` FBI Investigating Possible Insider Trading Involving Billionaire Investor ‘

#AceFinanceNews – WASHINGTON – May 31  – The FBI is investigating possible insider trading involving billionaire investor Carl Icahn, golfer Phil Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler William Walters, reports say.

The inquiry is reportedly examining whether Mr Mickelson and Mr Walters may have traded shares illegally, based on information provided by Mr Icahn.

Mr Mickelson’s lawyers say he is not the target of an investigation. Mr Icahn denies giving out insider information.

Mr Walters has not yet commented.

The FBI, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors in Manhattan, are said to be looking into trading in two different stocks.

The investigation, which began three years ago, is focusing on trades in cleaning products company Clorox.Mr Icahn, a billionaire investor and prominent activist, was mounting a takeover bid for Clorox around the time that Mr Mickelson and Mr Walters placed their trades, the New York Times reports.

“We do not know of any investigation,” Mr Icahn, 78, told Reuters news agency, saying he was proud of his 50-year “unblemished record”.

Investigators are also reportedly looking into trades that Mr Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, and Mr Walters made relating to Dean Foods, the Wall Street Journal reports (pay wall).

The New York Times quotes sources saying federal authorities are looking into trades placed in August 2012 just before the company announced quarterly results.

Those trades appeared to have no connection to Mr Icahn, the newspaper added.

The FBI and other federal agencies have not commented publicly on the allegations.

None of the men have been directly accused of any wrongdoing.

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Elizabeth Warren: “What She Had to Say About JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon”

#AceFinanceNews says on Saturday night at 9:00 PM/EST Bloomberg aired an extra special episode of “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” his guest is none other than Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and she had some fairly blunt things to say about JP Morgan‘s CEO, Jamie Dimon.

English: Wall Street sign on Wall Street

English: Wall Street sign on Wall Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warren was elected on crusading against Wall Street malfeasance, and JP Morgan is Wall Street’s bad boy right now. The bank has paid $20 billion in legal fees to the government over the last year —that’s enough to pay the New York Yankees for 2o years — and just this week paid out $1.7 billion for failing to alert authorities of  their former client, Bernie Madoff‘s infamous decades long Ponzi scheme.

What’s more, knowing that Madoff was a fraud, JPM got rid of their $275 million exposure to Madoff shortly before he was arrested in December 2008.

When asked whether Jamie Dimon should be replaced as a result of these issues, Warren said: “Look, the real question is, do you have somebody who has shown they understand there were problems in the past and that they have a different plan going forward? What JPMorgan Chase and the other large financial institutions have done is they have continued to get bigger and bigger and load up more and more on risk…I’m waiting for him to demonstrate that understanding… And he’s had a long, long time.”

One thing Dimon can understand, however, is the health of his bank. JPM’s shares are up 28 percent over the last 12 months, and analysts expect the bank to have pulled in $23.4 billion in revenues when it reports Q4 earnings next week — a small improvement from Q3, and more than any other big bank.

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OK).

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OK). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So JPM can handle the lawsuits in stride, but Warren cannot. Just this week, after JP Morgan’s settlement, she teamed up with Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to introduce a new bill called the Truth In Settlements Act.

Basically, it would require the Justice Department and other agencies handling settlements against corporations to be transparent about their negotiations, and make agreements easy to find online (you can watch a video of her speech on the floor of the house below).

Under this new law, regulators and law enforcement agencies would still be able to use confidential settlements, but companies would have to disclose how often they are used and why.

Now, since the Justice Department has said that it’s going to continue going after not just JP Morgan, but also other Wall Street banks for issues dating back to the financial crisis, it’s easy to see where Warren’s coming from with this bill. The New York Times reported this week that Wall Street banks could pay up to $50 billion to “buy peace” with the government.

“When you dig below the surface, settlements that seem tough and fair can look like sweetheart deals,” said Warren. “If we expect government agencies to hold companies accountable for breaking the law. Then we the public must be able to keep agencies accountable for enforcing the law. We can’t do that if we’re kept in the dark.”

 

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Using A Sledge Hammer To Crack Credit Card Debt

American Express

American Express (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of all the bad practices of the mortgage boom and collapse, robo-signing was among the worst. Unsubstantiated and at times fraudulent foreclosure documents submitted by banks affected more than a 138,000 US homeowners. Following the great series by the American Banker’s Jeff Horwitz, the NYT‘s Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports that some of the same tactics are being employed collecting credit card debt:

As they work through a glut of bad loans, companies like American Express, Citigroup and Discover Financial are going to court to recoup their money. But many of the lawsuits rely on erroneous documents, incomplete records and generic testimony from witnesses, according to judges who oversee the cases.

Lenders, the judges said, are churning out lawsuits without regard for accuracy, and improperly collecting debts from consumers…

I would say that roughly 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits are flawed and can’t prove the person owes the debt,” said Noach Dear, a civil court judge in Brooklyn, who said he presided over as many as 100 such cases a day.

Americans may be reducing their outstanding credit card debt, but an overhang of unpaid loans remains. And lenders are looking for ways to maximize the value of those loans: JP Morgan is settling claims that it improperly raised minimum credit card payments, and then charged borrowers a fee if they couldn’t pay the new, larger amount. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may force American Express to refund customers who paid for “identity-theft protection services” without actually receiving the services. It has already won $140 million in refunds from Capital One for selling add-on products customers “didn’t understand, didn’t want, or in some cases, couldn’t even use”. That money fully compensated customers for their losses, which is a far better deal than penalizing a firm $4.8 million after costing customers $300 million. – Ben Walsh

#american-express, #brooklyn, #citigroup, #discover-financial, #jeff-horwitz, #lawsuit, #new-york-times, #noach-dear, #united-states