‘ Bank of America Offers to pay £13 Billion to Settle Investigation into its Sales of Mortgage-Backed Securities ‘

#AceFinanceNewsUNITED STATES (Wall Street) – July 16 – Bank of America has offered to pay $13 billion to settle an investigation into its sales of mortgage-backed securities (MPA) 

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Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported that the bank met with the Justice Department Tuesday. The meeting did not yield any progress toward a final deal, however.
Bank of America had previously offered $12 billion to settle the probe. The DOJ countered with a $17 billion settlement, according to Reuters.Talks between the bank and the government have been acrimonious. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan requested to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder last month to hash out a deal, but Holder refused, saying the parties were too far apart for the talks to be productive.

At $13 billion, the bank’s offer would equal the payoutagreed to last year by JPMorgan. That settlement was the largest with a single entity in US history.
JP Morgan

(IBTimes October 20 2013) Reported that JPMorgan has agreed to pay one of the largest financial penalties in history after sealing a tentative $13bn deal with the US Department of Justice to put an end to a raft of government mortgage product related probes.According to sources cited by Reuters, although JPM has reached a bumper deal with authorities, the investment banking giant is not free of criminal liability and will have to continue to cooperate in criminal inquiries into individuals involved in the conduct at issue.At the beginning of the month, JPM’s  chief executive Jamie Dimon met US Attorney General Eric Holder to thrash out an original $11bn (£6.8bn, €8bn) deal to end the raft of mortgage-securities investigations in the investment bank.The bank already stumped up nearly $1bn in fines related to the London Whale trading scandal, which has cost the bank billions of dollars in legal losses.

On the same day JPM was ordered to refund $300m to customers after US regulators ruled that two million clients were harmed by the bank’s debt collection and other credit card practices.

Regulators also said that there were errors in the way the investment bank pursued customers through the court. However the refund order is not a fine, so regulators and prosecutors can still slap JPM with financial penalties in the future.

Only a few days ago, JPM revealed being hit by $9.2bn worth of legal expenses which resulted in the US banking giant posting its first ever quarterly loss under chief executive Dimon.

The legal expenses, which worked out as $7.2bn after taxes, include money JPM is setting aside for future settlements with authorities.

“While we expect our litigation costs should abate and normalise over time, they may continue to be volatile over the next several quarters,” said Dimon in a statement.

JPM was not ready to avail for comment at the time of publication. 
 

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` 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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` Standard Chartered Exiting `Certain Countries Banking and Investment Areas`due to slowdown of Emerging Markets’

#AceFinanceNews says that `Standard Chartered Bank ‘is seeking to sell about six units in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday citing people familiar with the matter.

Standard Chartered global presence 2007

Standard Chartered global presence 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Asia-focused bank is in “advanced talks” to offload Standard Chartered Savings Bank and Standard Chartered Capital in South Korea, the WSJ said, but gave no details of any potential buyer.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

The newspaper added that the divestment’s were “mostly small” and would also comprise Standard Chartered’s Lebanese retail bank, its Hong Kong consumer-finance business PrimeCredit, its German consumer bank and its Swiss private bank.

According to the WSJ, the deals are part of the bank’s efforts to combat an emerging markets slowdown and worries about its financial health.

Standard Chartered will publish its annual results on Wednesday.

The London-based bank generates 90 percent of its profit in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

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“Four Latin Countries have`Signed a Treaty to Eliminate Tariffs’ on 92 Percent of Goods & Services”

#AceFinanceNews says “Four Latin American Countries’ have agreed an $85 billion `Free-Trade-Deal”

Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico have signed a treaty to eliminate tariffs on 92 percent of goods and services. The Pacific Alliance is free trade area of some 210 million people, accounting for more than a third of all Latin American and Caribbean GDP.

Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico have signed a treatyThe move is a big step towards strengthening the countries’ position alongside the strong neighbouring trade pactMercosur which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

This translates into more investment, more competitiveness and as a consequence, more employment, and good quality employment. This is the fundamental purpose of this whole exercise,” the Wall Street Journal quotes Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos.

Morgan Stanley estimates an average 4.25 percent growth for the new alliance this year, or about $85 billion. At the same time many economists forecast a shrinking Venezuelan economy, weak 2 percent growth for Brazil, along with Argentina falling into recession.

Besides establishing strong economic connections, the deal will also create a fund to finance infrastructure investment and a medicines price monitoring and leverage system.

The Pacific Alliance, founded in June 2012, has set a vital goal to increase trade with fast-growing Asian nations.

Accounting for 50 percent of the population of Latin America the union is ready for further expansion. Costa Ricaapplied for membership at the VIII Summit of the Pacific Alliance. Panama and Guatemala have also expressed interest in becoming members.

 

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