By Don Quijones: Two years ago, Mariano Rajoy rode a wave of public anger to victory in Spain’s general election. The man who could never win anything was suddenly gifted the closest any politician can hope to get to absolute power in an ostensibly democratic society.
Entries in Corruption (38)
Gagging Doubt: French Crackdown On French And American Bloggers Who Question Megabank Balance Sheets
France’s Financial Markets Authority slapped fines on two bloggers, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Chevallier and American Mike “Mish” Shedlock, “for having spread inexact information about the level of indebtedness” of megabank Société Générale. Instead of going after banks, bank regulators are going after bloggers! It's more convenient.
By Chriss Street: Away from the cameras and the media scrum, the first political casualty of the President’s disastrous launch of Obamacare is a bipartisan Congressional revolt against crony capitalists’ effort to pass the clandestine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty.
Now “trade agreements” are negotiated behind sealed doors, without public oversight, beyond the reach of Congress. The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is secret, but some sections were leaked. It deals with trade only on the margins. Corporate interests dominate. It mocks democracy, establishes kangaroo courts, and taxpayers are on the hook.
Dan Dicker, Oil & Energy Insider: Manipulations and fraud in the capital and commodity markets: Now four traders from my old home, the NYMEX, are suing BP, Shell, Statoil, and Vitol Group for collusion and manipulating Brent oil trades to fix reported prices.
By Don Quijones: Whatever you might read in the news these days, it’s not all doom and gloom in Spain. For a certain segment of the population, albeit quite a small one, life has never been better. They include Rodrigo Rato, the man who many blame for the biggest bankruptcy in Spanish history.
By Don Quijones: The Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy, steeped in a huge corruption scandal, took his unique brand of leadership onto the international stage, including the UN – with the most interesting results. While he was at it, he gave an interview on Bloomberg that quickly spiraled into such a disaster that he begged Bloomberg not to publish it. Oh my
By Don Quijones: If Spain and Catalonia were playing real, rather than figurative, Russian Roulette, the revolver would be loaded with two or three bullets. Now an extra one was slipped into a chamber: prize-winning economist Juan Valerde announced that Madrid may have to “bomb Barcelona” in order to put a halt to the region’s rising separatist aspirations.
By Don Quijones: Spain’s government plumbed new depths of political chicanery and incompetence this week when it openly admitted that it had tampered with evidence in the Bárcenas affair, a corruption case implicating many of its senior ministers.
Chicago CEO Club, With Rahm and Pritzkers on Board, Pushed for Chicago Bond Downgrade, Whacking Local Investors and Pension-Holders
By Yves Smith: Even more so than most cities, Chicago has had the best government money can buy. In this case, the money is willing to engage in a scorched-earth policy of crushing local investors and wrecking the city budget to achieve its end of taming unions and making Chicago even easier pickings for looting via infrastructure sales.
By Chriss Street: The FBI confirmed that a Task Force from the FBI, the IRS, the District Attorney’s Office, and the US Attorney’s Office is investigating political campaign corruption in Orange County, California. A Democrat Attorney General targeting Republican politicians in America’s most Republican county? Um, the District Attorney on the Task Force is a Republican. No, this is real.
Contributed by Chriss Street: The IRS scandal heated up when Greg Roseman, a Contracting Officer and Deputy Director of the IRS, took the Fifth to dodge questions by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that wanted to determine if he fraudulently steered $500 million in IRS computer contracts to a tiny outfit fronting for IBM.
Contributed by Don Quijones: Just when you thought the concept of universal justice was dead, a courageous Spanish judge, Elpidio José Silva, did what no other judge in the Western world, bar Iceland, dared to do: He refused to grant bail to a former top banker, sending him to prison before facing trial for his alleged role in Spain’s financial crisis.
Contributed by Chriss Street: Premier Washington DC criminal attorney William W. Taylor III of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP announced that his new client Lois G. Lerner, the now infamous Director of the IRS Tax-Exempt Organization Division, will exercise her right against self-incrimination. She’ll pay him $2,000 per hour. Scandal, a bonanza for DC lawyers.
The average Cypriot household had a phenomenal net worth of €670,900 in 2010 – over three times that of German households. That wealth had been sucked out of the cesspool of corruption that the banks and the government were, until neither had a drop of lifeblood left. Now the party is over. And you can almost hear the snickering among European politicians.
France might not even notice if the Eurozone fell apart—that’s how tangled up it is in the Jérôme Cahuzac fiasco that blew up with phenomenal effect. Former Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy were dogged by investigations and trials that laid bare misdeeds they personally had been involved in. By contrast, the Cahuzac fiasco doesn’t implicate President François Hollande. Not yet. But it’s tearing up his government.
“The government imposed the income tax burden in the first place,” said former California Republican legislator Tom Campbell about the process of filing tax returns. “So if it wants to make it easier, for heaven’s sake, why not?” But two companies that sell tax preparation software and services have been lobbying tooth and nail against making it easier—and won.
Contributed by Don Quijones: Italy has Beppe Grillo. But with European governments reeling from self-inflicted crises, and the euro debacle descending into a tragi-comic farce, one wonders who the real clowns are – especially here in Spain, where ministers gorge themselves on the public purse, leaving behind a trail of evidence so obvious that even the mainstream media can’t ignore it.
Contributed by Chriss Street. The SEC determined that Illinois violated Federal Securities Laws by misstating the financial condition of its depleted pension funds when it sold $2.2 billion in bonds from 2005-2009. After a historical failure to fund the pension systems, it exposed the State to an $83 billion unfunded liability. Former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich was unable to comment. He was in prison.