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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. [1] (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1 [2]  Side 2 [3]


Coin of the Realm?

Introduction: In FTR #772 [5], 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. [6] 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 [7]. Recorded on May 23, 1980, the program concludes with a warning about the dangers of economic concentration [8].

Program Highlights Include:

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. [6]

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 [9] 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. [19]

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 [20]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: [10]

“Ryan Crane, JPMor­gan Equi­ties Trad­ing Exec­u­tive, Dies at 37” by Hugh Son; Bloomberg; 2/13/2014. [10]

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. [21] The pre-bankruptcy deal­ings of Jef­fer­son County’s debt were mostly con­ducted by JP Mor­gan, and they weren’t some­thing you would pub­licly cel­e­brate. [22]

“John Ruiz, Mor­gan Stan­ley Munic­i­pal Debt Ana­lyst, Dies at 53” by Lau­rence Arnold; Bloomberg; 2/12/2014. [11]

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. [21]

“A Municipal Bankruptcy May Create a Template” by Mary Williams Walsh; The New York Times; 11/19/2013. [12]

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. [22]

“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. [13]

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 [14] 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. [14]

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 [15], 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 [23] Prime Minister from 1993-2001 [24].:

“Liecht­en­stein Banker Shot Dead in Reported Invest­ment Feud” by Jan-Henrik Foer­ster and Paul Ver­schuur; Bloomberg News; 4/7/2014.  [15]

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 [16] 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. [16]

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 [17]off of a 400-foot cliff.

“Indicted Developer Found Dead Off Mt. Tam Cliff” by Kale Williams; San Francisco Chronicle Blog; 5/6/2014. [17]

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 [18], who had resigned shortly before dying:

“Jim Flaherty Cause Of Death Was A Heart Attack, Police Say”; The Huffington Post; 4/10/2014. [18]

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 [25].

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 [26] in a coup attempt in 1934, seeking to install a government modeled on Mussolini’s “corporate state.” [27] 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) [7], 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 [28]. 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 [29]. 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.”