"A piece of shit": Government report on Wells Fargo corruption shows top executives' direct complicity in millions of acts of fraud

Last week, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency handed down stiff penalties for John Stumpf (previously) who was CEO of Wells Fargo during its scandal-haunted decade, during which time it stole from rich people, poor people, veterans, active-service military personnel, homeowners, small businesses, etc, as well as 2,000,000 ordinary customers who had fraudulent accounts opened in their names in order to bleed them of transaction fees, sometimes at the expense of their good credit and even their financial solvency. Under the deal, Stumpf will have to pay $17.5m in fines and cannot ever work in finance again (don't worry, he's still a multi-multi-multi millionaire). Read the rest

The cum-ex scam stole $60b from European tax authorities: it's monumentally boring, complicated, and very, very important

Cum-ex (previously) is a technical, boring financial engineering technique that lets fraudsters file multiple tax-refund claims for the same stock transactions (they called it "dividend arbitrage"); from 2006-2011, the EU's largest, most respectable banks, law firms, and investors used the scam to steal $60,000,000,000. Read the rest

Jamie Dimon is a (highly selective) socialist

Jamie Dimon (previously) is the Jpmorganchase CEO who committed a $13b mortgage fraud and whose company received $25B in TARP bailout money, $500B in low-cost federal loans, and billions more through the bailout of their insurer, AIG. Read the rest

Wells Fargo's ex-CEO will pay $17.5m in fines and never work in banking again (but he is still very, very rich)

When John Stumpf (previously) was CEO of Wells Fargo, he oversaw a string of scandals including literally millions of acts of bank fraud, and still managed to walk out of the business with millions in bonuses and no criminal prosecutions. Read the rest

Citing the Panama Papers, Elizabeth Warren proposes sweeping anti-financial-secrecy rules

The whistleblowers who brought us The Paradise Papers and The Panama Papers risked their freedom and even their lives (Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated for reporting on the stories). Years later, financial secrecy havens are still on the rise, and it's easy to think that all that blood and treasure thrown at ending money laundering and corruption was wasted. Read the rest

American health care's life-destroying "surprise bills" are the fault of local, private-equity monopolies

Surprise billing -- when your urgent or emergency medical care results in massive bills that your insurer won't cover -- are a life-destroying phenomenon for an increasing number of Americans, who not only can't shop around for an emergency room from the back of an ambulance, but who also have no way to learn in advance whether their visit will generate five- or even six-figure bills. Read the rest

How the British left should seize this moment to strip finance of its political clout

In 1977, Nicholas Ridley, a Tory MP in Margaret Thatcher's government, wrote The Ridley Plan, a kind of shock doctrine manual that the Thatcher government followed in its program of mass-privatisations, attacks on trade unions, and the "stealth" privatisation of the NHS. Read the rest

Davos in the Desert is back, and banks and hedge fund managers are flocking to Mister Bone-Saw's side

"Davos in the Desert" is Saudi Arabia's charm offensive aimed at global financial elites, but its launch last year was marred by its close proximity to the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, carried out at the personal behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who styles himself a progressive reformer. Read the rest

Rep Katie Porter: an Elizabeth Warren protege and single mom who destroys bumbling, mediocre rich guys in Congressional hearings

In 2018, Katie Porter flipped a Republican safe seat -- it had literally never been held by a Democrat-- in California's 45th District, and since then, she has been a delightful, brilliant terror of a lawmaker, using her deep background in finance law (she's a tenured finance law prof at UC Irvine who literally wrote the textbook on consumer finance law in the wake of Dodd-Frank and Elizabeth Warren's establishment of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau). Read the rest

Trial begins for the "cum/ex" bankers accused of stealing €447m and trying for €60b

You know that late-stage capitalism is upon us when a financial scandal targeting €60 billion in fraud against public treasuries is lost in the noise of other scandals. Read the rest

A deep dive into Elizabeth Warren's plan to tame private equity

Yesterday, I published a brief analysis of Elizabeth Warren's plan to close the loopholes that allows private equity to defraud investors, creditors and workers to make billions while destroying the real economy. Read the rest

In 2008 "synthetic CDOs" destroyed the global economy, and now they're back

"Collateralized Debt Obligations" (CDOs) are a financial derivative that is a kind of bond that pays out based on revenue generated by a pool of assets: for example, a giant hedge fund might buy thousands of homes whose owners went bankrupt and suffered through foreclosure, and then rent them out at the highest possible rent with the least possible maintenance, and this generates thousands of revenue streams. Small slices of the revenue streams from many properties are pooled together into individual CDOs and these are sold to investors: when you buy one of these, you get a little bit of the rent from each of the tenants in the hedge-fund's holdings (other assets can be pooled together too, like payments on car loans, student loans, etc etc). Read the rest

Chase's idiotic poverty-shaming "inspirational" tweet, and Twitter users' magnificent responses thereto

Every Monday, some poor "brand ambassador" at Chase has to post a "Monday motivation" tweet aimed at convincing people that one of America's largest, most rapacious banks is actually a cuddly, responsible business whose $12 billion bailout from Uncle Sam was perfectly justifiable and sure to be put to excellent use. Read the rest

Wells Fargo is looking for a new CEO

Wells Fargo is America's largest bank and it also leads the nation's banks for scandals, having stolen from rich people, poor people, veterans, active-service military personnel, homeowners, small businesses, etc, as well as 2,000,000 ordinary customers who had fraudulent accounts opened in their names in order to bleed them of transaction fees, sometimes at the expense of their good credit and even their financial solvency. Read the rest

France fines UBS €3.7b for helping rich French residents launder more than €10b

Swiss banking giant UBS has been hit with the largest fine in French history: €3.7b, the result of a 7-year investigation of the bank's role in helping the wealthiest French citizens hide €10b from tax authorities. The fine is more than ten times larger than the next-largest fine in French history, when HSBC paid €300m over its wrongdoing. The fine represents 92% of the bank's 2018 profits. Read the rest

Bank lobbyists are scared to meet with AOC because she might humiliate them on Twitter later

A "lobbyist for a major bank" told Reuters that they're afraid to meet with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who now sits on Congress's Financial Services Committee, because "anything you do or say can be used against you" -- the lobbyist likened meeting with AOC to "going in to talk to the FBI." Read the rest

Stock art for a new Gilded Age

From Spitalfields Life, a scanned set of "elegant cartoons of Regency bankers from 1824 by Richard Dighton in the archive at the Bishopsgate Institute testify," in the public domain and perfect for contemporary stock art for pieces about late-stage capitalism, clueless billionaires, the corrupting influence of wealth, and all those other zeitgeisty subjects. Read the rest

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