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Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking

Alayne-Fleischmann-Chase

She tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn’t take it anymore.

“It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street,” she says. “I thought, ‘I can’t sit by any longer.'”

Fleischmann is a tall, thin, quick-witted securities lawyer in her late thirties, with long blond hair, pale-blue eyes and an infectious sense of humor that has survived some very tough times. She’s had to struggle to find work despite some striking skills and qualifications, a common symptom of a not-so-common condition called being a whistle-blower.

Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.

read article at Rolling Stone here

Matt Taibbi and “The $9 Billion Witness” Who Exposed How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy

matt

see also

Chris Hedges Interviews Noam Chomsky (1/3)

….

 

Part 2

Robert Greenwald’s “Koch Brothers Exposed” (Full)

 

Koch Brothers Exposed is a hard-hitting investigation of the 1% at its very worst. This full-length documentary film on Charles and David Koch—two of the world’s richest and most powerful men—is the latest from acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed, Rethink Afghanistan). The billionaire brothers bankroll a vast network of organizations that work to undermine the interests of the 99% on issues ranging from Social Security to the environment to civil rights. This film uncovers the Kochs’ corruption—and points the way to how Americans can reclaim their democracy.

What can you do to fight back? Get the film. Host a screening. Tell your friends. Get the Koch brothers out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

10 Shocking Facts on the Kochs

1. Koch Industries, which the brothers own, is one of the top ten polluters in the United States — which perhaps explains why the Kochs have given $60 million to climate denial groups between 1997 and 2010.

2. The Kochs are the oil and gas industry’s biggest donors to the congressional committee with oversight of the hazardous Keystone XL oil pipeline. They and their employees gave more than $300,000 to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2010 alone.

3. From 1998-2008, Koch-controlled foundations gave more than $196 million to organizations that favor polices that would financially enrich the two brothers. In addition, Koch Industries spent $50 million on lobbying and some $8 million in PAC contributions.

4. The Koch fortune has its origins in engineering contracts with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union.

5. The Kochs are suing to take over the Cato Institute, which has accused the Kochs of attempting to destroy the group’s identity as an independent, libertarian think and align it more closely with a partisan agenda.

6. A Huffington Post source who was at a three-day retreat of conservative billionaires said the Koch brothers pledged to donate $60 million to defeat President Obama in 2012 and produce pledges of $40 million more from others at the retreat.

7. Since 2000, the Kochs have collected almost $100 million in government contracts, mostly from the Department of Defense.

8. Koch Industries has an annual production capacity of 2.2 billion pounds of the carcinogen formaldehyde. The company has worked to keep it from being classified as a carcinogen even though David Koch is a prostate cancer survivor.

9. The Koch brothers’ combined fortune of roughly $50 billion is exceeded only by that of Bill Gates in the United States.

10. The Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs accused Koch Oil of scheming to steal $31 million of crude oil from Native Americans. Although the company claimed it was accidental, a former executive in this operation said Charles Koch had known about it and had responded to the overages by saying, “I want my fair share, and that’s all of it.”

Thomas Piketty

CLICK ON IMAGE

pikkety

AND SEE THIS LECTURE BY PIKETTY

Affluenza Defense Lands Wealthy Teen in Rehab After He Kills 4 People in Drunk Driving Accident

CLICK ON IMAGE
amyg

Goldman Sachs: Calling clients “Muppets” and worse, Greg Smith

[youtube http://youtu.be/u4QYFs5Vohw?]

As noted in the Roundup, Goldman Sachs is once again being cited for ripping off its clients, this time in the IPO space. Goldman had already paid massive fines for causing the mortgage crisis by selling its own clients toxic assets. Later the firm would take considerable reputational damage when a former Goldman Sachs executive, Greg Smith, wrote an Op-Ed for the New York Times where he claimed Goldman employees routinely took advantage of the firm’s clients and enjoyed mocking them afterwards – the birth of the “Muppet” meme.

Now Joe Nocera has obtained, due to a clerical error, documents detailing Goldman Sachs screwing its IPO clients. Goldman’s clients, eToys, are in the midst of a lawsuit against Goldman. eToys is claiming Goldman conspired to keep the price of the IPO low to benefit their investment bank clients who gave Goldman a kickback in return. eToys later went out of business partly due to lacking capital that it could have raised in a more honest IPO.

Recently, however, I came across a cache of documents related to the eToys litigation that seem to tilt the argument in favor of the skeptics. Although the documents were supposed to be under seal, they were sitting in a file at the New York County Clerk’s Office, available to anyone who asked for them. I asked.

What they clearly show is that Goldman knew exactly what it was doing when it underpriced the eToys I.P.O. — and many others as well. (According to the lawsuit, Fitt led around a dozen underwritings in 1999, several of which were also woefully underpriced.) Taken in their entirety, the e-mails and internal reports show Goldman took advantage of naïve Internet start-ups to fatten its own bottom line.

The documents detail that Goldman’s focus was on using the eToys IPO to generate more business with its investment clients. After the investment clients profited the Goldman Sales force sprung into action calling the clients to secure more business gaining large commissions. A quid pro quo with eToys and other IPO clients losing out.

Goldman carefully calculated the first-day gains reaped by its investment clients. After compiling the numbers in something it called a trade-up report, the Goldman sales force would call on clients, show them how much they had made from Goldman’s I.P.O.’s and demand that they reward Goldman with increased business.It was not unusual for Goldman sales representatives to ask that 30 to 50 percent of the first-day profits be returned to Goldman via commissions, according to depositions given in the case.

“What specifically do you recall” your Goldman broker wanting, asked one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers in a deposition with an investor named Andrew Hale Siegal.

“You made $50,000, how about $25,000 back?” came the answer. “You know, you made a killing.”

“Did he ever explain to you how to pay it back?” asked the lawyer.

“No. But we both knew that I knew how,” Siegal replied. “I mean, commissions, however I could generate.”

30-50%! Now that’s an incentive structure.

Luckily for Goldman Sachs they were not so greedy they forgot to do another kickback, this one in the form of bribes to Congress and the President. Otherwise they might have to actually suffer for their misbehavior. But having bought protection from the Justice Department while getting massive subsidies and bailout guarantees from the Federal Reserve ensures Goldman’s continued survival and dominance. And as long as Goldman has the government behind them they will have clients no matter how likely they are to treat them like Muppets.

Via FDL

LeakSource | mars 13, 2013 à 9:45 | Catégories: News | URL: http://wp.me/p1jpRz-31e

The Corporation

full movie here

Iceland’s Economy Recovers by Going After the Banksters, while Europe’s Malaise Continues and the US Barrels Toward Collapse

Sarah Lyall
The New York Times
Sat, 07 Jul 2012 00:00 CDT

© Andrew Testa for The New York Times
A ship docked at an aluminum plant near Reykjavik last month.
Reykjavik, Iceland – For a country that four years ago plunged into a financial abyss so deepit all but shut down overnight, Iceland seems to be doing surprisingly well.It has repaid, early, many of the international loans that kept it afloat. Unemployment is hovering around 6 percent, and falling. And while much of Europe is struggling to pull itself out of the recessionary swamp, Iceland’s economy is expected to grow by 2.8 percent this year.”Everything has turned around,” said Adalheidur Hedinsdottir, who owns and runs the coffee chain Kaffitar, the Starbucks of Iceland, and has plans to open a new cafe and start a bakery business. “When we told the bank we wanted to make a new company, they said, ‘Do you want to borrow money?’ ” she went on. “We haven’t been hearing that for a while.”

Analysts attribute the surprising turn of events to a combination of fortuitous decisions and good luck, and caution that the lessons of Iceland’s turnaround are not readily applicable to the larger and more complex economies of Europe.

But during the crisis, the country did many things different from its European counterparts. It let its three largest banks fail, instead of bailing them out. It ensured that domestic depositors got their money back and gave debt relief to struggling homeowners and to businesses facing bankruptcy.

“Taking down a company with positive cash flow but negative equity would in the given circumstances have a domino effect, causing otherwise sound companies to collapse,” said Thorolfur Matthiasson, an economics professor at the University of Iceland. “Forgiving debt under those circumstances can be profitable for the financial institutions and help the economy and reduce unemployment as well.”

Iceland also had some advantages when it entered the crisis: relatively few government debts, a strong social safety net and a fluctuating currency whose rapid devaluation in 2008 caused pain for consumers but helped buoy the all-important export market. Government officials, who at the height of the crisis were reduced to begging for help from places like the Faroe Islands, are now cautiously bullish.

“We’re in a very comfortable place because the government has been very stable in fiscal terms and is making good progress in balancing its books,” said Gudmundur Arnason, the Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary. “We are self-reliant and can borrow on our own without having to rely on the good will of our Nordic neighbors” or lenders like the International Monetary Fund.

But not even Mr. Arnason says he believes that all is perfect. Inflation, which reached nearly 20 percent during the crisis, is still running at 5.4 percent, and even with the government’s relief programs, most of the country’s homeowners remain awash in debt, weighed down by inflation-indexed mortgages in which the principal, disastrously, rises with the inflation rate. Taxes are high. And with the country’s currency, the krona, worth between about 40 and 75 percent of its pre-2008 value, imports are punishingly expensive.

Strict currency controls, imposed during the crisis, mean that Icelandic companies are forbidden to invest abroad. At the same time, foreigners are forbidden to take their money out of the country – a situation that has tied up foreign investments worth, according to various estimates, between $3.4 billion and $8 billion.

“The capital controls are worse and worse for companies, but the fear is that if we lift them, the value of the krona will collapse,” Professor Matthiasson said.

He said the only solution would be for Iceland to dispense with the krona and join a larger, more stable currency. The choices at the moment seem to be the euro, which is having its own difficulties, and the Canadian dollar.

Not everyone buys into the rosy picture presented by officialdom. Jon Danielsson, an Icelander who teaches global finance at the London School of Economics, said that both the I.M.F., which bailed Iceland out during the crisis, and the government had a vested interest in painting a positive picture of the situation.

“When I hear people say that everything is fine, it’s colored by P.R.,” Mr. Danielsson said. “They have clearly stabilized the economy and gotten out of the deep crisis, but they have not yet found a way to build a prosperous country for the future.”

A visit to Iceland late last month revealed a far different place from the shellshocked nation of 2008. Stores and hotels were full. The Harpa, a glass-and-steel concert hall and conference center designed in part by the artist Olafur Eliasson and opened in 2011, soared over the Reykjavik skyline, next to a huge construction site that is to house a luxury waterside hotel. Employers said that instead of having to lay off workers, they were in some cases having trouble finding people to hire.

Icelanders said that they had stopped feeling ashamed and isolated, the way that they did during the worst of the crisis, when their country was portrayed as a greedy and foolish pariah state and its British assets were frozen by the British government using the blunt and humiliating instrument of antiterror legislation. Enlarge This Image Andrew Testa for The New York Times

The Harpa, a glass-and-steel concert hall and conference center designed in part by the artist Olafur Eliasson, opened in 2011 in Reykjavik.

“We went through this complicated and terrible experience and were in the center of world events,” said Kristrun Heimisdottir, a lecturer in law and jurisprudence at the University of Akureyri in northern Iceland.

She compared Iceland’s shame to that of a private person thrust onto the front pages by a lurid scandal. “It might take 20 years to recover from the stress and humiliation of having their personal life paraded before the world,” she said. “But it turned out that what happened to us was a microcosm of the whole crisis.”

Some Icelanders say they have been soothed, too, by the country’s bold decision to initiate an extensive criminal investigation into the financial debacle. Many members of the old banking elite have been identified as possible suspects, and some of their cases are beginning to come to trial; several people were convicted of financial crimes last month.

People in Reykjavik say that while things are hardly perfect, they are certainly better.

“Everyone was scared, and we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Kristjan Kristjansson, 49, manager of the store Bad Taste Records downtown. But Icelanders are adaptable people, he said, and many never really believed the economic boom was real, anyway.

“Of course, what happened has affected everybody – our loans are higher, and it’s more expensive to live,” Mr. Kristjansson said. But there have been other financial crises before. “I remember when they cut two zeros off the Krona,” he said. “I’m old enough to have seen it go up and down.”

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