August 9, 2012 archive

Sleeping with the Enemy

see Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The LIBOR scandal continues to rattle the banking industry revealing the fraud that has gone unchecked by regulators in the US and Europe. The latest scandal that is now rocking international banking involves billions of dollars that were laundered by the British bank, Standard Charter, for Iran:

Standard Chartered bank ran a rogue unit that schemed with Iran’s government to hide more than $250bn (£160bn) in illegal transactions for nearly a decade, according to a scathing report by New York regulators that may put intense pressure on the management of the UK-based bank.

According to the report filed by the New York state department of financial services (NYSDFS), when warned by a US colleague about dealings with Iran, a Standard Chartered executive caustically replied: “You f—ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians.” [..]

The 27-page report claims that Standard Chartered bankers helped Iranian clients skirt US financial sanctions against their country for nearly a decade.

Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the NYSDFS, said a Standard Chartered subsidiary in New York had also sought to do business with other US-sanctioned countries, including Libya, Burma and Sudan.

It is the latest blow to the reputation of the City, already criticised in Washington following the HSBC money-laundering debacle and JP Morgan’s multibillion-dollar trading losses at its London office. [..]

The New York regulator has provided emails between members of Standard Chartered staff. In one the head of the US operations warned, among others, the executive director of risk in London, that the dealings with Iran could cause “very serious or even catastrophic reputational damage” to the group.

The email, dated October 2006, warned: “There is equally importantly potential of risk of subjecting management in US and London (e.g. you and I) and elsewhere to personal reputational damages and/or serious criminal liability.” It was this memo that provoked the response about “you f—ing Americans”.

But it wasn’t the Treasury Department or the Federal Reserve that dropped the bomb with these charges, it was  Benjamin Lawsky, the New York Superintendent of Financial Services. Yves Smith at http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=free-propecia-from-online-drugstore-uk naked capitalism asked yesterday, “where were the Feds?

The lack of action by everyone ex the lowly New York banking supervisor is mighty troubling. The evidence presented in Lawsky’s filing is compelling; he clearly has not gone off half cocked. Why has he pressed forward and announced this on his own? The Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence has supposedly been all over terrorist finance; the consultants to that effort typically have very high level security clearances and top level access (one colleague who worked on this effort in the Paulson Treasury could get the former ECB chief Trichet on the phone). For them not to have pursued it anywhere as aggressively as a vastly less well resourced state banking regulator, particularly when Iran is now the designated Foreign Enemy #1, does not pass the smell test.

At a minimum, this lack of sufficient inquisitiveness on behalf of the Feds would the bank snookered them by being terribly forthcoming (as in it was responding only to specific inquiries, and then as narrowly as possible). But click here it raises the more troubling specter that Federal regulators (oh, and the US Department of Justice) wanted to keep this all quiet so as not to lead to embarrassing headlines. Although there is nothing in the filing to point to failure to act by the New York Fed, which was presumably the lead party in the 2003 sanctions against SCB (indeed, it says specifically that SCB deceived Federal regulators), the flip side is there would be only downside to Lawsky in doing anything that would make Fed or Treasury think he was trying to make then look bad.

There was a huge furor in the UK over who among the banking regulators knew what when on the Libor scandal. If our Congresscritters are at all worth their salt, they ought to be putting Geithner and the relevant folks at the New York Fed under the hot lights. We’ll see soon enough how the Fed and Treasury play this. If they don’t launch parallel actions pronto, it will be a damning sign as to where they think their, and perhaps most importantly, Geithner’s, interests lie.

At emptywheel, Mary Wheeler, wondered as well why the Superintendent of Financial Services is policing our Iran sanctions?

Normally, we’d see accusations like SFS released today from Treasury’s OFAC (Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence), perhaps (for charges as scandalous as these) in conjunction with the NY DA and/or a US Attorney. And yet OFAC has had these materials in hand for 2 years, and has done nothing.

In fact, we have a pretty good idea what OFAC’s action would look like, because earlier this year it sanctioned ING for actions that were similar in type, albeit larger in number (20,000 versus 60,000) and far larger in dollar amount ($1.6 billion involving Cuba versus $250 billion involving Iran). Both banks were doctoring fields in SWIFT forms to hide the source or destination of their transfers. [..]

My wildarsed guess, in this case, is that http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=canadian-levitra-generic-buy-online we have an understanding with our allies that they’ll allow us to require the rest of the world to comply with our sanctions so long as it doesn’t affect that country’s businesses. That is, I suspect countries like Britain are happy to comply with our sanctions so long as British banks don’t lose competitive advantages as a result. Of course, these sanctions are different that-say-our stupid Cuba sanctions in that the UK is as enthusiastic about sanctioning Iran into docility as the US is, and this scheme is all about retaining lucrative business with Iran.

But we may never learn what reason that is, click here because that would make things uncomfortable for the entities that claim there is rule of law for banks while they ensure that usually is not the case.

But no matter, the Feds are now upset with Lawsky who had the cajones to do what they were obviously trying to cover up. Barry Ritholtz at Economonitor points out that Lawsky has virtually declared the Treasury and Federal reserve as “too corrupt” to handle this:

   “Pursuant to the statutory powers vested in him by the People of the State of New York . . . [and] extensive investigation included the review of more than 30,000 pages of documents, including internal SCB (Standard Chartered Bank) e-mails that describe willful and egregious violations of law.

  comprare viagra generico 50 mg a Firenze For almost ten years, SCB schemed with the Government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions, involving at least $250 billion, and reaping SCB hundreds of millions of dollars in fees. SCB’s actions left the U.S. financial system vulnerable to terrorists, weapons dealers, drug kingpins and corrupt regimes, and deprived law enforcement investigators of crucial information used to track all manner of criminal activity.

   –NYS Department of Financial Services

Benjamin Lawsky, head of the New York State Department of Financial Services, has declared that the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve is “too corrupt” to be involved in NY’s actions against money launderers and Iran sponsors at Standard Chartered bank.

At least, that corruption is what was implied by his actions (note those are my words, not his). Lawsky refused to give Tim Geithner or Ben Bernanke or anyone else at Treasury or the Fed any advance notice of pending legal/regulatory actions. Sorry, Treasury, he seemed to be saying, but your track records preceded you. [..]

This Treasury Department, like the one that preceded it, along with Congress and the White House, have proven themselves to be utterly incapable of overseeing the banking industry. Rather than adhere to this betrayal of the public trust, Mr. Lawsky decided to do something amazing: He actually followed the law. The rest of the regulatory sector should take note.

Have a read of the paragraph at the top of this page to see how prosecution of banking felons and their crony capitalist allies is supposed to be done.

We live in the Banana Republic formerly known as the United States. Its time to turn this nation back into a Democracy . . .

Let’s hope that Mr. Lawsky doesn’t cave to pressure like NY State Attorney General Eric Scneiderman did.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=price-of-generic-levitra-in-mexico Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

A New View of Tofu

Spiacy Tofu Marinade

If you’re stuck in a summer heat wave and can’t imagine firing up the stove, think tofu. Enjoy it cold, with dipping sauces or in a sandwich. This week I’m presenting a selection of sauces, which you can make up in advance and have on hand in the refrigerator. You might want to sear or grill the tofu first, but I am even more likely to enjoy my tofu uncooked, spread with or dipped into a sauce. It provides high-quality protein in a very light package that’s just right for hot summer days. Even the sodium in these recipes may be welcome if you are dealing with very hot weather.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

FOOD’s Amazing Cilantro Tofu Sandwich

This hearty sandwich consists of tofu dipped in a delicious cilantro-spiked marinade, briefly baked, then topped with a roasted corn relish.

Tofu With Peanut-Ginger Sauce

This sweet and pungent mixture also makes a nice dip for crudités or spring rolls.

Tofu With Hot Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Don’t throw out the spicy adobo that canned chipotles are packed in: It gives this dish a real kick.

Spicy Tofu Marinade

This mixture works as a marinade or dipping sauce for pan-seared, grilled or plain cold tofu.

Tofu With Orange Miso Peanut Sauce

Pomegranate molasses, a Middle Eastern food, is a guest star in this otherwise Asian production.

On This Day In History August 9

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning follow Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past source site “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

August 9 is the 221st day of the year (222nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 144 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1974, one day after the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as president, making him the first man to assume the presidency upon his predecessor’s resignation. He was also the first non-elected vice president and non-elected president, which made his ascendance to the presidency all the more unique.

Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. As the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, when he became President upon Richard Nixon’s  resignation on August 9, 1974, he also became the only President of the United States who was elected neither President nor Vice-President.

Before ascending to the vice-presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as Representative from Michigan’s 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader.

As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward detente in the Cold War. With the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, US involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Domestically, Ford presided over what was then the worst economy since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. One of his more controversial acts was to grant a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During Ford’s incumbency, foreign policy was characterized in procedural terms by the increased role Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb on the powers of the President. In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but ultimately lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems and being admitted to the hospital four times in 2006, Ford died in his home on December 26, 2006. He lived longer than any other U.S. president, dying at the age of 93 years and 165 days.

Cartnoon

The first of five encounters (collect them all) between Bugs and Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius.  This initially appeared here on April 7, 2011.

Operation: Rabbit

Late Night Karaoke

My Little Town 20120808: The Forbes Dynasty

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

From the 1880s to the Great Depression Hackett was a booming town.  Coal drove the economy, but there was significant agriculture as well.  Coal was king, though.  Hackett coal is ideal for making http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=viagra-generico-200-mg-italia-pagamento-online-a-Roma coke, basically the coal counterpart of charcoal.  Coke was and still is used in enormous quantities to produce steel, and during The Gilded Age the steel mills were running at capacity.

Not just any coal will make suitable coke.  The particular kind of bituminous coal found at Hackett is ideal for coking and hundreds of men mined it there.  There were rail lines to carry it away and it found its way up north to the steel mills.