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Links 23/7/2010: Bank Fraud in Retrospect, Wikileaks Hunt

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


  • The background to the Gray and Hilton libel case

    At about 2pm this afternoon the High Court will rule on whether the libel claim against Labour bloggers John Gray and Alex Hilton can be struck out for abuse of process.

    My friend Robert Dougans, who of course acted for Simon Singh, is formally representing Alex Hilton, and I am in turn one of the lawyers helping Robert Dougans.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Can’t Say It Dodged This F-Bomb: Jonathan Weil

      While the Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud lawsuit against Goldman Sachs may be over, the myths about what’s contained in the settlement agreement seem to have taken on a life of their own.

      There’s been so much misinformation floating around on this subject that it’s time to set the record straight. Contrary to many reports over the past week, the SEC didn’t back off any of its fraud allegations. Nor will Goldman be allowed to deny the SEC’s harshest accusations. Yet over and over, articles and analyst reports keep popping up asserting otherwise.

    • Did Goldman Sachs Get Off Easy? NYT Editorial

      Next is the more disturbing question: Did the S.E.C. let Goldman off too easy? As has been widely noted, the $550 million settlement, which has been approved by a federal judge, is chump change compared with Goldman’s bonus pool, and less even than Goldman’s depressed second-quarter profits.

    • Goldman to sell benchmark-size 5-year notes – IFR

      Benchmark offerings are typically at least $500 million in size. No timing was given for the deal.

    • Goldman Sachs reaches $60 million securities settlement with Missouri

      The investment firm of Goldman Sachs will repurchase up to $60 million in auction rate securities from Missouri investors who were caught up in the market meltdown in early 2008.

      The settlement was announced Wednesday by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. This marks the 15th auction rate settlement in Missouri leading to the reimbursement of more than $1.5 billion for investors.

    • Morgan Stanley’s Pay Set-Aside Climbs as Goldman Sachs’s Falls

      Morgan Stanley, buoyed by rising revenue, set aside 37 percent more money to pay employees in the first half of 2010 even as rivals Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank lowered their compensation expenses.

    • Pay Czar to Cite Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi: Report

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc are among those Obama administration pay czar Kenneth Feinberg will cite for having made “ill-advised” payments, the Wall Street Journal reported on its web site on Thursday.

    • Goldman Sachs Spends 40 Percent More On Lobbying In Second Quarter

      As Goldman Sachs faced arguably one of its most challenging quarter in decades — on several fronts, from SEC charges and lagging profits to financial regulatory reform and renewed scrutiny of all its activities — the firm increased its spending on lobbying by almost 40% in the second quarter of 2010 and has already spent almost as much in the first half of this year as it did in all of 2009.

      In its most recent lobbying report filed last night, Goldman spent $1.58 million to influence Congress and the White House on a host of issues including Wall Street reform — specifically derivatives regulation, bank tax and financial risk management — the much-debated unemployment benefits extension, municipal finance, small business funding, climate change legislation and transportation funding.

    • Who Really Won in Goldman Sachs’ Settlement With the SEC?
    • Daniel Dravot, Goldman Sachs, and the SEC

      Goldman is not a mere mortal king but has been viewed in some circles as a god on Wall Street. Unfortunately, when Goldman kissed Paulson, the latter bit and the former bled; and now Goldman is astride the rope bridge, bejeweled and crowned but imperiled as the SEC hacks away.

    • Goldman’s Go-Round

      When Goldman Sachs released its first-quarter results in April, its strong profits were overshadowed by news of a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing the firm of fraud in a sale of mortgage-related securities. When it released its second-quarter results on Tuesday, its plunging profits — down 82 percent from the same period a year earlier — overshadowed the $550 million it paid to settle the S.E.C. case last week.

    • Federal Report Faults Banks on Huge Bonuses

      With the financial system on the verge of collapse in late 2008, a group of troubled banks doled out more than $2 billion in bonuses and other payments to their highest earners. Now, the federal authority on banker pay says that nearly 80 percent of that sum was unmerited.

    • Goldman Sachs Said to Give AIG-Hedging List to Investigators

      The list was sought by panels reviewing the beneficiaries of New York-based AIG’s $182.3 billion government bailout, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information is private. Goldman Sachs, which received $12.9 billion after the 2008 rescue tied to contracts with the insurer, has said it didn’t need AIG to be rescued because it was hedged against the firm’s failure.

    • SEC Inspector General Expands Probe to Include Goldman Sachs Settlement

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s internal watchdog said he will expand his probe into whether politics drove an agency lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to include the timing behind a $550 million settlement with the company.

    • Pimco Hires Goldman Sachs’s Gordon in Emerging Stocks

      Pacific Investment Management Co., the bond-fund firm that last year began a push into equities, hired Maria Gordon from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s asset- management unit to start an emerging-market stocks group.

      Gordon was head of the emerging-markets equity team at Goldman Sachs Asset Management in London, where she oversaw about $8 billion in assets, the Newport Beach, California-based firm said in a statement. Gordon, who plans to join in October, will eventually run a group of four to six people and will be based in London.

    • Fairfield, Madoff, Goldman, BP, UBS in Court News

      Fairfield Greenwich Group co-founder Walter Noel was sued by the trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s firm as part of an amended lawsuit that names 43 new defendants.

      Noel and the other defendants worked with Madoff and his firm “to commit, and exponentially expand, the single largest financial fraud in history,” trustee Irving Picard said in the complaint filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. “Every dollar the defendants purportedly ‘earned,’ and every dollar they kept to unjustly enrich themselves, was stolen money.”

    • Goldman Sachs Resort & Casino

      Goldman Sachs is proud to announce a consumer-enriching expansion from the hallowed halls of Wall Street to the glittering neon of Las Vegas. In addition to continuing our world-class wealth-friendly Private Wealth Management and Personal Banking services; our internationally-recognized client-focused Global Investment Research services; our award-winning, growth-facilitating Debt Financing teams, we are excited to unveil plans for the globally diversified, entertainment-enhanced, Goldman Sachs Lounge & Casino, perfect for both the high roller, and the high-net-worth individual, financial institution, corporation and/or government.

    • The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It

      While Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $550 million to resolve a civil fraud lawsuit filed by the SEC, Goldman has not been held accountable for many of its other questionable investment practices. A new article in Harper’s Magazine examines the role Goldman played in the food crisis of 2008 when the ranks of the world’s hungry increased by 250 million. We speak to Harper’s contributing editor Frederick Kaufman.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Assange No-Show at Hacker Conference

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was a no-show at the annual New York City hacker conference HOPE, after five Homeland Security agents turned up the day before he scheduled to speak.

      After an army intelligence analyst blew the whistle and leaked 150,000 State Department classified diplomatic cables and an aerial attack video to Wikileaks, conference organizers warned in June that Assange, a scheduled keynote speaker, might not turn up if hew wanted to avoid detention.

    • Top earning Tory: ban protests to save money

      In the past controversial plays have had to be shut down because the police did not want to bear the costs of policing the protests.

      With Boris increasingly displaying authoritarianism – banning Democracy village and threatening motorcycle protesters – it looks increasingly like the Tories aren’t as enthusiastic about civil liberties as they’ve claimed.

    • Comment: Labour must repent on civil liberties

      The term ‘progressive’ is a pernicious and treacherous thing. It is not a belief system. It doesn’t denote a series of beliefs or policies. It is a sentiment, a vague allusion. It translates as ‘leftish’. Its political usefulness lies in this absence of meaning, allowing right-wingers to attract moderates without actually committing to any specific proposals.

  • Net Neutrality

    • No need for net neutrality action, says UK regulator

      SNIPPET: While US telcos, politicians, user rights activists and big media companies have spent the past three years wrangling, tussling, lobbying and shouting about net neutrality, the issue has never caused much trouble elsewhere.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • P2PU Call for Courses

      The Peer 2 Peer University is gearing up to launch its third cycle of courses this coming September, and we’re looking for new faces to join the community. Do you have an idea for a six week course? Whether it’s Physics 101 or Poker and Strategic Thinking, all ideas are welcome. You can propose a course at http://wiki.p2pu.org/Create-a-Course (deadline is August 6, 2010).

    • Copyrights

      • Barry Sookman Works For The Canadian Recording Industry Association

        For the last six months I’ve been calling on Barry Sookman to disclose who he was working for. Barry claims that his blog is his personal thoughts. I claim that everyone is affected by their friends and relatives, their work, and other contacts, and that therefore his employer has an affect on his blog, and must be disclosed.

        Barry has avoided the issue. He knows that I know who he is working for. He knows that if I can get him to publicly state who he is working for, I can do damage to his cause, and therefore his best option was to say nothing (which is an oddity in it’s own right – Barry is ever more verbose than I am), while I continue to pretend that I don’t know who he’s working for, and that I can’t find out who he’s working for.

        But the cat is now out of the bag. A comment was made on the blog, and I decided to let it stand. Barry Sookman works for the Canadian Recording Industry Association.

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