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Since this broadcast was made, there have been a number of other suspicious deaths in the financial industry, set forth in this post. 
Introduction: One of the surreal, almost hallucinatory financial instruments that were at the center of the 2008 financial collapse were CDO’s–collateralized debt obligations. As a number of legal investigations into mischief apparently committed by major financial institutions on a number of fronts have gained momentum, there has been a rash of suicides linked to the businesses under investigation. Both JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank  have been the focal point of more than one of these investigations. Both have experienced the “suicides” of current or former executives within a very short period of time.
These suicides are occurring at a time in which the EU is attempting to shore up European banks after the financial meltdown. (Be sure to examine the comments on the linked post above, as they contain critical supplemental information.) The mortality rate among London based banking executives has been particularly high in recent years. We wonder if the high mortality rate, the ongoing capital troubles and legal investigations plaguing the firms may be related to these deaths. Are we looking at collateralized “death” obligations?
Program Highlights Include:
- The death of former Deutsche Bank executive William Broeksmit , who was found hanged in London.
- The alleged suicide of Gabriel Magee , who supposedly jumped from the roof of the JP Morgan building in London.
- The alleged suicide of Russell Investments executive Mike Dueker , who supposedly killed himself at a time when the company was under investigation.
- The disappearance of a Wall Street Journal reporter  who was looking into financial irregularities in the commodities market. The same story notes the suspicious circumstances of the deaths of Magee and Dueker.
- The supposed suicide–by nail gun–of an American Title executive at a time when the company was under investigation.
- Former Deutsche Bank chairman Josef Ackermann’s resignation from the Zurich Insurance Group following the “suicide” of a key aide  in August of 2013.
- As Argentina has attempted to stabilize the foreign exchange holdings of its banks, a very suspicious and lethal fire  occurred at a supposedly fire-proof storage facility.
- Another bitcoin exchange  has halted trading, plunging the digital currency in value. Just wait until the bitcoiners start killing each other to steal each others’ bitcoins. This supposed panacea to the world’s financial ills is already exhibiting all of the established financial world’s ills, and some that the mainstream fiscal community has thus far avoided. The bitcoiners may need their own digital currency to kill each other, perhaps named “hitcoin.”
1. A former Deutsche Bank manager was found dead, an apparent suicide. “Ex-Deutsche Bank Manager Found Dead in Apparent Suicide” by Belinda Goldsmith and Thomas Atkins; Reuters; 1/28/2014. 
William Broeksmit, a former senior manager at Deutsche Bank with close ties to co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain, has been found dead at his home in London in what appears to have been a suicide. Jain and the bank’s other co-CEO Juergen Fitschen announced Broeksmit’s death in an internal mail to Deutsche Bank employees. When asked about the death, London’s Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying a 58-year-old man had been found hanging at a house in South Kensington on Sunday afternoon and been pronounced dead at the scene. Police declared the death non-suspicious. Broeksmit, a U.S. national, was an instrumental founder of Deutsche’s investment bank and one many bankers, including Jain, who joined Germany’s flagship lender from Merrill Lynch in the 1990s, when Deutsche launched plans to compete on Wall Street. Broeksmit was also a principal actor in Deutsche’s efforts to unwind its riskier positions and to reduce the size of its balance sheet in the wake of the global financial crisis. His death comes at an uncomfortable juncture for Jain and Fitschen, whose reign has been dogged by poor results and legal troubles since they took over from Josef Ackermann in 2012. … The two CEOs are expected to defend their reform record at the bank’s annual news conference on Wednesday. Last week, they revealed that litigation and restructuring costs had pushed Deutsche to a surprise loss in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Broeksmit, who worked as head of risk and capital optimisation, was viewed as one of Jain’s closest allies and a key player in the bank’s attempts to recover following the financial crisis. Jain sought to have Broeksmit join the management board as head of risk management in 2012. But in a major setback for both men, German regulator Bafin blocked the appointment, saying Broeksmit lacked experience leading large teams. Bafin was not immediately available for comment. The Bundesbank, which also oversees Deutsche, declined to comment. Broeksmit worked alongside Jain at Merrill Lynch before joining Deutsche in 1996 as part of group of roughly 100 bankers who, alongside Edson Mitchell, formed the core of Deutsche’s new investment banking business. Mitchell, one the bank’s most powerful executives, died in a plane crash in 2000.
2. A JP Morgan exec allegedly committed suicide at roughly the same time.
A JP Morgan tech executive fell to his death from the U.S. bank’s 33-storey tower in London’s Canary Wharf financial district on Tuesday in what British police said was a “non-suspicious” incident. Police were called to the glass skyscraper at 8:02 GMT, where a 39-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene after hitting a lower 9th-floor roof. Witnesses said the body remained on the roof for several hours. London police said no arrests had been made and the incident was being treated as non-suspicious at this early stage. A source familiar with the matter confirmed the deceased was Gabriel Magee, a vice president with the JP Morgan’s corporate and investment bank technology arm, who had been an employee since 2004. . . . . . . . Though the details of Tuesday’s incident are still unclear, occasional suicides by people working in London’s big banks have provoked criticism of the demands placed on some financial services workers. A Bank of America exchange manager jumped in front of a train and another man jumped from a seventh-floor restaurant, both in 2012. A German-born intern at Bank of America died of epilepsy last year in London. . . .
3. The chief economist at Russell Investments was found dead, yet another alleged suicide.
Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, was found dead at the side of a highway that leads to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. He was 50. He may have jumped over a 4-foot (1.2-meter) fence before falling down a 40– to 50-foot embankment, Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer said yesterday. He said the death appeared to be a suicide.
Dueker was reported missing on Jan. 29, and a group of friends had been searching for him along with law enforcement. Troyer said the economist was having problems at work, without elaborating. Dueker was in good standing at Russell, said Jennifer Tice, a company spokeswoman. She declined to comment on Troyer’s statement about Dueker’s work issues. “We were deeply saddened to learn today of the death,” Tice said in an e-mail yesterday. “He made valuable contributions that helped our clients and many of his fellow associates.” Dueker worked at Seattle-based Russell for five years, and developed a business-cycle index that forecast economic performance.
He was previously an assistant vice president and research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He published dozens of research papers over the past two decades, many on monetary policy, according to the St. Louis Fed’s website, which ranks him among the top 5 percent of economists by number of works published. His most-cited work was a 1997 paper titled “Strengthening the case for the yield curve as a predictor of U.S. recessions,” published by the reserve bank while he was a researcher there.
Dueker worked at the reserve bank from 1991 to 2008, starting as an entry level research economist, then advancing to senior economist, research officer, and assistant vice president, according to Laura Girresch, a spokeswoman. He helped the bank’s president prepare for Federal Open Market Committee policy meetings and wrote and edited for economic publications, she said. Dueker served as editor of the reserve bank’s research publication, Monetary Trends, and also was an associate editor of the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Girresch said. “He was a valued colleague of mine during my entire tenure at the St. Louis Fed,” said William Poole, who was president of the reserve bank from 1998 to 2008. “Everyone respected his professional skills and good sense.” . . . .
4. A Wall Street Journal reporter disappeared at around the same time. This story notes that the deaths and disappearances are suspicious.
In a span of four days last week, two current executives and one recently retired top ranking executive of major financial firms were found dead. Both media and police have been quick to label the deaths as likely suicides. Missing from the reports is the salient fact that all three of the financial firms the executives worked for are under investigation for potentially serious financial fraud.
The deaths began on Sunday, January 26. London police reported that William Broeksmit, a top executive at Deutsche Bank who had retired in 2013, had been found hanged in his home in the South Kensington section of London. The day after Broeksmit was pronounced dead, Eric Ben-Artzi, a former risk analyst turned whistleblower at Deutsche Bank, was scheduled to speak at Auburn University in Alabama on his allegations that Deutsche had hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis with the knowledge of senior executives. Two other whistleblowers have brought similar charges against Deutsche Bank.
Deutsche Bank is also under investigation by global regulators for potentially rigging the foreign exchange markets – an action similar to the charges it settled in 2013 over its traders’ involvement in the rigging of the interest rate benchmark, Libor.
Just two days after Broeksmit’s death, on Tuesday, January 28, a 39-year old American, Gabriel Magee, a Vice President at JPMorgan in London, plunged to his death from the roof of the 33-story European headquarters of JPMorgan in Canary Wharf. According to Magee’s LinkedIn profile, he was involved in “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives.”
Magee’s parents, Bill and Nell Magee, are not buying the official story according to press reports and are planning to travel from the United States to London to get at the truth. One of their key issues, which should also trouble the police, is how an employee obtains access to the rooftop of one of the mostly highly secure buildings in London. Nell Magee was quoted in the London Evening Standard saying her son was “a happy person who was happy with his life.” His friends are equally mystified, stating he was in a happy, long-term relationship with a girlfriend.
JPMorgan is under the same global investigation for potential involvement in rigging foreign exchange rates as is Deutsche Bank. The firm is also said to be under an investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for its involvement in potential misconduct in physical commodities markets in the U.S. and London.
One day after Magee’s death, on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 50-year old Michael (Mike) Dueker, the Chief Economist at Russell Investments, is said to have died from a 50-foot fall from a highway ramp down an embankment in Washington state. Again, suicide is being presented by media as the likely cause. (Do people holding Ph.D.s really attempt suicide by jumping 50 feet?) … According to a report in The New York Times in November of last year, Russell Investments was one of a number of firms that received subpoenas from New York State regulators who are probing the potential for pay-to-play schemes involving pension funds based in New York. No allegations of wrongdoing have been made against Russell Investments in the matter.
The case of David Bird, the oil markets reporter who had worked at the Wall Street Journal for 20 years and vanished without a trace on the afternoon of January 11, has this in common with the other three tragedies: his work involves a commodities market – oil – which is under investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations  for possible manipulation. The FBI is involved in the Bird investigation.
Bird left his Long Hill, New Jersey home on that Saturday , telling his wife he was going for a walk. An intentional disappearance is incompatible with the fact that he left the house wearing a bright red jacket and without his life-sustaining medicine he was required to take daily as a result of a liver transplant. Despite a continuous search since his disappearance by hundreds of volunteers, local law enforcement and the FBI, Bird has not been located.
When a series of tragic events involving one industry occur within an 18-day timeframe, the statistical probability of these events being random is remote. According to a number of media reports, JPMorgan is conducting an internal investigation of the death of Gabriel Magee. Given that JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Russell Investments are subjects themselves of investigations, a more serious, independent look at these deaths is called for.
5a. The day this program was recorded, another financial services executive was found dead, allegedly having committed suicide by shooting himself with a nail gun!
The ugly rash of financial services executive suicides appears to have spread once again. Following the jumping deaths of 2 London bankers and a former-Fed economist in the US, The Denver Post reports Richard Talley, founder and CEO of American Title, was found dead in his home from self-inflicted wounds — from a nail-gun.
Talley’s company was under investigation from insurance regulators. Via The Denver Post , Richard Talley, 57, and the company he founded in 2001 were under investigation by state insurance regulators at the time of his death late Tuesday, an agency spokesman confirmed Thursday. It was unclear how long the investigation had been ongoing or its primary focus. A coroner’s spokeswoman Thursday said Talley was found in his garage by a family member who called authorities. They said Talley died from seven or eight self-inflicted wounds from a nail gun fired into his torso and head.
Also unclear is whether Talley’s suicide was related to the investigation by the Colorado Division of Insurance, which regulates title companies.
5b. More about the background of the late, unfortunate Mr. Talley:
Before coming to Colorado, Talley was a former regional financial officer at Drexel Burnham Lambert in Chicago, where he met his wife, Cheryl, a vice president at the company. The two married in 1989.
Talley had formed a number of companies, some now defunct, according to the Colorado secretary of state’s office. Among them: American Escrow, Clear Title, Clear Creek Financial Holdings, Swift Basin, Sumar, American Real Estate Services, and the American Alliance of Real Estate Professionals. . . .
6. Former Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann resigned his position with the Zurich Insurance Group following the “suicide” of a key executive of that firm.
Josef Ackermann, the former chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said he was resigning because he did not want to “damage” the reputation of the Swiss insurer already reeling from the death of Pierre Wauthier.Mr Wauthier, 53, who was married with two children, was found dead at his home in lakefront suburb of Zug outside Zurich. On Tuesday police said he appeared to have taken his own life. In a brief statement, Mr Ackermann, 65, said: “The unexpected death of Pierre Wauthier has deeply shocked me. I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be.”
His enigmatic remarks, which the insurer declined to clarify, sent shockwaves through the financial community as reports suggested that Mr Ackermann’s attempt to “shake up” the insurer had put Mr Wauthier under insufferable pressure. His widow, Fabienne Wauthier, was also said to have accused Zurich’s management of driving her husband “into a corner” and that Mr Ackermann’s “tough management style” had been a key factor in his death, according to a Swiss news website.
One former colleague of Mr Wauthier was quoted saying: “Pierre was under a lot of pressure because there was a lot more pressure from above on the share price, this was an open secret. Wauthier had effectively reached his career ambitions, CFO was his dream.” . . . .
7. Following an announcement by the Argentine government concerning foreign exchange tallies held by that country’s banks, a very suspicious fire occurred in a storage facility.
While we are sure it is a very sad coincidence, on the day when Argentina decrees limits on the FX positions banks can hold and the Argentine Central Bank’s reserves accounting is questioned publically, a massive fire – killing 9 people – has destroyed a warehouse archiving banking system documents.
As The Washington Post reports, the fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse (which purportedly had multiple protections against fire, including advanced systems that can detect and quench flames without damaging important documents) took hours to control and the sprawling building appeared to be ruined. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear – though we suggest smelling Fernandez’ hands… We noted yesterday that there are major questions over Argentina’s reserve honesty…
While first print is preliminary and subject to revision, the size of recent discrepancies have no precedent. This suggest that the government may be attempting to manage expectations by temporarily fudging the “estimate ” of reserve numbers (first print) while not compromising “actual” final reported numbers.
If this is so, it is a dangerous game to play and one likely to back-fire. During a balance of payments crisis – as Argentina is undergoing – such manipulation of official statistics (and one so critical for market sentiment) is detrimental to the needed confidence building around the transition in the FX regime.
And today the government decrees limits on FX holdings for the banks… Argentina’s central bank published resolution late yesterday on website limiting fx position for banks to 30% of assets. Banks will have to limit fx futures contracts to 10% of assets: resolution Banks must comply with resolution by April 30 And then this happens…
Via WaPo, Nine first-responders were killed, seven others injured and two were missing as they battled a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an archive of bank documents in Argentina’s capital on Wednesday. The fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse took hours to control… The destroyed archives included documents stored for Argentina’s banking industry, said Buenos Aires security minister Guillermo Montenegro.
The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear. Boston-based Iron Mountain manages, stores and protects information for more than 156,000 companies and organizations in 36 countries. Its Argentina subsidiary advertises that its facilities have multiple protections against fire, including advanced systems that can detect and quench flames without damaging important documents. . . . “There are cameras in the area, and these videos will be added to the judicial investigation, to clear up the motive of the fire and collapse,” Montenegro told the Diarios y Noticias agency.
7. New York State is beginning its own investigation into the manipulation of the Foreign Exchange market–a $5 trillion a day operation.
The business of trading currencies is in a state of flux as top executives leave and traders are suspended or fired in the face of investigations into potential manipulation of the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market. The latest regulator to start an inquiry into whether more than a dozen banks manipulated the price of foreign currencies is New York State’s top financial regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky. . . .
8. Another bitcoin exchange has halted trading, plunging the digital currency in value. Just wait until the bitcoiners start killing each other to steal each others’ bitcoins. This supposed panacea to the world’s financial ills is already exhibiting all of the established financial world’s ills, and some that the mainstream fiscal community has thus far avoided. The bitcoiners may need their own digital currency to kill each other, perhaps named “hitcoin.”
Bitcoin plunged more than 8 percent today after a Tokyo-based exchange halted withdrawals of the digital currency, citing technical malfunction. Mt. Gox, a popular exchange for dollar-based trades, said in a blog post it needed to “temporarily pause on all withdrawal requests to obtain a clear technical view of the currency processes.” It promised an “update” — not a reopening — on Monday, Feb. 10, Japan time. . . .