargo whistleblower site has disappeared

Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, the Department of Labor's whistleblower site -- for Wells Fargo employees who wanted to report fraud in the ongoing scandal affecting millions of Americans -- disappeared. Read the rest

China's capital controls are working, and that's bursting the global real-estate bubble

More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest

19 crooks, 7,000 false identities, 1,800 drop addresses, and $200 million in credit card fraud

The New Jersey DA's office just announced that it had arrested New York's Habib Chaudhry in connection with a $200M credit-card fraud; Mr Chaudhry joins 19 others who've pleaded guilty to the frauds. Read the rest

Harvard announces mass firing of its hedge-fund managers

Harvard has the world's largest university endowment, $35.7B, so much money that Thomas Piketty used its public investment records as a proxy for the likely investment returns of the super-rich in his Capital in the 21st Century. Read the rest

Accounting fraud admission wipes £5.5b off BT's valuation

The former UK national phone company BT announced that it's writing down the value of its Italian operation by £530m because it has been committing accounting fraud for years, triggering a mass sell-off of its shares, wiping £5.5b off the company's valuation. Read the rest

98% of Bitcoin trading volume over the past six months was in Chinese Renminbi

In case you were wondering why Bitcoin experienced a crazy spike recently: China's economy is a hyperinflated bubble, poised to burst and the Chinese central bank is depreciating the Renminbi -- so China's wealthy are getting their cash out of the country as fast as they can, using any means necessary: suing themselves, spending huge whacks of cash while on vacation, and converting it to Bitcoin (this is especially urgent now that the Canadian real-estate money laundry is shutting down) -- this is just the latest salvo in the Chinese capital flight story. Read the rest

Obama's legacy: eight years of not holding executives criminally responsible for their companies' misdeeds

The most remarkable criminal justice story of 2017 is that the FBI has arrested a real corporate criminal, a VW executive who tried to engineer a coverup of the Dieselgate scandal, and that he might go to jail -- it's remarkable because the Obama administration spent eight years resolutely not sending criminal executives to jail, preferring instead to let their corporations buy their way out of criminal sanctions with huge fines, a doctrine pioneered by Obama Attorney General Eric Holder back when he worked for Bill Clinton's administration. But while Clinton rejected this idea, Obama put it into practice. Read the rest

New Senator from California can't explain why she didn't prosecute Trump's Treasury pick when she was AG

Kamala Harris was just sworn in as a senator from California, but her last gig was as California's Attorney General, and in that role, she decided not to prosecute Trump Treasury Secretary pick Steve Mnuchin, whom her office had identified as presiding over "widespread misconduct" in foreclosing on Californians -- that is, stealing their houses. Read the rest

China's anti-money-laundering rules could burst Canada's real-estate bubble

China has adopted stringent new anti-money-laundering rules that will make it nearly impossible for small investors -- for example, middle-class families who pool their savings -- to get their money out of the country in order to buy condos in Canada's superheated property market (not just Canada, of course!). Read the rest

€9m Russian loan to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is called in

The Russian Bank Deposit Insurance Agency has demanded repayment by French National Front leader Marine Le Pen -- daughter of open neo-Nazi and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen -- of €9m borrowed from the First Czech-Russian Bank, which is now defunct. Read the rest

The average FTSE 100 boss earns as much in 2.5 days as his (yes, his) median employee earns in a year

The great recession and austerity have been very good to the chief executives of Britain's biggest companies: according to the High Pay Center, the average compensation for FTSE 100 CEOs rose 10% in 2015, to £5.5m -- meanwhile, UK workers' wages have stagnated year on year, averaging £28,200. Read the rest

Bank fraud investigations assisted by bankers' emails saying 'Please don't talk about this illegal thing in email'

Morgan Stanley's pre-crisis fraudulent mortgage activity cost the firm $2.6B in federal fines, $550m in New York state fines, and $22.5M in Illiois state fines -- and part of the evidence against it is emails from high-ranking bankers telling their subordinates not to talk about the criminal stuff in email, because it could get them all in trouble. Read the rest

Hedge fund managers' sports car ownership predicts their unwise risk-taking

In "Sensation Seeking, Sports Cars, and Hedge Funds" Three business school researchers analyze a huge data-set of previous and current hedge-funds that have been hand-matched with the vehicle-ownership records of the funds' managers and analyze the data to see if the ownership of a "performance car" correlates with a hedge fund manager's willingness to take risks, and whether those risks pay off. Read the rest

Uber's VAT-avoidance means it owes millions to EU states and will face huge cuts to future EU profits

The 2015 UK Employment Tribunal case that determined that Uber drivers were employees means that Uber will have to give the UK government 16.67% of its drivers' earnings for Value-Added Tax, going back four or more years (that would be £20M for 2015 alone); and the ruling will likely apply to Uber's EU-wide rules (because VAT rules are harmonized across the EU) -- so not only does Uber owe hundreds of millions to EU governments for the past 4+ years' earnings, but it will face a 16.67% (or more) reduction to all future earnings. Read the rest

Companies' self-devouring buyback spree is finally slowing down

Stock buybacks are the preferred form of financial engineering in corporate America, through which companies borrow like crazy and give the money to their shareholders, artificially increasing their earnings-per-share ratio, massively reducing real economic growth, while enriching a tiny number of already-wealthy investors: but buybacks may finally be coming to an end. Read the rest

More posts