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Tax havens

KPMG Canadian Tax Scheme Suspiciously Similar to UBS Tax Evasion Fraud

Canada is routinely cited as a boring backwater in financial services that has none of the scandals plaguing the rest of the industry. But in an extraordinary investigative report on The National, CBC’s Ian Hanomansing revealed an ongoing Canada Revenue Agency investigation, and a looming criminal investigation into KPMG Canada’s Isle of Man tax “haven” scheme reserved for its wealthiest clients. The report names names. Current Canadian government ministers are also implicated in apparent conflicts of interest.

Investment

More Too Big To Fail Or Jail: 5 Banks Guilty In "Foreign Exchange Fix"

For most people, pleading guilty to a felony means they will very likely land in prison, lose their job and forfeit their right to vote.
But when five of the world’s biggest banks plead guilty to an array of antitrust and fraud charges as soon as next week, life will go on, probably without much of a hiccup.
The Justice Department is preparing to announce that Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and the Royal Bank of Scotland will collectively pay several billion dollars and plead guilty to criminal antitrust violations for rigging the price of foreign currencies, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Most if not all of the pleas are expected to come from the banks’ holding companies, the people said — a first for Wall Street giants that until now have had only subsidiaries or their biggest banking units plead guilty.

Investment

UBS Back In The News: Tax Evasion Scheme, LIBOR, and Arbitrage Fraud

UBS has confirmed it is being investigated by US authorities into whether it helped Americans evade taxes through investments banned in the US. The Swiss bank said US regulators were investigating potential sales of so called “bearer bonds”. These bonds can be transferred without registering ownership, enabling wealthy clients to potentially hide assets. The fresh investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and from the US Securities and Exchange Commission comes after UBS paid $780m (£512m) in 2009 to settle a separate Justice Department tax-evasion probe.

Europe

Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund Drops Coal and Tar Sands Investments

Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), worth $850bn (£556bn) and founded on the nation’s oil and gas wealth, revealed a total of 114 companies had been dumped on environmental and climate grounds in its first report on responsible investing, released on Thursday. The companies divested also include tar sands producers, cement makers and gold miners.
As part of a fast-growing campaign, over $50bn in fossil fuel company stocks have been divested by 180 organisations on the basis that their business models are incompatible with the pledge by the world’s governments to tackle global warming. But the GPFG is the highest profile institution to divest to date.

Global

LIBOR 2: 15 Biggest Global Banks Face New Foreign Exchange Fraud Probe

It appears that international banking fraud and market manipulation continues unabated. The newest scandal brewing involves Swiss, British and American banks manipulating foreign currency exchange rates. The LIBOR fraud scandal has apparently done nothing to improve the ethics of the global financial services industry.
Less than two weeks ago I posted on this blog the revelation that banking authorities in Switzerland had opened an investigation into foreign exchange (arbitrage) fraud by Swiss banks. My report went on to say that the investigation was uncovering implications of broader involvement of banking institutions outside of Switzerland. Today, the Financial Times in London published an explosive article naming 15 global banks now implicated in the expanding investigation of global foreign exchange fraud and manipulation.

Silicon Valley Culture

What's the shrewdest, smartest maneuver you've ever seen in business?

I will sanitize this Silicon Valley story. A very large technical workstation company tried to bully a smaller workstation company I worked for. The big company was OEM’ing the small company’s superior technology. The big company stopped paying their bills, running up a huge delinquent payable amount, believing they could leverage the small company into additional concessions. We met with them secretly over Thanksgiving in our offices. In an arrogant gesture, the big company tried to offer 1/3 of their delinquent payables. We literally threw the very large handwritten check back at them and told them to leave. A week later the full delinquent amount was paid, and they complimented us, saying “nothing had impressed them more, than when we threw the check back at them. The supreme irony was that the two senior execs who had flown from Boston to Silicon Valley to meet with us over the holiday weekend, never bothered to look at our financials before trying their arrogant scheme. We had $65 Million in cash in the bank.”

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