Monday, December 13, 2010

10-12-14 Welcome Taiwan - Last New Visitor! // Bienvenido Taiwán - Visitante Mas Reciente // 欢迎台湾 - 最后的新访问者!

Last New Visitor

Visited December 14, 2010

10-12-13 Detention seems to be the US plan for Assange, and international objection to it is growing... // La detención parece ser el plan de EE.UU. para Assange, y objeción internacional es cada vez mayor ...// 拘留似乎是为阿桑格美国的计划,并国际反对,越来越多的...

Information Clearing House Newsletter
News You Won't Find On CNN
December 13, 2010

Assange attorney: Secret grand jury meeting in Virginia on WikiLeaks: "it does seem to me that what we have here is nothing more than a holding charge." The United States just wants Assange detained, he said, so "ultimately they can get their mitts on him."
Media chiefs throw support behind WikiLeaks: Some of Australia's most senior media professionals, including bosses of major newspapers, television networks and websites, have written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard to express their support for WikiLeaks.
Rudd prepared to intervene for Assange: Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has defended the legal rights of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who's preparing to face court in London.
Why did I back Julian Assange? It's about justice and fairness: Even my mother asked why I would stand surety for an alleged rapist. I was there because I believe this is about censorship

10-12-07 Bank of America Settles Bid Rigging Case // Bank of America llega a un acuerdo manipulación de licitaciones de caso // 美国银行落户串通投标案

Bank of America settles municipal bid-rigging accusations

December 7, 2010 | 10:35 am

Bank of America is paying $137 million to settle government accusations that it paid kickbacks to win business from municipal governments.

Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank, is paying $36 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and $101 million to other government authorities, the SEC said in a statement.

The settlement stems from a wide-ranging federal investigation into the mechanisms through which banks won business from municipal clients. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank cooperated with authorities in exchange for leniency. In settling, the bank neither admitted nor denied the accusations.

The settlement comes a few months after a former Bank of America banker pleaded guilty to taking part in schemes to underpay municipalities for lucrative investments. Employees at a number of other big banks have previously pleaded guilty.

At the center of the bid-rigging probe is a Beverly Hills-based firm, CDR Financial Products Inc., which was indicted by a grand jury last fall.

CDR is accused of taking kickbacks from banks in order to steer municipal investments to the banks. According to the SEC, the kickbacks allowed the banks to pay governments less than they would have otherwise for governement investments.

“The conduct was egregious -– in return for business, the company repeatedly paid undisclosed gratuitous payments and kickbacks and affirmatively misrepresented that the bidding process was proper,” said Robert Khuzami, head of enforcement at the SEC.

-- Nathaniel Popper

Facing Civil Suits

JPMorgan, UBS, a unit of General Electric Co. and a former subsidiary of Belgian bank Dexia SA have also reported in regulatory filings that they face civil suits by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies say they are cooperating with the government.

Varney declined to provide details on the continuing probe. Bank of America is the largest U.S. lender by assets.

The investigation centers on investment agreements that municipalities enter into with money raised through bond sales. The so-called guaranteed investment contracts let them earn a return on the funds until the cash is needed for schools, roads or other public works. The U.S. Treasury Department encourages competitive bidding to ensure that localities get market rates.

Prosecutors have said that favored bankers got inside information from brokers who handled bidding for the contracts so they could carve up the market. In some cases, bankers admitted paying kickbacks to brokers.

“I had conversations prior to the bid with the broker about who the bidders were going to be and who was going to win or lose,” Campbell, the former Bank of America executive, told a federal judge when he pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, according to a court transcript.

Leniency Program

Bank of America, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been helping the Justice Department in return for leniency in the case. The bank was the first to self-report illegal activity and won’t be prosecuted as long as it continues to cooperate with the government, Varney said.

“The bank’s participation in the leniency program has also resulted in today’s resolution to address the harm caused by its wrongdoing,” Varney said in yesterday’s statement. “As a result of its voluntary disclosure of its anticompetitive conduct and its ongoing cooperation, Bank of America will not be required to pay penalties as a part of the agreements.”

Since the 1990s, the Antitrust Division’s leniency program has been a major boon in helping federal investigators uncover criminal cartels, according to antitrust lawyers. Lacking the program’s protection, banks that are found to be part of the conspiracy likely will pay much higher fines, Gavil said.

CDR Case

In the case against one firm, Los Angeles investment broker CDR Financial Products Inc., prosecutors say it included more than 200 deals involving about 160 state agencies, local governments and nonprofits from California to Pennsylvania.

Three former CDR employees pleaded guilty to charges this year and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Three others have entered not guilty pleas. CDR itself is scheduled to go on trial in September on related conspiracy charges, according to the Justice Department.

CDR faces a fine of as much as $100 million, if convicted, the government has said. In a statement on its website in October 2009, the company said the charges are “without merit and in fact, a total fiction based on a lack of understanding of the municipal reinvestment market.”

Restitution Payments

Bank of America agreed to pay $67 million in restitution directly to states from California to Connecticut, and another $70 million to the SEC, the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to statements from the agencies and states. Varney said the bank’s agreement covers activity from at least 1997 through 2002. The SEC said the bank neither admitted nor denied its findings in agreeing to settle a related securities-fraud complaint.

“Bank of America is pleased to put this matter behind it and has already voluntarily undertaken numerous remediation efforts,” the company said yesterday in a statement.

The bank wasn’t the leader or organizer of the bid-rigging conspiracy, according to the Justice Department. The bank agreed to pay disgorgement and interest ranging from $8,418 for Missouri’s development finance agency to $6.2 million for Massachusetts, according to the SEC.

Over the next few months, 20 state Attorneys General and Bank of America will work together to select an administrator and identify municipalities who may have a claim against the bank, said Jim Finefrock, a spokesman for Jerry Brown, California’s attorney general and governor-elect.

Those who submit claims release Bank of America from other civil restitution, according to documents released by Brown’s office.

Eight one-time bankers and financial advisers, including former employees of UBS, JPMorgan and Bank of America, have pleaded guilty in connection with the municipal bid-rigging probe.
To contact the reporters on this story: Jeff Bliss in Washington at; Martin Z. Braun in New York

Additional evidence of criminality by Bank of America and its senior officers:

[1] 10-05-05 Countrywide, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and its President Brian Moynihan - Compilation of Records - Evidence of Racketeering:

[2] 10-05-05 Chairs of US Congress Committees of the Judiciary and Banking Are Requested to Join Senator Feinstein’s Inquiries on Comptroller of the Currency and US Dept of Justice Inspector General:

[3] 10-06-11 Complaints Filed with Office of Comptroller of the Currency and SEC against Countrywide, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Brian Moynihan - alleging fraud and extortion on Dr Zernik, fraud on shareholders, on banking regulators, and on the US taxpayer:

[4] 10-06-19 Wright v Bank of America et al (5-10-cv-01723) at the US Court, Northern California: Racketeering Alleged by Brian Moynihan and Bank America:

[5] 10-07-06 Complaint Filed with US Attorney Office, Los Angeles, Against Brian Moynihan, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Bryan Cave LLP, Alleging Racketeering and Large Scale Financial Institution Fraud:

10-12-13 Welcome United Kingdom - Last New Visitor! // Bienvenido Reino Unido - Visitantes Mas Reciente! // 欢迎英国 - 最后的新访问者!

Last New Visitor

United Kingdom
Visited December 13, 2010