` United States to sell `Strategic Petroleum Reserves ' for the first time since the Gulf War '

#AceFinanceNews The Obama administration plans to sell 5 million barrels, or less than 1 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, calling the move a test of the petrol distribution system.

The last time this happened was in August 1990 before the first Gulf War.

“Due to the recent dramatic increase in domestic crude oil production, significant changes in the system have occurred — including pipeline expansion, construction of new infrastructure, reversed flow of existing pipelines and increased use of domestic crude oil terminals,” William Gibbons, the US Energy Department spokesman said in a statement.

The government rejected a connection with the turmoil in Ukraine or other geopolitical events.

On Thursday the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for April delivery fell by 2.3 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It’s the biggest drop in two months.

WTI crude has a high sulfur content, similar to oil exported from Russia.

The large sale might be a test of the US system’s readiness for a hiccup in Russian supply, analysts suggest.

“The timing of this makes it seem like a warning shot across the bow towards the Russians,” the Financial Times quotes Michael Wittner, the head of global oil research at Société Générale in New York.

Reuters – Financial Times – AP

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` United States Tax-Payers foot the bill in ` Interest Payments ' for ` US Debt ' owned by `Top Four Technology 'firms '

#AceFinanceNews United States taxpayers make large interest payments to the top four technology firms for the $163 billion in US government debt the companies own and shelter in tax-free offshore accounts.

United States taxpayers make large interest payments to the top four technology firms for the $163 billion in US government debt the companies own and shelter in tax-free offshore accounts.

Apple, Cisco Systems, Google, and Microsoft legally hold $124 billion in US Treasury securities and $39 billion in US government agency debt in accounts overseas, allowing them to avoid the 35 percent (maximum) corporate tax rate in the United States, according to US Securities & Exchange Commission reports.

Together, the companies would be the 14th biggest overseas holder of Treasury securities, just ahead of countries like Norway, Singapore, and India.

“If a US multinational puts its offshore cash into a US bank and uses the money to buy US treasuries, stocks and bonds, those funds ought to be treated as having been repatriated and subject to US tax,” Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations told the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

RT – News Sources

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` Ukrainian Oligarch `Dmitry Firtash ‘ Arrested in Vienna – Reports

#AceFinanceNews – Austria has arrested one of Ukraine’s richest men, Dmitry Firtash, at the request of the US, which has been investigating him since 2006, Reuters reported, citing government sources.

The Federal Crime Agency on Thursday identified the suspect only as Dmitry F., 48, but government sources said it was Firtash.

“Based on years of investigations by the US FBI and an arrest warrant issued by a US federal district court, Vienna prosecutors issued a national order to detain the businessman,” the agency said.

He was suspected of bribery and forming a criminal organization in the course of foreign business deals.

There was no immediate confirmation from the FBI or US Justice Department.

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