“Gnomes Of Zurich” In Panic As Saudi Corruption Crackdown Sparks Flood Of Money Laundering Inquiries

There are two divergent views on the crackdown on corruption by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), which led to the arrest and detention of 200 princes, ministers and former ministers.
On one hand, it was a masterstroke which will earn political capital with the Saudi people and catalyse an Arab Spring in which MBS is a modernizing reformer who will liberalise Islam.
On the other, it was nothing other than a cynical and desperate attempt to tighten his grip on power and weaken competing clans within the ruling family (especially sons of former King Abdullah) as the nation risks splitting apart due to political and economic fissures. Last week, we noted that former head of the National Guard and senior member of the Abdullah clan, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, purchased his freedom for a cool $1 billion.
If you put yourself in the position of being a Saudi prince or wealthy Saudi official, whatever your opinion of MBS’s motivation, you would be forgiven for taking additional measures to make it harder for his henchmen to seize your wealth if you found yourself in the crosshairs.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.

Detained Saudi Prince Buys His Freedom For $1 Billion

One day you were the billionaire head of the National Guard in one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. Although that carries some risk, you were probably reassured by your position as a senior prince in the ruling family, never mind your strong ties to the US military… oh and of course the many zeros in your bank account. The next day, in a turn of events akin to Shakespearian drama, you were imprisoned (kind of) with ten of your fellow princes and a bunch of ministers and former ministers in a 5 star hotel on charges of money laundering, bribery and general corruption.
Despite being a cousin of the Kingdom’s uber-autocratic crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was a son of former King Abdullah and got caught up in a clan war in the ruling family. Former Riyadh governor and another of King Abdullah’s sons, Turki bin Abdullah, was also arrested in the crackdown.
Miteb was accused of conducting normal business practices in Saudi Arabia, such as embezzlement, hiring ‘ghost’ employees and awarding his own companies a $10 billion contract for walkie-talkies and bullet proof protection. However, after what must have been the worst three and a half weeks of his life in the Ritz Carlton ‘prison’, Miteb has purchased his freedom for a cool $1 billion.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.

Jeff Bezos and All He Owns Must Be Destroyed

There is a basic premise behind reporting .vs. editorializing — one is allegedly unbiased, although we all have our personal prejudices while the other is labeled opinion (it’s found on the opinion page and is disclosed as such.)
Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, it is now clear, in order to effect a public lobbying strategy much larger than that which Hastings “organized” and led to a five times increase in his firm’s stock price revolving around net neutrality.
That latter event occurred after ISPs, properly recognizing that he was effectively driving semi trucks over the roads built for cars and refusing to pay higher fuel taxes and license plate fees for same, or, if you prefer, opening up a 2″ water connection to a 6″ main and demanding not to be charged by the gallon, resulting in you having no water pressure, started pushing back and demanding that Netflix cover the outsized costs being imposed on said ISPs to prevent service-quality collapses to everyone, including those who didn’t want his service.
In response Hastings got a bunch of left-aligned media to whip the public into a froth and Obama’s FCC obliged by handing him tens of billions of dollars of money literally forced out of non-subscriber’s wallets.
Amazon engages in cross-subsidization of its product sales (on which he makes no profit, particularly when fulfillment along with G&A are included) with other sales, particularly in AWS, where he does. This now includes government sales of AWS which means you’re being forced to subsidize Jeff Bezos’ destruction of retailers all across the United States at literal gunpoint, along with all the jobs that go when those retailers are forced out of business.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-11-24.

Saudi Purge Claims Its Latest Corporate Victim As Kingdom Holdings Sees $1.3 Billion Bank Deal Collapse

For the past couple of weeks we’ve written frequently about the sudden political turmoil in Saudi Arabia that resulted in two Saudi princes being killed in a span of just 24 hours and dozens others being detained on charges of corruption while having their bank accounts frozen. Here are couple of our most recent background posts on the topic:
The Saudi Purge: The Middle-East Is On The Verge Of A New War If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn’t Worry You, You’re Not Paying Attention Now, per an exclusive report from Reuters, it appears as though the latest casualty of the Saudi shakeup is a financing deal sought by the $8 billion dollar Kingdom Holdings which is owned and run by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal…at least until he was recently arrested that is.
Kingdom Holding’s plan to borrow money to fund new investments has stalled because owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been detained in Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption crackdown, according to four banking sources familiar with the matter. Kingdom 4280. SE had approached banks to obtain the loan, but the financing plan has been held up because the lenders are worried about potential repercussions if they lend to the prince’s company, the sources said.
One of the sources, who was approached for the loan, said it would have been worth roughly 5 billion riyals ($1.3 billion).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2017.

FBI Informant Has Video Of Russian Agents With Briefcases Of Bribe Money In Clinton-Uranium Scandal

An undercover FBI informant in the Russian nuclear industry who was made to sign an ‘illegal NDA’ by former AG Loretta Lynch, claims to have video evidence showing Russian agents with briefcases full of bribe money related to the controversial Uranium One deal – according to The Hill investigative journalist John Solomon and Circa’s Sara Carter.
The informant, whose identity was revealed by Reuters as William D. Campbell, will testify before congress next week after the NDA which carried the threat of prison time was lifted. Campbell, originally misidentifed by Reuters as a lobbyist is actually a nuclear industry consultant who is currently battling cancer.
As previously reported, Campbell was deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industry where he gathered extensive evidence of a racketeering scheme involving bribes and kickbacks.
‘The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,’ a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U. S. or Russian officials. -The Hill


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 18, 2017.

Next-Generation Crazy: The Fed Plans For The Coming Recession

Insanity, like criminality, usually starts small and expands with time. In the Fed’s case, the process began in the 1990s with a series of (in retrospect) relatively minor problems running from Mexico’s currency crisis thorough Russia’s bond default, the Asian Contagion financial crisis, the Long Term Capital Management collapse and finally the Y2K computer bug.
With the exception of Y2K – which turned out to be a total non-event – these mini-crises were threats primarily to the big banks that had unwisely lent money to entities that then flushed it away. But instead of recognizing that this kind of non-fatal failure is crucial to the proper functioning of a market economy, providing as it does a set of object lessons for everyone else on what not to do, the Fed chose to protect the big banks from the consequences of their mistakes. It cut interest rates dramatically and/or acquiesced in federal bailouts that converted well-deserved big-bank losses into major profits.
The banks concluded from this that any level of risk is okay because they’ll keep the proceeds without having to worry about the associated risks.
At this point – let’s say late 1999 – the Fed is corrupt rather than crazy. But the world created by its corruption was about to push it into full-on delusion.
The amount of credit flowing into the system in the late 1990s converted the tech stock bull market of 1996 into the dot-com bubble of 1999, which burst spectacularly in 2000, causing a deep, chaotic recession.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on NOVEMBER 17, 2017.

The Big Money Grab Is ‘On’ As Middle America Collapses

The stock market rejoices the House passage of the tax ‘reform’ Bill as the Dow shot up 187 points and the S&P 500 spiked up 21. The Nasdaq soared 1.3%, retracing its 3-day decline in one day. The tax bill is nothing more than a massive redirect of money flow from the Treasury Department to Corporate America and billionaires. The middle class will not receive any tax relief from the Bill but it will shoulder the burden of the several trillion dollars extra in Treasury debt that will be required to finance the tax cuts for the wealthy. The tax ‘reform’ will have, at best, no effect on GDP. It will likely be detrimental to real economic output.
The Big Money Grab is ‘on’ at the highest levels of of Wall St., DC, Corporate America, the Judiciary and State/local Govt. These people are grabbing from a dying carcass as fast and greedily as possible. The elitists are operating free from any fear of the Rule of Law. That particular nuisance does not apply to ‘them’ – only to ‘us.’ They don’t even try to hide their grand scale theft anymore because the protocol in place to prevent them from doing this is now on their side. This is the section in Atlas Shrugged leading up to the big implosion.
‘When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.’ – Atlas Shrugged

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on November 16, 2017.

At Last – Clinton Foundation Gets Investigated

What goes around, comes around. The Washington Post has reported that the Department of Justice has instructed the US Attorney’s Office to investigate the controversial sale of a uranium group to Russia during the presidency of Barack Obama and the role of the Clinton Foundation. The Obama administration approved the deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a much of the American uranium sources. It turns out that the FBI had gathered significant evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering to get the deal in the USA. According to a letter released on Monday, Justice Secretary Jeff Sessions instructed the prosecutors to consider, inter alia, the appointment of a special investigator and an extension of the investigation.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 15, 2017.

The Saudi-Iran Brewing War

The turmoil in the Middle East has been instigated in part by fiscal mismanagement. When the money was rolling in with high oil prices, it was assumed, as always, that whatever trend is in motion will remain in motion. Consequently, the government expanded their spending assuming money would continue to flow in. When oil broke, the fiscal mismanagement has been exposed for all to see if they care to look.
Falling oil prices have decimated revenues and trade in the region. Security worries about terrorism, particularly in the US, have led to cuts in airline routes. Then there has also been a long-running diplomatic and trade impasse between Saudi Arabia and its allies on the one hand, and Qatar on the other. Now the good-old-days of easy money and rapid growth has led to concerns about over-capacity, waste, and corruption that nobody cared about when money flowed like oil.
We are witnessing the beginning of a Middle East War between the Suni and Shite where the latter opposes kings and the state should be ruled by religious leaders. Iran and its Lebanese ally, the militant Shia group Hezbollah, claim the Saudis detained Mr. Saad El-Din Rafik Al-Hariri is a Lebanese-Saudi politician who has been the Prime Minister of Lebanon since December 2016. They allege that Saudi Arabia forced his resignation. Rex Tillerson said he had received assurances that Mr. Hariri was free to leave anytime.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 12, 2017.

Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role In $15 Million Plot To Kidnap Erdogan’s Arch-Nemesis

Last week, we reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is close to asking a grand jury to approve indictments for former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and his son, Mike Flynn Jr., as investigators believe they have enough evidence to bring charges after speaking to multiple witnesses about Flynn’s lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts. Now, we have a somewhat clearer picture of what Mueller has been digging around for in his investigation of Flynn who was fired after just 24 days on the job.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Mueller is probing a plot involving Flynn and his son to forcibly, and lucratively, remove Fethullah Gulen, who as most regular readers know is Turkish president Erdogan’s arch-nemesis, and the man who – according to Erdogan – controls Turkey’s “deep state”, and was responsible for the failed (and faked) July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan. In more practical terms, Gulen is a 76-year-old Muslim cleric currently residing in rural Pennsylvania. And, as is also well-known, Erdogan has for years been attempting, lobbying and threatening the US in hopes of getting him extradited back to Turkey. This is where Flynn allegedly comes in: reportedly he, and his son, were part of a plan to grab Gulen and deliver him to Turkey in return for $15 millions. To wit:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.

Power Brokers: Saudi Crown Prince Clears a Path to the Throne

Just two weeks ago, the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh took place to international acclaim. Now, investor interest has turned to intense uncertainty, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spearheads an anti-corruption crackdown, and power shifts unfold in the Gulf. But despite the short-term risks, Alex Damianou argues that the long-term impact should be positive.
The 4th of November was an historic day in Saudi Arabia. King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), demonstrated their continued, almost Machiavellian determination to execute social and economic reforms under Vision 2030. Their goals – to usher in a new area of transformation, consolidate power, and re-assert themselves on the regional battleground towards Iran.
A Strategic Move
The day began with the seemingly Saudi-influenced resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Riyadh, citing Iranian influence and fears of an attempt on his own life. This was followed by a royal decree issued by King Salman, establishing the National Anti-Corruption Committee. Chaired by Crown Prince Salman, the committee has a mandate to identify offenses, persons, crimes, and entities involved in public corruption. The extensive powers of the committee include the ability to issue arrest warrants, restrict travel and freeze accounts. As the King put it in a televised address, ‘Laws will be applied firmly on everyone who touched public money and didn’t protect it or embezzled it, or abuse their power and influence’.
In another example of the autocratic liberalization we have come to see over the past year from the King and Crown Prince, the crackdown strategically targeted power players in business and government. This included 11 princes, dozens of businessmen and senior officials, and former and sitting ministers. Notable among them are:

This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/09/2017.

Another Mueller Leak Suggests Charges Loom For Michael Flynn & Son

It appears Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a serial leaker. Following last weekend’s well-timed leak of Manafort’s looming arrest – which dominated the weekend media’s speculation – NBC News reports sources familiar confirming federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and his son.
As a reminder, Flynn was fired in February following public revelations that he had lied to Vice President Pence about his dealings with the Russian ambassador to the U. S., Sergey Kislyak.
Michael Flynn, who was fired after just 24 days on the job, was one of the first Trump associates to come under scrutiny in the federal probe into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
A week after the Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos ‘smoking guns’ hit the headlines, “multiple sources familiar with the investigation” that Mueller is set to apply pre pressure to Mike Flynn (and his son). As NBC News reports, the investigators are speaking to multiple witnesses in coming days to gain more information surrounding Flynn’s lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 5, 2017.

In Shocking Purge, Saudi King Arrests Billionaire Prince Bin Talal, Dozens Of Others In Cabinet Crackdown

In a shocking development, Saudi press Al Mayadeen reported late on Saturday that prominent billionaire, member of the royal Saudi family, and one of the biggest shareholders of Citi, News Corp. and Twitter – not to mention frequent CNBC guest – Al-Waleed bin Talal, along with ten senior princes, and some 38 ministers, has been arrested for corruption and money laundering charges on orders from the new anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, while Royal princes’ private planes have been grounded.
Among those fired and/or arrested are the head of National Royal Guards, Miteb Bin Abdullah, the Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Fakeih, and Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, the Commander of the Saudi Naval Forces.
#BREAKING Several Princes & Saudi businessmen are arrested for #MoneyLaundering and #corruption charges in #KSA pic.twitter.com/qZ4WSkKXyT
— (@HSajwanization) November 4, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 4, 2017.

Team Bernie Chimes In: “DNC Corruption Is Bigger Than One Primary”

Former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile confirmed what many widely suspected in an essay published in Politico today where she called out former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for unfairly rigging the 2016 primary against Bernie Sanders.
In her expose, Brazile described how the Clinton campaign siphoned money from state party chapters, and asserted her control over the DNC by making it financially reliant on her fundraising abilities, even describing the campaign’s actions as ‘essentially money laundering.’
The agreement – signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias – specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
Brazile’s revelations have revived conversations about whether the party has an obligation to ensure a fair primary (one judge who dismissed a lawsuit against the DNC suggested the organization is actually under no obligation to do so, even confirming that it showed a ‘palpable bias’ toward Clinton).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 2, 2017.

Night Terrors For Those At The Top

What keeps people up at night?
For ordinary folks it tends to be ordinary things. You think you might have cancer. You fear your kid is going to screw up big-time and wind up pregnant and alone, in prison or dead. You fear an approaching hurricane; you have no money to evacuate nor can you rebuild if your home gets destroyed, as you couldn’t afford insurance.
For people with lots of money and power all those ordinary things really don’t bother them very much. The kid-based fears are still real, but you can buy their way out of most — but not all — of those. The others? Meh. Look at Steve Jobs, who got cancer and yet he both extended his life and finagled a transplant that nobody else could have managed, simply because he was rich. Yes, the cancer got him anyway but it would have gotten anyone else a hell of a lot faster. Hurricane? Into the G-IV we go and call the insurance company. There are a number of wrecked multi-million dollar yachts in SE Florida right now that could have been moved before the hurricanes came, but weren’t — they were left inadequately secured and were, as expected, destroyed. The (almost-certainly rich) owners basically sold their boats to the insurance company; it happens in every big storm and is why premiums spike like mad as soon as we are hit by one. In the worst case (e.g. Richard Branson) you hide in your wine cellar and then rebuild when it’s over — you have both insurance and money, never mind other places to live while your palace is restored to its former glory.
No, what these people fear is the sort of thing that just happened with Harvey Weinstein. Not so much that Harvey blew up, of course, but rather instead of being contained to him, it is spreading like the fire from a match tossed on a pile of dry straw in a barn. There are myriad people who have pulled the same crap for decades and suddenly the “social contract” (read: payoffs) that locked up the voices of all of those who were abused has been shattered. It’s a social mood shift and it brings the hammer down — hard.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-10-24.

Obama Administration Bribed by Russians?

Another example of how corrupt it is in Washington, prior to the Obama Administration, including Hillary, approved the Russian purchase of American uranium resources, it turns out that the FBI has gathered evidence confirming that there was bribery taking place for Russia to get the deal. Of course, Loretta Lynch never investigates Democrats when her own Administration is the corrupt one behind the curtain.
Obama administration approved the deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a much of the American uranium sources. It turns out that the FBI had gathered significant evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering to get the deal in the USA. They had a confidential witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails from 2009 onward.that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Oct 19, 2017.

FBI Informant “Threatened” After Offering Details Linking Clinton Foundation To Russian Bribery Case

While the mainstream media has largely ignored it, the scandal surrounding Russian efforts to acquire 20% of America’s uranium reserves, a deal which was ultimately approved by the Obama administration, and more specifically the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which included Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, is becoming more problematic for Democrats by the hour.
As The Hill pointed out earlier this morning, the latest development in this sordid tale revolves around a man that the FBI used as an informant back in 2009 and beyond to build a case against a Russian perpetrator who ultimately admitted to bribery, extortion and money laundering. The informant, who is so far only known as “Confidential Source 1,” says that when he attempted to come forward last year with information that linked the Clinton Foundation directly to the scandal he was promptly silenced by the FBI and the Obama administration.
Working as a confidential witness, the businessman made kickback payments to the Russians with the approval of his FBI handlers and gathered other evidence, the records show.
Sources told The Hill the informant’s work was crucial to the government’s ability to crack a multimillion dollar racketeering scheme by Russian nuclear officials on U. S. soil that involved bribery, kickbacks, money laundering and extortion. In the end, the main Russian executive sent to the U. S. to expand Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear business, an executive of an American trucking firm and a Russian financier from New Jersey pled guilty to various crimes in a case that started in 2009 and ended in late 2015.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.

Senate Launches Probe Into Russian Nuclear Bribery Case That Netted Clintons Millions

As the media continues to lose their collective minds over $100,000 worth of Facebook ads allegedly purchased by Russians during the 2016 election, the Senate Judiciary Committee has finally decided they’re going to take a look into a shady Russian deal that handed Putin 20% of America’s uranium reserves, was approved by the Obama administration during an ongoing FBI investigation into charges of bribery, extortion and money laundering by the Russian buyer and netted the Clintons millions of dollars in donations and ‘speaking fees.” Here’s more from The Hill:
The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched a full-scale probe into a Russian nuclear bribery case, demanding several federal agencies disclose whether they knew the FBI had uncovered the corruption before the Obama administration in 2010 approved a controversial uranium deal with Moscow.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, gets his first chance to raise the issue in public on Wednesday when he questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions during an oversight hearing.
Though the hearing was scheduled for other purposes, aides said they expected Grassley to ask Sessions questions about a story published in The Hill on Tuesday that disclosed the FBI had uncovered evidence showing Russian nuclear officials were engaged in a racketeering scheme involving bribes, kickbacks and money laundering designed to expand Russian President Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business on U. S. soil.
“It has recently come to the Committee’s attention that employees of Rosatom were involved in a criminal enterprise involving a conspiracy to commit extortion and money laundering during the time of the CFIUS transaction,” Grassley wrote in one such letter addressed to Sessions.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.

Those Dirty Clintons: Bribery Plot Uncovered By FBI Before Obama Administration Approved Moscow Nuclear Deal

Barack Obama’s bribery plot with the Russian government has been uncovered by the FBI. Right before this bribery occurred, Obama approved a very controversial nuclear deal with Moscow that will turn the ‘Russian meddling’ narrative on its head.
According to government documents and interviews, before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.
Federal agents used a confidential U. S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account – backed by documents – indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U. S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 17th, 2017.

Where Are The Handcuffs? (Russia)

Oh, you want some Russian interference eh?
How about bribery and extortion?
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-10-17.