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FTR #772 Body Count II: (Collateralized “Death” Obligations)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1 [2]   Side 2 [3]

Since this broad­cast was made, there have been a num­ber of oth­er sus­pi­cious deaths in the finan­cial indus­try, set forth in this post. [4]

[5]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 [6] 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:

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. [7]

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.

CLOSEST ALLY

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.

“UPDATE 3‑JP Mor­gan IT Exec­u­tive Plunges to Death at Bank’s Lon­don HQ” by Costas Pitas and Lau­ra Noo­nan; Reuters; 1/28/2014. [8]

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.

“Rus­sell Invest­ments Chief Econ­o­mist Duek­er Found Dead” by Zachary Trac­er, Noah Buha­yar and Jeff Kearns; Bloomberg; 1/31/2014. [9]

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.

Pol­icy Meet­ings

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.

“A Rash of Deaths and a Miss­ing Reporter – With Ties to Wall Street Inves­ti­ga­tions” by Pam Martens; Wall Street Jour­nal; 2/3/2014. [10]

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 [15] for pos­si­ble manip­u­la­tion. The FBI is involved in the Bird inves­ti­ga­tion.

Bird left his Long Hill, New Jer­sey home on that Sat­ur­day [16], 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!

“4th Finan­cial Ser­vices Exec­u­tive Found Dead; ‘From Self-Inflict­ed Nail-Gun Wounds’ ” by Tyler Dur­den; zerohedge.com; 02/07/2014. [11]

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 [17], 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:

“Under Inves­ti­ga­tion, Amer­i­can Title CEO Dead in Gris­ly Sui­cide” by David Migoya; The Den­ver Post; 2/7/2014 [17].

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.

“Zurich Chair­man Josef Ack­er­mann Quits over Sui­cide Claims” by Alis­tair Osborne; The Tele­graph [UK]; 8/29/2013. [12]

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.

“Argen­tine Bank­ing Sys­tem Archives Destroyed By Dead­ly Fire” by Tyler Dur­den; zerohedge.com; 2/5/2014. [13]

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.

“New York’s Top Finan­cial Reg­u­la­tor Inves­ti­gates Cur­ren­cy Trad­ing” by Chad Bray; The New York Times; 2/5/2014. [18]

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 Val­ue Plunges as Mt. Vox Exchange Halts Activ­i­ty” by Carter Dougher­ty; bloomberg.com; 2/7/2014. [14]

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. . . .