Showing posts with label Citigroup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Citigroup. Show all posts

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Solon.com: Your mortgage documents are fake!



MONDAY, AUG 12, 2013 04:58 AM PDT
Your mortgage documents are fake!
Prepare to be outraged. Newly obtained filings from this Florida woman's lawsuit uncover horrifying scheme (Update)
BY DAVID DAYEN
http://www.salon.com/2013/08/12/your_mortgage_documents_are_fake/

Your mortgage documents are fake!
Lynn Szymoniak (Credit: CBS News/60 MInutes)

If you know about foreclosure fraud, the mass fabrication of mortgage documents in state courts by banks attempting to foreclose on homeowners, you may have one nagging question: Why did banks have to resort to this illegal scheme? Was it just cheaper to mock up the documents than to provide the real ones? Did banks figure they simply had enough power over regulators, politicians and the courts to get away with it? (They were probably right about that one.)

A newly unsealed lawsuit, which banks settled in 2012 for $95 million, actually offers a different reason, providing a key answer to one of the persistent riddles of the financial crisis and its aftermath. The lawsuit states that banks resorted to fake documents because they could not legally establish true ownership of the loans when trying to foreclose.

This reality, which banks did not contest but instead settled out of court, means that tens of millions of mortgages in America still lack a legitimate chain of ownership, with implications far into the future. And if Congress, supported by the Obama administration, goes back to the same housing finance system, with the same corrupt private entities who broke the nation’s private property system back in business packaging mortgages, then shame on all of us.

The 2011 lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in both North and South Carolina, by a white-collar fraud specialist named Lynn Szymoniak, on behalf of the federal government, 17 states and three cities. Twenty-eight banks, mortgage servicers and document processing companies are named in the lawsuit, including mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and Bank of America.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sydney Morning Herald:
The four business gangs that run the US





http://m.smh.com.au/business/the-four-business-gangs-that-run-the-us-20121230-2c1e2.html

The four business gangs that run the US

ROSS GITTINS December 31, 2012
Illustration: Michael Mucci.

IF YOU'VE ever suspected politics is increasingly being run in the interests of big business, I have news: Jeffrey Sachs, a highly respected economist from Columbia University, agrees with you - at least in respect of the United States.

In his book, The Price of Civilisation, he says the US economy is caught in a feedback loop. ''Corporate wealth translates into political power through campaign financing, corporate lobbying and the revolving door of jobs between government and industry; and political power translates into further wealth through tax cuts, deregulation and sweetheart contracts between government and industry. Wealth begets power, and power begets wealth,'' he says.

Sachs says four key sectors of US business exemplify this feedback loop and the takeover of political power in America by the ''corporatocracy''.

First is the well-known military-industrial complex. ''As [President] Eisenhower famously warned in his farewell address in January 1961, the linkage of the military and private industry created a political power so pervasive that America has been condemned to militarisation, useless wars and fiscal waste on a scale of many tens of trillions of dollars since then,'' he says.

Second is the Wall Street-Washington complex, which has steered the financial system towards control by a few politically powerful Wall Street firms, notably Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and a handful of other financial firms.

These days, almost every US Treasury secretary - Republican or Democrat - comes from Wall Street and goes back there when his term ends. The close ties between Wall Street and Washington ''paved the way for the 2008 financial crisis and the mega-bailouts that followed, through reckless deregulation followed by an almost complete lack of oversight by government''.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Prosecutors, Regulators Close to Making Libor Arrests



Exclusive: Prosecutors, regulators close to making Libor arrests

REUTERS http://goo.gl/tgLs1

By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan and Philipp Halstrick
Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:18pm EDT

(Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors and European regulators are close to arresting individual traders and charging them with colluding to manipulate global benchmark interest rates, according to people familiar with a sweeping investigation into the rate-rigging scandal.

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., have recently contacted lawyers representing some of the individuals under suspicion to notify them that criminal charges and arrests could be imminent, said two of those sources who asked not to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

Defense lawyers, some of whom represent individuals under suspicion, said prosecutors have indicated they plan to begin making arrests and filing criminal charges in the next few weeks. In long-running financial investigations it is not uncommon for prosecutors to contact defense lawyers for individuals before filing charges to offer them a chance to cooperate or take a plea, these lawyer said.

The prospect of charges and arrests of individuals means that prosecutors are getting a fuller picture of how traders at major banks allegedly sought to influence the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, and other global rates that underpin hundreds of trillions of dollars in assets. The criminal charges would come alongside efforts by regulators to punish major banks with fines, and could show that the alleged activity was not rampant in the banks.

"The individual criminal charges have no impact on the regulatory moves against the banks," said a European source familiar with the matter. "But banks are hoping that at least regulators will see that the scandal was mainly due to individual misbehavior of a gang of traders."

In Europe, financial regulators are focusing on a ring of traders from several European banks who allegedly sought to rig benchmark interest rates such as Libor, said the European source familiar with the investigation in Europe.

The source, who did not want to be identified because the investigation is ongoing, said regulators are checking through emails among a group of traders and believe they are now close to piecing together a picture of how they allegedly conspired to make money by manipulating the rates. The rates are set daily based on an average of estimates supplied by a panel of banks.

"More than a handful of traders at different banks are involved," said the source familiar with the investigation by European regulators.

There are also probes in Europe concerning Euribor, the Euro Interbank Offered Rate.

It is not clear what individuals and banks federal prosecutors are most focused on. A top U.S. Department of Justice lawyer overseeing the investigation did not respond to a request for a comment.

Reuters previously reported that more than a dozen current and former employees of several large banks are under investigation, including Barclays Plc, UBS and Citigroup, and have hired defense lawyers over the past year as a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., continues to gather evidence.

The activity in the Libor investigation, which has been going on for three years, has quickened since Barclays agreed last month to pay $453 million in fines and penalties to settle allegations with regulators and prosecutors that some of its employees tried to manipulate key interest rates from 2005 through 2009.

Barclays, which signed a non-prosecution agreement with U.S. prosecutors, is the first major bank to reach a settlement in the investigation, which also is looking at the activities of employees at HSBC, Deutsche Bank and other major banks.

The Barclays settlement sparked outrage and a series of public hearings in Britain, after which Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond announced his resignation from the big British bank.

The revelations have raised questions about the integrity of Libor, which is used as benchmark in setting prices for loans, mortgages and derivative contracts.

Adding to concerns are documents released by the New York Federal Reserve Bank this month that show bank regulators in the United States and England had some knowledge that bankers were submitting misleading Libor bids during the 2008 financial crisis to make their financial institutions appear stronger than they really were.

Among other details, the Fed documents included the transcript of an April 2008 phone call between a Barclays trader in New York and Fed official Fabiola Ravazzolo, in which the unidentified trader said: "So, we know that we're not posting um, an honest LIBOR."

The source familiar with the regulatory investigation in Europe said two traders who have been suspended from Deutsche Bank were among those being investigated. A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment.

The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that regulators we're looking at suspected communication among four traders who had worked at Barclays, Credit Agricole, HSBC and Deutsche Bank.

Credit Agricole said it had not been accused of any wrongdoing related to the attempted manipulation of Libor by Barclays, but had responded to requests for information for various authorities related to the matter.

Beyond regulatory penalties and criminal charges, banks face a growing number of civil lawsuits from cities, companies and financial institutions claiming they were harmed by rate manipulation. Morgan Stanley recently estimated that the 11 global banks linked to the Libor scandal may face $14 billion in regulatory and legal settlement costs through 2014.

In the United States, the regulatory investigation is being led by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which has made the Libor probe one of its top priorities.

(Reporting by Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan in New York and Philipp Halstrick in Frankfurt, with additional reporting by Emily Flitter in New York and Aruna Viswanatha in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Alwyn Scott and Maureen Bavdek)