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

Wuhan virus puts airlines on high alert around the world

Here’s a good explainer from Reuters on the airline industry’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak so far. If the virus spreads becomes a pandemic, this could impact world financial markets as did SARS in 2003. Read the rest

Trump and Apple's Tim Cook to meet at Davos

Impeached phony president and utter turd of a man Donald Trump will attend a breakfast meeting on Wednesday at Davos with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Reuters reports. Read the rest

BLS to remove computers from data 'lockups,' chief denies it's aimed at Michael Bloomberg

The U.S. Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today announced changes to BLS economic data “lockup” procedures that involve removing a number of legacy computers from its Washington newsroom, effective March 1. There has been controversy around whether the change initiated today by the federal government under Donald Trump may have been aimed at Michael Bloomberg, which BLS denies. It's complicated. Read the rest

Court case lays bare KPMG's crimes: poaching employees from its own regulators and making them steal government secrets

Capitalism has a foundational dependence on auditors -- outside entities who evaluate companies' claims about their financial state so that investors, suppliers and customers can understand whether to trust the companies with their money and business -- but those auditors are paid by the companies they're supposed to be keeping honest, and to make matters worse, 40 years of lax antitrust enforcement has allowed the auditing industry to contract to a four gigantic firms that openly practice fraud and abet corruption, with no real consequences. 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

The retreat of "scientific selfishness," a literature review

Neoclassical economics was built on the straw-man of "homo economicus," an inherently selfish utility-maximizing actor, and since the mid-1970s, we've been building systems and institutions that take this kind of sociopathic behavior for granted. Read the rest

Mint: late-stage adversarial interoperability demonstrates what we had (and what we lost)

In 2006, Aaron Patzer founded Mint. Patzer had grown up in the city of Evansville, Indianaa place he described as "small, without much economic opportunity"but had created a successful business building websites. He kept up the business through college and grad school and invested his profits in stocks and other assets, leading to a minor obsession with personal finance that saw him devoting hours every Saturday morning to manually tracking every penny he'd spent that week, transcribing his receipts into Microsoft Money and Quicken. Read the rest

Terabytes of data leaked from an oligarch-friendly offshore bank

The Distributed Denial of Secrets Twitter account has published links to terabytes of data identified as raw data from the Cayman National Bank and Trust; Phineas Fisher (previously), the public-interest hacker(s) behind the Hacking Team breach, is credited with the leak. Read the rest

The poorest half of Americans have nothing left, so now the 1%'s growth comes from the upper middle class

The Fed's latest figures on American household wealth paint a rosy picture -- in the aggregate. US households now own a record-breaking $107T worth of assets! Read the rest

Goodbye Libra, hello Facebook Pay

A new proprietary online payment system for WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook launches today, exactly two weeks after all the payment companies dropped out of Libra. 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

"The People's Money": A crisp, simple, thorough explanation of how government spending is paid for

Modern Monetary Theory is an economic paradigm that treats money as a utility that governments issue and tax in order to mobilize resources needed to provide the services that the public wants; it explains why some kinds of government spending leads to inflation while other kinds do not, and how sovereign states use different levers to control inflation, even when they're spending extraordinary sums, as in WWII. Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg to testify before House Financial Services Committee on Facebook's 'Libra' cryptocurrency

The House Financial Services Committee has asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook's planned Libra cryptocurrency, and he will do so on October 23. Read the rest

What happened to the 2008 bailout money?

In 2008, Congress authorized a $700b bailout of the finance sector, with almost no strings attached (notably, the bailout did not require banks that were receiving public subsidies to abstain from foreclosures or penalties for the members of the public who had just bailed the banks out). Read the rest

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