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For The Record  

FTR #792 Caution: Banksters at Work (More Collateralized “Death” Obligations)

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

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Coin of the Realm?

Intro­duc­tion: In FTR #772, we looked at a num­ber of sus­pi­cious deaths in and around the finan­cial indus­try, this as a num­ber of legal inves­ti­ga­tions into the mis­deeds of the “banksters” were pro­ceed­ing. This pro­gram updates that extra­or­di­nary mor­tal­i­ty rate. One of the sur­re­al, almost hal­lu­ci­na­to­ry finan­cial instru­ments that were at the cen­ter of the 2008 finan­cial col­lapse were CDO’s–collateralized debt oblig­a­tions.

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? We note that JP Mor­gan Chase has expe­ri­enced a par­tic­u­lar­ly high mor­tal­i­ty rate.

The pro­gram begins with an arti­cle quot­ing numer­ous observers of the invest­ment indus­try warn­ing that the “too big to fail” finan­cial insti­tu­tions should­n’t be sub­ject to crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings because of the “fall­out” that would result. They are refer­ring to dam­age to the econ­o­my. We exam­ine anoth­er appar­ent kind of “fall­out” from finan­cial indus­try shenanigans–corporate exec­u­tives falling off of rooftops, falling out of the win­dows of high-rise build­ings, falling off of cliffs in their cars and falling off of bicy­cles after being struck by mini­vans.

The pro­gram con­cludes with a recap of the end­ing of Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M11. Record­ed on May 23, 1980, the pro­gram con­cludes with a warn­ing about the dan­gers of eco­nom­ic con­cen­tra­tion.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • The death–allegedly a suicide–of a 52-year-old French banker after she appar­ent­ly ques­tioned the behav­ior of her supe­ri­ors at the insti­tu­tion that employed her.
  • A sum­ma­tion of some of the sus­pi­cious deaths in the finan­cial indus­try that have occurred since the last pro­gram on the sub­ject.
  • Details on the death of JP Mor­gan Chase exec­u­tive Ryan Crane.
  • The untime­ly death of John Ruiz, of Mor­gan Stan­ley.
  • A syn­op­sis of the bank­rupt­cy of Jef­fer­son, Coun­ty (Alaba­ma) on which Ruiz worked.
  • Syn­op­sis of the deep cor­rup­tion in Jef­fer­son Coun­ty, per­mit­ting JP Mor­gan–among oth­er institutions–to engage in fraud­u­lent activ­i­ty.
  • The death of JP Mor­gan Chase cor­po­rate attor­ney Joseph P. Giampa­pa after being struck from behind by a mini­van while rid­ing his bicy­cle.
  • The mur­der of the head of a Liecht­en­stein invest­ment bank, sup­pos­ed­ly by a crit­ic of the insti­tu­tion, who then (alleged­ly) took his own life.
  • The fact that the chair­man of Bank Frick & Co. had been Liecht­en­stein’s Prime Min­is­ter from 1993 until 2001.
  • The death of a Mill Val­ley devel­op­er who was under indict­ment for allegdly defraud­ing cus­tomers of a Sono­ma bank. Bijan Mad­j­lessi appar­ent­ly drove his car off of a 400-foot cliff.
  • The death–ostensibly of a heart attack–by the for­mer finance min­is­ter of Cana­da, who had resigned short­ly before dying.

1. The pro­gram begins with an arti­cle quot­ing numer­ous observers of the invest­ment indus­try warn­ing that the “too big to fail” finan­cial insti­tu­tions should­n’t be sub­ject to crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings because of the “fall­out” that would result. They are refer­ring to dam­age to the econ­o­my.

“Crim­i­nal Charges Against Banks Risk Spark­ing Cri­sis” by Greg Far­rell, Dakin Camp­bell and Keri Geiger; Bloomberg.com; 5/1/2014.

As U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment pros­e­cu­tors angle to bring the first crim­i­nal charges against glob­al banks since the finan­cial cri­sis, they’ll have to stare down warn­ings of uncon­tain­able col­lat­eral dam­age.

The 2002 col­lapse of Arthur Ander­sen, the account­ing firm indict­ed in the Enron scan­dal, “should be a les­son” for pros­e­cu­tors, Brad Hintz, an ana­lyst at San­ford C. Bern­stein & Co., said today in an inter­view on Bloomberg Tele­vi­sion. “Don’t play with match­es.”

Stung by law­mak­ers’ crit­i­cism that multi­bil­lion-dol­lar set­tle­ments have done too lit­tle to pun­ish Wall Street in the wake of the finan­cial cri­sis, pros­e­cu­tors are con­sid­er­ing indict­ments in probes of Cred­it Suisse Group AG and BNP Paribas SA, a per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter said. Even after talk­ing with finan­cial reg­u­la­tors about ways to mit­i­gate dam­age — such as ensur­ing banks keep char­ters — pros­e­cu­tors might not ful­ly under­stand con­se­quences for the mar­ket, accord­ing to indus­try lawyers and bankers who are fol­low­ing the case.

Bank clients — includ­ing trustees, fidu­cia­ries and pen­sion funds — could be forced to cut ties with a finan­cial insti­tu­tion labeled a crim­i­nal enter­prise, the lawyers and bankers said, ask­ing not to be named because they weren’t autho­rized to talk pub­licly. Coun­ter­par­ties also might think twice before enter­ing into bil­lion-dol­lar trans­ac­tions with such firms. Dam­ag­ing a bank’s busi­ness could lead to broad­er fall­out across the finan­cial indus­try, just as Lehman Broth­ers Hold­ings Inc.’s col­lapse in 2008 prompt­ed investors to with­draw from oth­er firms on con­cern its exit would set off a wave of loss­es.

Spook Cus­tomers

Crim­i­nal action would have to be han­dled so that any review of a bank’s char­ter wouldn’t spook cus­tomers or revoke a firm’s license, said Gil Schwartz, a part­ner at Schwartz & Ballen LLP and a for­mer Fed­eral Reserve lawyer.

“The mere threat of requir­ing a hear­ing could cause cus­tomers to lose con­fi­dence in the insti­tu­tion and could cause a run on the bank,” Schwartz said.

The warn­ings show the resis­tance pros­e­cu­tors face in seek­ing to prove glob­al banks aren’t too big and sys­tem­i­cally impor­tant to indict. Preet Bharara, the U.S. attor­ney for the South­ern Dis­trict of New York, sig­naled in a March speech that a large finan­cial firm would be charged soon, despite the industry’s bleak pre­dic­tions of fall­out.

‘Nuclear Win­ter’

“Com­pa­nies, espe­cially finan­cial insti­tu­tions, will do almost any­thing to avoid a tough enforce­ment action and there­fore have a nat­ural and pow­er­ful incen­tive to make pros­e­cu­tors believe that death or dire con­se­quences await,” he said. “I have heard asser­tions made with great force and pas­sion that if we take any crim­i­nal action, the skies will dark­en; the oceans will rise; nuclear win­ter will be upon us; and the world as we know it will end.”

Cred­it Suisse has been the tar­get since 2011 of a U.S. crim­i­nal probe into whether it helped Amer­i­cans evade tax­es. BNP Paribas has been inves­ti­gated for pos­si­ble vio­la­tions of U.S. sanc­tions bar­ring busi­ness with pro­hib­ited coun­tries.

Shares of Zurich-based Cred­it Suisse fell 0.3 per­cent yes­ter­day to 27.91 francs after news reports on pros­e­cu­tors’ delib­er­a­tions. BNP Paribas dropped 3.2 per­cent to 54.11 euros. The Paris-based firm said it may need to pay much more than the $1.1 bil­lion it set aside for the U.S. sanc­tions case.

Spokes­men for both firms declined to com­ment on the pros­e­cu­tors’ con­sid­er­a­tions.

Lim­it Fall­out

There are a vari­ety of ways for pros­e­cu­tors to lim­it dam­age from crim­i­nal charges. One option would be to force a bank’s sub­sidiary, rather than the par­ent com­pany, to enter a guilty plea, said the lawyers and bankers. The Jus­tice Depart­ment has gone down that path in set­tling charges involv­ing the For­eign Cor­rupt Prac­tices Act, which for­bids U.S. com­pa­nies from brib­ing for­eign offi­cials to win busi­ness.

“I would expect reg­u­la­tory dis­cus­sions with these banks in ques­tion will avoid sys­temic con­se­quences,” said Dar­rell Duffie, a finance pro­fes­sor at Stan­ford University’s Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness in Stan­ford, Cal­i­for­nia. “I expect the sit­u­a­tion to be con­trolled.”

Many con­cerns expressed by finan­cial pro­fes­sion­als focused on less tan­gi­ble fall­out, such as lost con­fi­dence in a firm. Some com­pared such a sit­u­a­tion to Bear Stearns Cos., which was bat­tered by doubts about its strength in 2008, lead­ing to its emer­gency sale to JPMor­gan Chase & Co.

Crim­i­nal Past

Client psy­chol­ogy also could come into play. For exam­ple, even if invest­ment man­agers aren’t pro­hib­ited from work­ing with a bank, they may shy away because they don’t want to explain why they put funds in a firm with a crim­i­nal past.

Mind­ful that the specter of crim­i­nal charges helped put finan­cial insti­tu­tions such as Bank of Cred­it and Com­merce Inter­na­tional and Drex­el Burn­ham Lam­bert Inc. out of busi­ness, pros­e­cu­tors in Wash­ing­ton and New York have met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Fed­eral Reserve and the Office of the Comp­trol­ler of the Cur­rency to dis­cuss the reg­u­la­tory risks of indict­ments, accord­ing to two peo­ple briefed on the mat­ter.

2. The death–allegedly a suicide–of a 52-year-old French banker after she appar­ently ques­tioned the behav­ior of her supe­ri­ors at the insti­tu­tion that employed her, as well as a syn­op­tic account of some recent “col­lat­er­al­ized death oblig­a­tions”:

“52 Year-Old French Banker Jumps To Her Death In Paris (After Ques­tion­ing Her Supe­ri­ors)” by Tyler Dur­den; Zero Hedge; 4/24/2014.

There have been 13 senior finan­cial ser­vices exec­u­tives deaths around the world this year, but the most notable thing about the sad sui­cide of the 14th, a 52-year-old banker at France’s Bred-Banque-Pop­u­laire, is she is the first female.

As Le Parisien reports, Lydia (no sur­name giv­en) jumped from the bank’s Paris headquarter’s 14th floor short­ly before 10am.

FranceTV added that sources said “she ques­tioned her supe­ri­ors before jump­ing out the win­dow,” but the bank denies it not­ing that she had been in ther­papy for sev­eral years.

FranceTV and Le Parisien reports,

An employ­ee of the Bred-Banque Pop­u­laire has com­mit­ted sui­cide, Tues­day, April 22 in the morn­ing at the head­quar­ters of the bank. On her arrival at head­quar­ters, quai de la Rapee, in the 12th arrondisse­ment of Paris...

The inci­dent occurred short­ly before 10 am, 200 meters from the Min­istry of Finance.

...

Accord­ing to our sources, she ques­tioned his supe­ri­ors before jump­ing out the win­dow, that for­mally denies the direc­tion of the Bank.

“There is absolute­ly no evi­dence for des­ig­nat­ing his rela­tion­ships with his hier­ar­chy as respon­si­ble or let­ter or mes­sage ” insists the direc­tion of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion FranceTV info.

It also speaks of a “very painful moment for the com­pa­ny” .

...

In an email to all employ­ees con­sulted by FranceTV info, the man­age­ment of the bank con­firms the “death by sui­cide” and said “severe­ly affect­ed.” It shows have estab­lished a psy­cho­log­i­cal unit.

...

“For the moment, noth­ing puts the com­pany in ques­tion, says the major­ity union SUNI-Bred/UN­SA. The employ­ee got along very well with her new team, her supe­rior is very nice.

“Accord­ing to a close,” Lydia lived alone, in a dif­fi­cult envi­ron­ment.

The human resources depart­ment states that this inhab­i­tant of Ivry was in ther­apy for sev­eral years. Each describes a “secre­tive” but “very well known and pop­u­lar” woman, but “nev­er spoke of it.”

This is the 14th finan­cial ser­vices exec­tive death in recent months...

2 — Karl Slym, 51 year old Tata Motors man­ag­ing direc­tor Karl Slym, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on Jan­u­ary 27th. . . .

. . . . 6 — Tim Dick­en­son, a U.K.-based com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, how­ever the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his death are still unknown. . . .

7 — Ryan Hen­ry Crane, a 37 year old exec­u­tive at JP Mor­gan died in an alleged sui­cide just a few weeks ago. No details have been released about his death aside from this small obit­u­ary announce­ment at the Stam­ford Dai­ly Voice.

8 — Li Jun­jie, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Mor­gan HQ in Hong Kong this week. (Li was a forex trad­er, accord­ing to the linked story–D.E.]

9 — James Stu­art Jr, For­mer Nation­al Bank of Com­merce CEO, found dead in Scotts­dale, Ariz., the morn­ing of Feb. 19. A fam­ily spokesman did not say what­caused the death

10 — Edmund (Eddie) Reil­ly, 47, a trad­er at Midtown’s Ver­ti­cal Group, com­mited sui­cide by jump­ing in front of LIRR train

11 — Ken­neth Bel­lando, 28, a trad­er at Levy Cap­i­tal, for­merly invest­ment bank­ing ana­lyst at JPMor­gan, jumped to his death from his 6th floor East Side apart­ment.

12 — Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, the for­mer CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro found dead at home near Ams­ter­dam with wife and daugh­ter.

13 — Li Jian­hua, 49, the direc­tor of China’s Bank­ing Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion died of a sud­den heart attack

14 — Lydia _____, 52 — jumped to her sui­cide from the 14th floor of Bred-Banque Pop­u­laire in Paris

3. Details on the death of JP Mor­gan Chase exec­u­tive Ryan Crane:

“Ryan Crane, JPMor­gan Equi­ties Trad­ing Exec­u­tive, Dies at 37” by Hugh Son; Bloomberg; 2/13/2014.

Ryan Crane, a JPMor­gan (JPM) Chase & Co. employ­ee who in a 14-year career at the New York-based bank rose to exec­u­tive direc­tor of a unit that trades blocks of stocks for clients, has died. He was 37.

He died on Feb. 3 at his Stam­ford, Con­necti­cut, home, accord­ing to the web­site of Leo P. Gal­lagher & Son Funer­al Home in Green­wich, Con­necti­cut. The cause of death will be deter­mined when a tox­i­col­ogy report is com­pleted in about six weeks, said a spokes­woman for the state’s chief med­ical exam­in­er.

Crane start­ed at JPMor­gan in equi­ties trad­ing after grad­u­at­ing from Har­vard Uni­ver­sity in 1999, accord­ing to his pro­file on the LinkedIn Corp. web­site. Fol­low­ing pro­mo­tions, he worked as an exec­u­tive direc­tor, or a rank above vice pres­i­dent and below man­ag­ing direc­tor, in the bank’s Amer­i­cas Pro­gram Trad­ing group. Pro­gram traders han­dle trans­ac­tions in bas­kets of at least 15 stocks, often for mutu­al-fund clients seek­ing to rebal­ance index-linked port­fo­lios.

“Ryan was a beloved col­league who will be dear­ly missed,” Justin Per­ras, a JPMor­gan spokesman, said in an e‑mailed state­ment. “Our thoughts and sym­pa­thy are with his fam­ily and friends.”
...

 4a. John Ruiz worked on the Jef­fer­son Coun­ty munic­i­pal debt deal. Pre­sum­ably it was on the post-bank­rupt­cy deal­ings when Mor­gan Stan­ley was involved. The pre-bank­rupt­cy deal­ings of Jef­fer­son County’s debt were most­ly con­ducted by JP Mor­gan, and they weren’t some­thing you would pub­licly cel­e­brate.

“John Ruiz, Mor­gan Stan­ley Munic­i­pal Debt Ana­lyst, Dies at 53” by Lau­rence Arnold; Bloomberg; 2/12/2014.

John Ruiz, a munic­i­pal debt ana­lyst who recent­ly deliv­ered a pre­sen­ta­tion on Puer­to Rico for Mor­gan Stan­ley (MS), one of the biggest under­writ­ers of the island’s debt, has died. He was 53.

He died sud­denly on Feb. 4 at his home in Edge­wa­ter, New Jer­sey, accord­ing to his broth­er, James Ruiz. He had returned the day before from a busi­ness trip to Flori­da.

An exec­u­tive direc­tor at New York-based Mor­gan Stan­ley since 2010, Ruiz devel­oped exper­tise in the pub­lic finances of the areas he cov­ered, which ear­lier in his career includ­ed Cal­i­for­nia and Flori­da.

For Mor­gan Stan­ley, Ruiz co-wrote a pre­sen­ta­tion on Puer­to Rico at the firm’s Glob­al Dis­tressed Debt Con­fer­ence last Octo­ber in New York City.

“The commonwealth’s econ­omy entered reces­sion in 2006 and is cur­rently strug­gling to gain trac­tion giv­en its heavy depen­dence on the man­u­fac­tur­ing and gov­ern­ment sec­tors, which have been con­tract­ing for sev­eral years and face sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges mov­ing for­ward,” accord­ing to the pre­sen­ta­tion by Ruiz and Ryan Brady, a vice pres­i­dent.

Mor­gan Stan­ley, in con­junc­tion with Bar­clays Plc and RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets, is work­ing with Puer­to Rico on what may be a record sale of junk-rat­ed munic­i­pal bonds to refi­nance debt and raise cash, Bloomberg News report­ed this week. Mor­gan Stan­ley was the biggest under­writer of the U.S. commonwealth’s debt last year as of Novem­ber.

‘Dug Deep’

“On cred­its like Jef­fer­son Coun­ty and Puer­to Rico, he dug deep and got to all of the impor­tant cred­it aspects of our issuer base very quick­ly,” J.R. McDer­mott, a Mor­gan Stan­ley man­ag­ing direc­tor, said about Ruiz, accord­ing to the Bond Buy­er. . . .

4b. Pre­sum­ably Ruiz’s work on the Jef­fer­son Coun­ty (Alaba­ma) sit­u­a­tion was on the post-bank­rupt­cy deal­ings when Mor­gan Stan­ley was involved.

“A Munic­i­pal Bank­rupt­cy May Cre­ate a Tem­plate” by Mary Williams Walsh; The New York Times; 11/19/2013.

Jef­fer­son Coun­ty, Ala., which just became the first munic­i­pal­i­ty to tap the pub­lic bond mar­kets while bank­rupt, will go to court on Wednes­day to seek approval for its plan to exit bank­rupt­cy by the end of this year.

But there is a catch: Even if Jef­fer­son Coun­ty does emerge from bank­rupt­cy soon, it will not ful­ly sev­er its ties to the Fed­er­al Bank­rupt­cy Court in Birm­ing­ham for 40 more years.

The county’s unusu­al exit plan, which could offer a pos­si­ble tem­plate for oth­er bank­rupt munic­i­pal­i­ties, calls for the court to retain juris­dic­tion for the life of $1.8 bil­lion in sew­er-rev­enue debt that it sold over the last few days. If the coun­ty fal­ters at some point, even decades from now, the bank­rupt­cy court is sup­posed to have the pow­er to enforce rate increas­es to pro­duce the cash need­ed to pay back the $1.8 bil­lion on sched­ule, with inter­est. . . .

4c. The pre-bank­rupt­cy deal­ings of Jef­fer­son County’s debt were most­ly con­ducted by JP Mor­gan, and they weren’t some­thing you would pub­licly cel­e­brate.

“The Incred­i­ble Sto­ry Of The Jef­fer­son Coun­ty Bank­rupt­cy — One Of The Great­est Finan­cial Ripoffs Of All Time” by Bond Girl; Busi­ness Insid­er; 10/23/2011.

Since so many peo­ple read my post on Har­ris­burg (thank you), I fig­ured that I might as well explain how Jef­fer­son County’s prob­lems evolved. I con­sid­er this sto­ry to be old news. As with Har­ris­burg, how­ev­er, some peo­ple mis­tak­en­ly char­ac­ter­ize Jef­fer­son County’s finan­cial prob­lems as a canary in the coalmine for the munic­i­pal bond mar­ket, which sug­gests that they still have no idea what tran­spired there (or how long Jef­fer­son Coun­ty has been in finan­cial dis­tress). Por­tray­ing Jef­fer­son Coun­ty as a typ­i­cal munic­i­pal cred­it is akin to por­tray­ing Enron as a typ­i­cal cor­po­rate cred­it. With Jef­fer­son Coun­ty, var­i­ous finan­cial firms – but pri­mar­i­ly JP Mor­gan – exploit­ed an exist­ing cul­ture of cor­rup­tion and made tax­pay­ers the vic­tims of one of the largest frauds in the his­to­ry of the finan­cial mar­kets. . . .

5. The death of JP Mor­gan Chase cor­po­rate attor­ney Joseph P. Giampa­pa after being struck from behind by a mini­van while rid­ing his bicy­cle:

“Vet­eran Cyclist Killed by Mini­van Knew the Dan­gers All Too Well” by Bill Bush; The Colum­bus Dis­patch; 3/24/2014.

About a decade ago, Jeff Stephens was bicy­cling shoul­der-to-shoul­der with Joseph A. Giampa­pa when the two wit­nessed anoth­er cyclist get fatal­ly struck by a car right in front of them.

“It was sort of a bond that we had, and I would say it’s a bur­den that we car­ried,” Stephens said yes­ter­day. “We were in very close con­tact for months after that sit­u­a­tion.”

On Sat­ur­day, Stephens, of Wor­thing­ton, got a phone call from the scene of anoth­er acci­dent — this time, it was Giampa­pa who had been struck by a mini­van and killed while bicy­cling north of Troy.

Giampa­pa, 56, of the North­west Side, was an accom­plished long-dis­tance cyclist and cor­po­rate attor­ney for JPMor­gan Chase in Colum­bus. He was a long­time res­i­dent of Vic­to­rian Vil­lage who had moved with his wife, Thel­ma, into a con­do­minium near Dublin about two years ago.

He was able to ride his bike thou­sands of miles in short peri­ods of time and cov­ered some of the most dif­fi­cult ter­rain in bik­ing, includ­ing the same Alpine routes used in the Tour de France, his friends said yes­ter­day.

“He rode many of the famous climbs in the Alps” in both France and Italy, said Greg DuBois, 59, of Wor­thing­ton, who had trav­eled with Giampa­pa on his excur­sions.

“He could just ride phe­nom­e­nal dis­tances with­out stop­ping and with­out get­ting tired.”

...

Giampa­pa was bik­ing north on Troy-Sid­ney Road, near Loy Road, out­side of Piqua just after 11 a.m. Sat­ur­day when a mini­van struck him from behind, Mia­mi Coun­ty Deputy Todd Ten­nant said. Giampa­pa was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

The mini­van dri­ver, Thomas G. Davis, 78, was at fault, Ten­nant said, but charges haven’t been filed.

Ten­nant said charges are pend­ing the out­come of a blood tox­i­col­ogy test. But it didn’t appear as though Davis was intox­i­cated, he added. All of the evi­dence even­tu­ally will be giv­en to a grand jury, Ten­nant said, but pos­si­bly not until May, depend­ing on how long it takes for the blood sam­ples to be processed.

Giampapa’s friends were at a loss about why he was hit.

“It wasn’t a blind turn,” said David Rod­er­ick of Athens, who helped orga­nize the 200-kilo­me­ter (124.3‑mile) event from Spring­field to Quin­cy to Troy and back that Giampa­pa was par­tic­i­pat­ing in.

“It wasn’t on a hill,” Rod­er­ick said. “You could see rid­ers for a very long dis­tance.” . . . .

6. The mur­der of the head of a Liecht­en­stein invest­ment bank, sup­pos­edly by a crit­ic of the insti­tu­tion, who then (alleged­ly) took his own life, as well as dis­cus­sion of the fact that the chair­man of the bank had been Liecht­en­stein’s Prime Min­is­ter from 1993–2001.:

“Liecht­en­stein Banker Shot Dead in Report­ed Invest­ment Feud” by Jan-Hen­rik Foer­ster and Paul Ver­schuur; Bloomberg News; 4/7/2014. 

A Liecht­en­stein banker was shot dead after a feud involv­ing an invest­ment fund, and police said they believe the alleged killer lat­er com­mit­ted sui­cide.

The 48-year-old man was shot in the under­ground garage of a finan­cial insti­tu­tion in Balz­ers at 7:30 a.m. local time, the Liecht­en­stein police said on their web­site today. Nei­ther the vic­tim nor the insti­tu­tion was iden­ti­fied in the state­ment. The deceased was Juer­gen Frick, CEO of Bank Frick & Co. AG, accord­ing to Switzerland’s Radio 1, which cit­ed employ­ees of his bank.

The sus­pect, Juer­gen Her­mann, fled the scene in a Smart car with Liecht­en­stein license plates, accord­ing to police. The author­i­ties lat­er said Her­mann appears to have com­mit­ted sui­cide after they found the vehi­cle in Ruggell, 25 kilo­me­ters (16 miles) north of Balz­ers, with his pass­port and a con­fes­sion.

“Ser­vice dogs were able to track the sus­pect to the banks of the Rhine,” police said in a state­ment. “Cloth­ing belong­ing to the sus­pect was found there. Because of the cir­cum­stances and the evi­dence, sui­cide has to be assumed.”

Calls to Bank Frick were answered by a voice-mail mes­sage say­ing the com­pany is closed because of “a death.” It gave no fur­ther details. A police spokesman didn’t imme­di­ately respond to tele­phone calls and e‑mails seek­ing com­ment.

Prime Min­is­ter

Bank Frick & Co., found­ed in 1998, spe­cial­izes in wealth man­age­ment and invest­ment advice. The firm man­aged about 3.5 bil­lion Swiss francs ($3.9 bil­lion) of assets on behalf of clients at the end of 2012, accord­ing to its web­site. The company’s chair­man is Mario Frick, who was prime min­is­ter of Liecht­en­stein from 1993 to 2001.

Bank Frick was pre­vi­ously part­ly owned by Bawag PSK Bank AG, the Aus­trian lender that almost col­lapsed because of its links with failed U.S. futures firm Ref­co Inc. Bawag owned 26 per­cent and Ref­co had a 4 per­cent hold­ing, accord­ing to a report by the Aus­trian Press Agency. After Aus­tria led a bailout of Bawag in 2006, the com­pany sold its stake in Bank Frick, accord­ing to a paper pub­lished the fol­low­ing year on the Euro­pean Commission’s web­site.

Her­mann is a fund man­ager who has been embroiled in a dis­pute with the Liecht­en­stein gov­ern­ment and Bank Frick for many years, accord­ing to Radio 1.

Her­mann Finance

The Liecht­en­stein gov­ern­ment and the country’s Finan­cial Mar­ket Author­ity “ille­gally destroyed my invest­ment com­pany Her­mann Finance and its funds, depriv­ing me of my liveli­hood,” accord­ing to a web­site reg­is­tered under the name Juer­gen Her­mann of Her­mann Finance AG.

He has filed law­suits seek­ing recov­ery of 200 mil­lion Swiss francs from the gov­ern­ment and 33 mil­lion francs from Bank Frick, accord­ing to the web­site. The lender “ille­gally enriched itself,” among oth­er alleged crimes, it said.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Hermann’s lawyer declined to com­ment when reached by tele­phone. A call to an office tele­phone num­ber list­ed on Her­mann Finance’s web­site was answered by an employ­ee of a law firm who said his com­pany isn’t relat­ed to Her­mann Finance.

Her­mann had been “pub­licly hos­tile” to the country’s Finan­cial Mar­ket Author­ity and some of its employ­ees, forc­ing it to take secu­rity mea­sures in con­sul­ta­tion with the police, FMA spokesman Beat Krieger said in an e‑mail today. . . .

7. The death of a Mill Val­ley devel­oper who was under indict­ment for allegdly defraud­ing cus­tomers of a Sono­ma bank:

“Four Indict­ed in Sono­ma Val­ley Bank Col­lapse” by Paul Payne; San­ta Rosa Press Demo­c­rat; 4/10/2014.

After a three-year inves­ti­ga­tion into the col­lapse of Sono­ma Val­ley Bank, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors announced fraud charges Thurs­day against two for­mer bank exec­u­tives, a San­ta Rosa attor­ney and a Marin Coun­ty devel­op­er who became one of the bank’s largest bor­row­ers before its implo­sion.

The bank’s for­mer CEO, Sean Cut­ting, 44, of Sono­ma, and its chief loan offi­cer, Bri­an Mel­land, 45, of San­ta Rosa, were arrest­ed Wednes­day with devel­op­er Bijan Mad­j­lessi, 58, of Mill Val­ley and attor­ney David Lonich, 59, of San­ta Rosa.

They appeared in fed­er­al court in San Fran­cis­co, where pros­e­cu­tors unsealed a 29-count indict­ment accus­ing them of con­spir­a­cy, bank and wire fraud, mon­ey laun­der­ing, mak­ing false state­ments to a bank, false bank entries and obstruc­tion of jus­tice. . . . .

8. Bijan Mad­j­lessi appar­ently drove his car off of a 400-foot cliff.

“Indict­ed Devel­op­er Found Dead Off Mt. Tam Cliff” by Kale Williams; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle Blog; 5/6/2014.

A Marin Coun­ty man fac­ing fed­er­al fraud charges was found dead Tues­day after­noon after his car plum­met­ed off a cliff in Marin Coun­ty.

Bijan Mad­j­lessi, 58, of Mill Val­ley was found in a car about 1 p.m. that had dropped over a 400-foot embank­ment along High­way 1, just north of Panoram­ic High­way out­side Mill Val­ley, CHP Offi­cer Andrew Bar­clay said. Mad­j­lessi was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

Mad­j­lessi and three oth­ers were indict­ed in ear­ly April on fed­er­al charges accus­ing them of con­spir­a­cy, bank and wire fraud, mon­ey laun­der­ing, mak­ing false state­ments to a bank, false bank entries and obstruc­tion of jus­tice. . . .

. . . . Madjlessi’s fam­i­ly report­ed him miss­ing on Sun­day. His cause of death has not been deter­mined and an autop­sy is sched­uled for Wednes­day. An inves­ti­ga­tion is under­way to deter­mine the cause of the acci­dent, Bar­clay said.

9. The death–ostensibly of a heart attack–by the for­mer finance min­is­ter of Cana­da, who had resigned short­ly before dying:

“Jim Fla­her­ty Cause Of Death Was A Heart Attack, Police Say”; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 4/10/2014.

Jim Fla­her­ty’s cause of death was a heart attack, accord­ing to police.

Emer­gency ser­vices in Ottawa respond­ed to a call from Fla­her­ty’s home around 12:30 p.m. Thurs­day. Police lat­er said he died there as a result of a heart attack. An offi­cial cause of death has yet to be released.

Fla­her­ty was 64 years old and is sur­vived by his wife Chris­tine Elliott and their three sons, John, Galen and Quinn.

The fam­i­ly said in a state­ment that Fla­her­ty passed away “peace­ful­ly” and asked for pri­va­cy.

Elliott, who is a Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­v­a­tive MPP in Ontario, scrummed with reporters Thurs­day morn­ing in Toron­to, sug­gest­ing Fla­her­ty’s turn for the worse came as a sur­prise.

The Ottawa Cit­i­zen report­ed that Labour Min­is­ter Kel­lie Leitch, a med­ical doc­tor, admin­is­tered CPR to Fla­her­ty before para­medics arrived at his con­do. . . .
. . . . Fla­her­ty resigned as finance min­is­ter in March. . . . .

10. The broad­cast con­cludes with infor­ma­tion from the first of the Archive Shows.

This May, 1980, broad­cast high­lights eco­nom­ic con­cen­tra­tion and its his­tor­i­cal rela­tion­ship to fas­cism. The issue of the “1%” ver­sus the “99%” is not new.

After dis­cus­sion of the Amer­i­can cor­po­rate con­nec­tions to the Third Reich, this pro­gram con­cludes with analy­sis of the per­ils of the con­cen­tra­tion of eco­nom­ic pow­er.

Sev­er­al min­utes in length, the con­clu­sion of that pro­gram can be accessed here: Lis­ten.

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance,  is the pos­si­bil­i­ty that con­cen­tra­tion of eco­nom­ic pow­er in the Unit­ed States might even­tu­al­ly pro­duce for Amer­i­cans what it did for Ger­mans in  the 1930’s.

The fact that many of the most impor­tant U.S. com­pa­nies and indi­vid­u­als were deeply involved with Nazi indus­try and finance informs us that such a pos­si­bil­i­ty is not as remote a sit  might appear at first.

(These same inter­ests attempt­ed to over­throw Franklin D. Roo­sevelt in a coup attempt in 1934, seek­ing to install a gov­ern­ment mod­eled on Mus­solin­i’s “cor­po­rate state.” Mus­soli­ni and his fascisti are pic­tured at right.)

With the very able assis­tance of co-host Mark Ortiz, Dave record­ed the first of the archive shows, Uncle Sam and the Swasti­ka (M11), on Memo­r­i­al Day week­end of 1980 (5/23/80).

The pro­gram echoes at the dis­tance of thir­ty years the warn­ing that James Stew­art Mar­tin sound­ed in his 1950 book All Hon­or­able Men. Not­ing how attempts at break­ing up Hitler’s Ger­man eco­nom­ic pow­er base had been foiled by the Ger­mans’ pow­er­ful Amer­i­can busi­ness part­ners, Mar­tin detailed the same pat­tern of con­cen­tra­tion of eco­nom­ic pow­er in the Unit­ed States that had led to the rise of Nazism in Ger­many.

In 2005, Uncle Sam and the Swasti­ka was dis­tilled into For The Record #511. Since then, the Amer­i­can and glob­al economies have tanked and may well get worse. The sig­nif­i­cance of an eco­nom­ic col­lapse for the imple­men­ta­tion of a fas­cist cabal fig­ures sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the sev­er­al min­utes of this excerpt.

At more than 30 years’ dis­tance from the orig­i­nal record­ing of Uncle Sam and the Swasti­ka, the ques­tions raised in this broad­cast loom large. Will the “calm judge­ment of busi­ness necessity”–fascism–that Mar­tin fore­saw in 1950 come to pass?

We should note that Mus­soli­ni termed the fas­cist system–which he christened–“the cor­po­rate state.” Anoth­er way of con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing it would be to think of fas­cism as “cap­i­tal­ism on full auto.”

 

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #792 Caution: Banksters at Work (More Collateralized “Death” Obligations)”

  1. Here’s one more rea­son to avoid work­ing for the mob a vam­pire squid: Your ghost might not appre­ci­ate your eulo­gy:

    Wall­street on Parade
    The Inquest of JPMor­gan VP Gabriel Magee: Case Closed; Move Along

    By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 20, 2014

    If it’s at all pos­si­ble, don’t die on the premis­es of a too-big-to-fail bank like JPMor­gan. That’s because if you do your oth­er­wise mer­i­to­ri­ous life and career is like­ly to be turned into a cir­cus of slan­der­ous tid­bits in order to pro­mote the rep­u­ta­tion of the glob­al bank­ing behe­moth as the benev­o­lent guardian of all things noble and saint­ly.

    A coroner’s inquest began at 10 a.m. in Lon­don this morn­ing to inves­ti­gate how 39 year old Gabriel Magee, a tech­nol­o­gy Vice Pres­i­dent who worked in JPMorgan’s Euro­pean head­quar­ters at 25 Bank Street in Lon­don, came to be found dead on a 9th lev­el rooftop at approx­i­mate­ly 8:02 a.m. on the morn­ing of Jan­u­ary 28 of this year.

    The inquest had bare­ly begun when the wire ser­vice, Reuters, ran this head­line: “JP Mor­gan Exec­u­tive Had High Alco­hol Lev­el Before Sky­scraper Plunge, Lon­don Inquest Hears.” That’s called fram­ing the sto­ry. With­in the next hour, news­pa­pers around the globe who had no reporter at the inquest to do first hand report­ing, were run­ning with the Reuters head­line and abbre­vi­at­ed sto­ry.

    Next up was a seri­ous­ly spe­cious head­line from the UK Mir­ror news­pa­per. The head­line that ran in bold black type at the newspaper’s web site declared that “A JP Mor­gan Bank Vice-Pres­i­dent Said He ‘Couldn’t Han­dle This’ Before Falling Canary Wharf Tow­er Block.” (The word “Off” seems to be miss­ing from the head­line as well as any sem­blance of truth­ful report­ing.)

    The Mir­ror head­line neglects to explain that those words were uttered at least six years pri­or to Gabriel Magee’s death, when he was work­ing for JPMor­gan in New York – words that 90 per­cent of com­put­er pro­gram­mers have like­ly uttered at some point in their career; some­times a dozen times a day. (That JPMor­gan inves­ti­ga­tors were forced to dig out this ancient nugget and present it at the inquest shows just how lit­tle they had to go on to make this sui­cide sto­ry stick.)

    The Mir­ror also fer­ret­ed out a tid­bit from an ex-girl­friend, report­ing: “She added that Magee had had thoughts about life in anoth­er uni­verse that she did not under­stand and that he had con­tin­u­al­ly refused help from those close to him.” The idea of “life in anoth­er uni­verse” is shared by the major­i­ty of 2.18 bil­lion peo­ple, oth­er­wise known as Chris­tians, who believe in life after death and heav­en. Typ­i­cal­ly, they are not urged to get “help” for those beliefs.

    The cold hard facts on the ground are these: Gabriel Magee was in a lov­ing rela­tion­ship with a beau­ti­ful young attor­ney, Veron­i­ca Strande. They were hap­pi­ly liv­ing togeth­er. Ms. Strande tes­ti­fied at the inquest that “there was no prob­lem.” Sources close to both of them say that Magee had brought Strande to the U.S. to meet his par­ents and was very hap­py in the rela­tion­ship.

    As far as being a kook as por­trayed by the ex-girl­friend, Magee’s own career nul­li­fies that asser­tion. He had worked for JPMor­gan in one of the most demand­ing of tech­nol­o­gy jobs for more than a decade. He has received pro­mo­tions and bonus­es and risen to the rank of Vice Pres­i­dent. He was a key play­er in one of the most impor­tant areas of tech­nol­o­gy at the com­pa­ny. Accord­ing to his LinkedIn pro­file, he was cur­rent­ly engaged in “Tech­ni­cal archi­tec­ture over­sight for plan­ning, devel­op­ment, and oper­a­tion of sys­tems for fixed income secu­ri­ties and inter­est rate deriv­a­tives.”

    A for­mer col­league told Wall Street On Parade that Magee “focused exten­sive­ly on Java and Sybase data­bas­es. He also did C++ and many oth­er UNIX relat­ed lan­guages.”

    In fact, Magee’s career his­to­ry was staid and sta­ble com­pared to the his­to­ry of his firm which has been charged by reg­u­la­tors with an end­less series of crimes over the past 18 months, includ­ing lying to Con­gress, facil­i­tat­ing the Mad­off fraud (two sus­pend­ed felony counts for that one and two years of pro­ba­tion), rig­ging elec­tric mar­kets in Cal­i­for­nia and the Mid­west, fraud­u­lent­ly sell­ing mort­gages, los­ing $6.2 bil­lion of bank depos­i­tors’ mon­ey in a crazy deriv­a­tives scheme (Lon­don Whale), rig­ging Libor inter­est rates and on and on.

    ...

    The sen­sa­tion­al report­ing of news from Gabriel Magee’s inquest this morn­ing was matched only by the out­ra­geous and unprece­dent­ed report­ing on the morn­ing his body was dis­cov­ered on Jan­u­ary 28 of this year.

    The Inde­pen­dent news­pa­per in Lon­don flat­ly stat­ed that Magee “died after falling from the roof.” The Lon­don Evening Stan­dard tweet­ed: “Bankers watch JP Mor­gan IT exec fall to his death from roof of Lon­don HQ,” which linked to their arti­cle which declared in its open­ing sen­tence that “A man plunged to his death from a Canary Wharf tow­er in front of thou­sands of hor­ri­fied com­muters today.”

    The only per­son who seemed to give a whit about report­ing this sto­ry hon­est­ly was Iain Dey, Deputy Busi­ness Edi­tor of the Sun­day Times in Lon­don, who flat­ly dis­put­ed the notion that a plunge from the rooftop had been observed by any­one when he report­ed that: “Gabriel Magee’s body lay for sev­er­al hours before it was found at 8am last Tues­day.”

    Lost in this morning’s sen­sa­tion­al head­lines was the very dis­turb­ing detail that out of those “thou­sands of hor­ri­fied com­muters” and the “bankers” report­ed to have seen Magee fall, not one eye wit­ness has been pro­duced by the police to this alleged jump from the top of JPMorgan’s offices at 25 Bank Street.

    As it turns out, an ole pal of the Scot­land Yard was put in charge of the inter­nal JPMor­gan inves­ti­ga­tion. Jonathan Shat­ford is a for­mer Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police offi­cer from New Scot­land Yard and a career detec­tive who rose to the rank of Detec­tive Chief Super­in­ten­dent over 32 years. Shat­ford pre­vi­ous­ly worked for Bear Stearns, which col­lapsed dur­ing 2008 and was tak­en over by JPMor­gan. Shat­ford is respon­si­ble for JPMor­gan inves­ti­ga­tions in Europe, the Mid­dle East and Africa.

    As if there had been any doubt from the begin­ning as to the out­come of this inquest, the coro­ner, Mary Has­sell, ruled at the end of the pro­ceed­ing that “I am whol­ly sat­is­fied that Gabriel jumped off the 32nd floor with the inten­tion of killing him­self.”

    Case closed. Noth­ing to see here. Move along.

    This kind of dis­turb­ing sto­ry is why human­i­ty owes an apol­o­gy to vam­pire squids. They real­ly don’t deserve to be asso­ci­at­ed with this kind of enti­ty.

    That said, unfair name asso­ci­a­tions are pret­ty far down on the list of rea­sons we should real­ly apol­o­gize to the vam­pire squids.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 22, 2014, 10:40 am
  2. Posted by Allen Saul | November 20, 2014, 10:30 am

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