#protest now in #SoPaulo against #Brazil #Temer caught negotiating kickbacks & for direct elections in the country (photo: Dani Sampaio) pic.twitter.com/t4ojSzwyoe — ana cernov (@anacernov) May 18, 2017
The presidency of Brazil’s Michel Temer, who replaced disgraced and impeached predecessor Dilma Rouseff last summer, lasted about one year without a major corruption scandal. That changed tonight, when Brazil’s O Globo newspaper which was instrumental in exposing the Carwash scandal which ultimately led to Rouseff’s downfall and the arrest and incarceration of countless politicians, reported that the chairman of meatpacking giant JBS secretly recorded his discussion with Temer about “hush money” payments to jailed former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha in return for his silence. The allegations are the latest development in Operation Carwash, a sprawling corruption probe that has implicated many of Brazil’s business and political elite, including some in the president’s own party. Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Readers may recall that in a delightfully ironic case study of political irony and power vacuum, Eduardo Cunha, the conservative Brazilian political leader who led the push in 2016 to oust Dilma Rousseff, was sentenced in March to more than 15 years in prison himself, when a Brazil judge found him guilty of corruption, money laundering and illegally sending money abroad, all in connection with the sprawling graft investigation involving the state-run oil company Petrobras, and which Cunha himself used as a pretext to dispose of Rouseff.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 18, 2017.
The death of Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki who had presided over the sprawling “Carwash” corruption scandal, and who died yesterday in a freak airplane crash has sent shockwaves both around the globe and in Brazil, because while few in polite company will discuss it, it has opened the possibility of political assassinations as a means of “quieting” legal proceedings. And as Reuters reports today, while the death of the judge will likely not derail the country’s biggest ever graft probe, it will delay it, “handing valuable breathing space to President Michel Temer” who many have accused of being even more corrupt than his predecessor. While there is no evidence yet of “foul play”, the timing of the death is oddly coincidental, especially since the upcoming revelations could have had damaging implications for Brazil’s still relatively new president Temer. As a reminder, Justice Zavascki was killed in a plane crash on Thursday, “just weeks before he was due to unveil explosive testimony from executives at engineering group Odebrecht SA that is expected to implicate as many as 200 politicians in a vast kickback scandal” Reuters notes.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 20, 2017.
Toxic loans as a result of corruption, political kickbacks, fraud, and abuse. The Bank of Italy’s Target 2 liabilities towards other Eurozone central banks – one of the most important indicators of banking stress – has risen by 129 billion in the last 12 months through November to 358.6 billion. That’s well above the 289 billion peak reached in August 2012 at the height of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Foreign and local investors are dumping Italian government bonds and withdrawing their funding to Italian banks. The bank at the heart of Italy’s financial crisis, Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), has bled 6 billion of ‘commercial direct deposits’ between September 30 and December 13, 2 billion of which since December 4, the date of Italy’s constitutional referendum. Italy’s new Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who took over from Matteo Renzi after his defeat in the referendum, said his government – a virtual carbon copy of the last one – is prepared to do whatever it takes to stop MPS from collapsing and thereby engulfing other European banks. His options would include directly supporting Italy’s ailing banks, in contravention of the EU’s bail-in rules passed into law at the beginning of this year. Though now, that push comes to shove, the EU seems happy to look the other way. While attention is focused on the rescue of MPS, news regarding another Italian bank, Banca Erturia, has quietly slipped by the wayside.
This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 18, 2016.
Another day, another round of selling of Valeant stock, which tumbled at the open on a report that the US has announced criminal charges in connection to a Valeant probe and that the ex-CEO of Valeant’s “secret pharmacy” Philidor, Andy Davenport as well as another executive, Greg Tanner, have been arrested “for engaging in a multi-million dollar fraud and kickback scheme.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2016.
Someone close to me, who is voting for Hillary, sent me this article recently, thinking it did a great job of characterizing Trump voters as real people. And I was so mortified and incensed reading it, that I felt it necessary to respond with my own thoughts on this election, and who I will be voting for. The article is a perfect example of virtue signaling as it relates to this election. Nowhere in the article does John Biggs, the author, indicate that he has actually spoken with any Trump voter who actually has anything positive to say about Trump himself or his proposed policies. Instead, the quotes are merely meant to symbolize angry conservatives who are voting against Hillary moreso than they are voting for Trump. It seems this Ohio native turned Brooklyn hipster has taken but one glance at the odds and surmised that since he believes Hillary is going to win, and since he has such a large following, it is his duty to begin reaching out to Trump voters to bridge the partisan divide. It seems as if he wants to unite everyone under a nation of corruption and crime for the leaders, but not for the general population. Seeing as how I regularly communicate with Trump voters, I felt it my duty to respond, and will preserve the anonymity of my contributors by speaking through my own voice. However, it is important to give some background on myself, my voting record, and who I will be voting for. Since I have been eligible to vote, I have voted for the Libertarian candidate for President. I am firmly convinced that the differences between the two parties are merely superficial, as they are both committed to deficit spending, endless wars, welfare handouts, and corporate bailouts/kickbacks, which are the real issues plaguing the country today. Most recently, in 2012, I voted for Gary Johnson, as I was very impressed with his campaign and platform. At the time, Charlie at Single Dude Travel did an excellent job of characterizing what it means to vote for a third party, and not be a part of the two-party scam:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 25, 2016.
While the media is transfixed with the just released Washington Post leak of a private Donald Trump conversation from 2005 in which he was speaking “lewdly” about women, and for which he has apologized, roughly at the same time, Wikileaks released part one of what it dubbed the “Podesta emails“, which it describes as “a series on deals involving Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta. Mr Podesta is a long-term associate of the Clintons and was President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff from 1998 until 2001. Mr Podesta also owns the Podesta Group with his brother Tony, a major lobbying firm and is the Chair of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington DC-based think tank.” While the underlying story in this specific case involves the alleged kickbacks received by the Clinton Foundation from the Russian government-controlled “Uranium One”, a story which has been profiled previously by the NYT, and about which Wikileaks adds that “as Russian interests gradually took control of Uranium One millions of dollars were donated to the Clinton Foundation between 2009 and 2013 from individuals directly connected to the deal including the Chairman of Uranium One, Ian Telfer. Although Mrs Clinton had an agreement with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors to the Clinton Foundation, the contributions from the Chairman of Uranium One were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons”, what caught our attention is an email from Tony Carr, a Research Director at Hillary for America, in which he lay outs hundreds of excerpts from the heretofore missing transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s infamous Wall Street speeches, with an emphasis on those which should be flagged as they may be damaging to Hillary.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 7, 2016.
While we eagerly await news of the Clinton Family Foundation being “unexpectedly” hacked (after today’s Reuters prep piece), with a trove of documents revealing even more shocking crony kickbacks, “favors” and corruption, we are sad to report that should Hillary become president, said foundation will no longer accept foreign and corporate donations, and will bring an end to its annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting regardless of the outcome of the November election. Well, of course: once Hillary is president, she will no longer need a backdoor way of legally receiving Saudi money: at that moment, billions in Saudi dollars will be perfectly acceptable for passage through the front door, mostly in exchange for weapons and ammo (fine, and the occasional favor), used to kill and maim innocent civilians and to supply the occasional Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing raid (which, oddly enough, has received zero coverage in the US media… how odd). *** Bill Clinton made the announcement at an afternoon meeting with foundation staff members, according to participants who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement. Clinton said the foundation plans to continue its work, but intends to refocus its efforts in a process that will take up to a year to complete. The former president, who turns 70 on Friday, said he will resign from the board, and the foundation will only accept contributions from U. S. citizens and independent charities.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 19, 2016.
It’s hard to imagine a better endorsement of Donald Trump’s economic policies – whatever they may be, whenever he finds the time to explain them – than the recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton by former Goldman Sachs CEO and U. S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. As the man in charge of the biggest explosion of corporate welfare in world history – the ‘TARP’ bailouts, he defined himself as a sworn enemy of capitalism and a socialist when it comes to the capital markets. Socializing billions of dollars in investment bank, insurance company, and automobile industry losses with taxpayer dollars qualifies Paulson as deserving of the S-word label. As such, Hillary Clinton may well have found a new political and financial soulmate. Paulson began his career and cut his political teeth with some of the sleaziest and most disastrous political hacks in American history – first as a Pentagon assistant to the secretary of defense from 1970-1972, then as a Nixon administration assistant to John Ehrlichman, the convicted Watergate felon. Such sterling credentials earned him a position at Goldman Sachs, where he presumably mastered the political dirty trick skills that he must have learned from Ehrlichman and the rest to eventually claw his way up to the CEO position. Paulson and Hillary Clinton might as well be cloned twins when it comes to using their positions of political power to line the pockets of the wealthiest people in America in return for kickbacks and political support. As the chief corporate welfare czar during the Bush administration, a first order of business was the $180 billion bailout of the insurance company AIG, ninety percent of which was totally solvent, as documented by David Stockman in his book, The Great Deformation(p. 6). Rather than allowing a healthy free-market purge of AIG’s bad assets, Paulson showered the company with taxpayer dollars in a totally unnecessary bailout.
Around the world, a change that has been slowly gathering momentum seems to be accelerating: everywhere we look, we see the public revelation of political and economic corruption. Corruption… A Norm Throughout History The abuse of political power for personal gain has been an ugly but consistent aspect of every human society and civilization. There have been rare rulers and regimes under whom corruption was suppressed, punished, and minimized… but much more often, corruption has been the norm, and ordinary people have tolerated it. In easy times, they tolerated it because enough trickled down to them that they could excuse “criminals”, who at least could ‘get things done.’ In harder times, they tolerated it out of necessity, because those criminals wielded the power of the sword. Must read Duncan: China Slamming Into a Brick Wall With few exceptions, corruption has been the baseline. Ordinary citizens and subjects could expect that the power of the government would be exploited by a privileged few who would use it to extract ill-gotten gains, secure preferential treatment in business dealings, demand bribes and kickbacks, and so on.
Late last week, we shared what may be the most concise summary of the ongoing political theater involving the impeachment process of Dilma Rousseff, who as is well known has already been impeached, but where virtually every other actor is just as guilty of corruption and/or kickbacks. To wit: A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that the powerful lawmaker who orchestrated the effort to impeach President Dilma Rousseff must step down as he faces graft charges, ratcheting up tensions in the country. And in a further blow to Brazil’s scandal-plagued political establishment, Vice President Michel Temer, the man preparing to take control of the government from Ms. Rousseff, had his conviction on charges of violating limits on campaign financing upheld earlier this week, a ruling that makes him ineligible to run for elected office for eight years. The rulings are not expected to save Ms. Rousseff’s presidency. Support for her ouster remains strong in the Senate, which is preparing to vote next week on whether to remove her from office and put her on trial over claims of budgetary manipulation. But the decisions reflect the potential for greater political turmoil in the country.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/09/2016.
Many of the things that are happening this very moment have direct parallels in literature of the past. Whether it is an account such as the ‘Gulag Archipelago’ by Solzhenitsyn or a work of ‘fiction’ such as ’1984′ by George Orwell is irrelevant. Elements of the history or the storyline (regarding the former and the latter works) are now becoming thoroughly inculcated into the fabric of modern reality. All of the measures taken by the Soviet Union to crush and control its population are beginning to manifest themselves today in the United States. The courts are ‘stacked’ to reflect the decision of the regime and not to rule by law. The Military Industrial Complex contracts are still being shuffled, along with government policies that just happen to substantiate those business interests with kickbacks for all. Laws serve political and corporate interests, and the lawmakers themselves do not represent any of their constituents: they are self-serving thieves, selling out their country and its populace for money and power. The police departments have (for all intents and purposes) been ‘federalized,’ with budgets and marching orders becoming increasingly dependent upon federal and not local or state policies. Sheriffs who follow their appointed roles as duly-elected law enforcement officials upholding Constitutional guidelines are being ‘phased out’ of existence. The changed demographics of ‘forced’ insertions of illegal aliens and ‘refugees’ into populations are rapidly negating the remainder of the two-party system to ensure that the Democratic party takes control ad infinitum.
This post was published at shtfplan on March 29th, 2016.
The U. S. is asking Novartis AG to provide records of about 80,000 ‘sham’ events in which the government says doctors were wined and dined so they would prescribe the company’s cardiovascular drugs to their patients. The Swiss drugmaker and the Manhattan U. S. Attorney are engaged in a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleges Novartis provided illegal kickbacks to health-care providers through bogus educational programs at high-end restaurants and sports bars where the drugs were barely discussed. In a filing Friday, the U. S. said it needs Novartis to provide information to support its allegation that the company defrauded federal health-care programs of hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade by inducing doctors to prescribe its medications through sham speaker events.
Imagine one of the most admired global political leaders in modern history taken from his apartment at 6 am by armed Brazilian Federal Police agents and forced into an unmarked car to the Sao Paulo airport to be interrogated for almost four hours in connection with a billion dollar corruption scandal involving the giant state oil company Petrobras. This is the stuff Hollywood is made of. And that was exactly the logic behind the elaborate production. The public prosecutors of the two-year-old Car Wash investigation maintain there are “elements of proof” implicating Lula in receiving funds – at least 1.1 million euros – from the dodgy kickback scheme involving major Brazilian construction companies connected to Petrobras. Lula might – and the operative word is “might” – have personally profited from it mostly in the form of a ranch (which he does not own), a relatively modest seaside apartment, speaking fees in the global lecture circuit, and donations to his charity.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/10/2016.
Imagine one of the most admired global political leaders in modern history taken from his apartment at 6 a.m. by armed Brazilian Federal Police agents and forced into an unmarked car to the Sao Paulo airport to be interrogated for almost four hours in connection with a billion dollar corruption scandal involving the giant state oil company Petrobras. This is the stuff Hollywood is made of. And that was exactly the logic behind the elaborate production. The public prosecutors of the two-year-old Car Wash investigation maintain there are “elements of proof” implicating Lula in receiving funds – at least 1.1 million – from the dodgy kickback scheme involving major Brazilian construction companies connected to Petrobras. Lula might – and the operative word is “might” – have personally profited from it mostly in the form of a ranch (which he does not own), a relatively modest seaside apartment, speaking fees in the global lecture circuit, and donations to his charity.
‘Pretty Soon We Have to Start Labeling this a Depression’: Goldman on Brazil Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, now the 8th largest in the world, down from 6th place during the glorious BRICs days of 2011, is sinking deeper and deeper into trouble. An epic corruption and kickback scandal surrounding state-run oil company Petrobras is spreading up the government pyramid to the highest levels – a week ago, the government’s Senate leader was arrested for allegedly trying to meddle in the investigations. As the scandal is metastasizing, political decision-making is gridlocked, and the confidence of consumers and businesses has been demolished. The budget deficit is ballooning as the economy is spiraling down. On Monday, the government imposed a partial shutdown and froze discretionary spending. Standard & Poor’s has slashed Brazil to junk, citing government finances, the political mess, and the deepening economic nightmare. Moody’s and Fitch still rate it just above junk, with their downgrade fingers itching to pull the trigger. All this comes at the worst possible moment for the economy. GDP fell 1.7% in the third quarter, the national statistics institute (IBGE) announced today. Year over year, GDP plunged 4.5%, the sixth contraction in a row, and the worst since the beginning of modern records in 1996. ‘There is no room for any growth in the coming quarters,’ Andre Perfeito, chief economist at Gradual Investimentos in Sao Paulo, told Bloomberg. ‘The situation is really, really bad,’ he said, likening the GDP report to ‘an obituary.’
This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ December 1, 2015.
It Just Keeps Getting Worse and Worse Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, now the 8th largest in the world, down from 6th place during the glorious BRICs days of 2011, is sinking deeper and deeper into trouble. An epic corruption and kickback scandal surrounding state-run oil company Petrobras is spreading up the government pyramid to the highest levels – a week ago, the government’s Senate leader was arrested for allegedly trying to meddle in the investigations. As the scandal is metastasizing, political decision-making is gridlocked, and the confidence of consumers and businesses has been demolished. The budget deficit is ballooning as the economy is spiraling down. On Monday, the government imposed a partial shutdown and froze discretionary spending. Standard & Poor’s has slashed Brazil to junk, citing government finances, the political mess, and the deepening economic nightmare. Moody’s and Fitch still rate it just above junk, with their downgrade fingers itching to pull the trigger.
This post was published at Wolf Street on December 1, 2015.
Chances are pretty high that among the daily lexicon of most Americans, you are not going to hear the words ‘maker-taker.’ And yet, outside of the debate about preventing Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks to create another epic taxpayer bailout in the future, the maker-taker debate is one of the hottest on Wall Street. On Tuesday of this week, the glacially-slow to respond Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) held a full day hearing on the ‘maker-taker’ model and other stock market structure dysfunctions. In simple terms, maker-taker is another wealth extraction tool used by Wall Street firms to pick the public’s pocket in the name of stock market liquidity. In more complex terms, brokers servicing retail clients and institutions (like those managing your pension money) are incentivized to send their customers’ stock limit orders to trading venues that will paythem a rebate (on the premise that they are ‘making’ liquidity) while traders who trade on those limit orders are charged a fee (on the premise they are ‘taking’ liquidity). Thus the maker-taker model. Finance Professor Larry Harris, of the USC Marshall School of Business, told the SEC panel on Tuesday that ‘fees charged to access standing limit orders are essentially kickbacks that exchanges charge people who want to trade with their clients who offer limit orders. In any other context, collecting such fees would constitute a felony. Although legal in the security markets, they are impediments to fair and orderly markets. They need to go away.’
Since the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took office in December 2012 , Spain has witnessed more and bigger political scandals than at any other point since ittransitioned from dictatorship to democracy in the late seventies and early eighties. But according to an expose by El Confidencial, things may be even worse than feared: rampant corruption in Spain extends far beyond the political sphere, to the beating heart of the financial markets. Extortion Inc. Just as Spain’s governing party is accused of awarding public work contracts and fine tuning political legislation on the basis of the kickbacks it receives from large Spanish companies and wealthy individuals, so too is Spain’s financial markets regulator, the CNMV – the Spanish equivalent of the Securities and Exchange Commission – suspected of criminal malpractice in the concession and withdrawal of licenses for operating in the Spanish market. In other words, the organization ostensibly responsible for maintaining confidence in the financial system and combatting the financial crimes of supposedly regulated businesses is itself now accused of perpetrating a litany of financial crimes. Two weeks ago the Police’s financial crimes unit (UDEF) interrogated Elvira Rodrguez, the president of the CNMV, as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged corruption ring within the financial markets supervisor. According to sources close to the investigation, Rodrguez, a former senior member of the governing Popular Party, has been aware for some time of the Police’s criminal charges against the CNMV. The UDEF has also interrogated former and current employees of the CNMV.
This post was published at Wolf Street on August 18, 2015.
Following today’s “successful” vote confirming Sepp Blatter’s 5th term running the farce called FIFA, and amid soccer’s governing body being investigated by US and Swiss authorities over claims of corruption, we thought a summary of just where the money comes from and (apart from the $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to 14 executives) where it goes for the Swiss-based entity… How does the Zurich-based multi-million-pound organisation make its money and what does it spend it on?
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/29/2015 –.
The hypocrisy is amusing…. and disturbing. A 47-count indictment was unsealed early this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer. The guilty pleas of four individual defendants and two corporate defendants were also unsealed today. The defendants charged in the indictment include high-ranking officials of the Fdration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization responsible for the regulation and promotion of soccer worldwide, as well as leading officials of other soccer governing bodies that operate under the FIFA umbrella. Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner – the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States – are among the soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses. The defendants also include U. S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.