Archive for 2009

Screen shot 2009-09-23 at 12.29.25 PM.pngThe Times has an exposé today on Mayor Bloomberg’s eating disorder, the fallout from which the city of New York is suffering. Basically Hizzoner binge and purges constantly and on really bad days looks in the mirror and thinks “you don’t deserve a third term because you’re a fat fat fattie fat.” The crescendo of the piece is the accompanying slideshow, entitled “The Mayor In Snack Mode,” in which the Gray Lady presents us with close ups of Mikey Boy literally shoving food in his mouth (chicken wings? pizza? don’t mind if I do!), after noting that just the sight of an unflattering picture can trigger foul moods and episodes of gluttonous ecstasy, followed by starvation, practically ensuring the guy’s going to knock over a 7-11 tonight after work. It’s pretty uncool of the paper, of course, and not very sensitive, but obviously our minds immediately turned to how we could exploit the Bloomie’s skills for sport. Has Oyster Boy met his match? Pretty confident Mike would’ve actually had the Munchkins swallowed and digested by the buzzer. No special ruling necessary.

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  • 23 Sep 2009 at 11:32 AM

FSA Calls For New Era Of Banking

adair turner.jpgIf you want to work for an organization that is squarely focused on making profits, don’t work for a UK bank. That was the most recent message from FSA Chairman Adair Turner. The age of profit as the primary motive of financial institutions should be replaced by “social usefulness”. In fact, there may be some products out there so socially useless that they should be abandoned altogether, regardless of their ability to help repair roughed up British banks.

“Top management of banks — and in particular of any banks which are involved both in complex trading activities and in retail banking activities — need to operate within limits,” Turner told 300 financial-services executives and lawmakers late yesterday in London. “There are some profitable activities so unlikely to have a social benefit, direct or indirect, that they should voluntarily walk away from them.”

Welcome to the age of walking away from your problems solutions.
Banks Should Prioritize ‘Social Benefit,’ Turner Says [Bloomberg]

lindyboville.jpgOf course they probably didn’t know he was a criminal at the time, but that’s besides the point. According to the complaint filed by everyone’s favorite moose fister, it was her colleagues at RBC who encouraged her to get involved with Westgate Capital founder (and noted con) James Nicholson, making the firm’s claim that her relationship with him was inappropriate (and a fireable offense) kind of bull shit (Boves also says that the allegation she helped her Ponzier bf raise money for his fund is a lie). With regard to the sexual harassment Lindy claims she was subjected to during her time in the New York office, she’s provided a few more examples of the pick-up lines used on her at work:

13. Robert McGuire incessantly commented on her appearance…On one occassion, Mr. McGuire told her to “keep [her] guns at bay,” referring to her breasts.

25. Brit Railston also harassed Ms. Boville by repeatedly referencing the ways in which he would hit on her when he was drunk. He said in a message, “I’m going to be in town next week. Make sure you hide. Don’t pick up the phone when I call after three drinks.”

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  • 23 Sep 2009 at 10:30 AM

Kazakh Bankers Get Back To Basics

Fraud.jpgBernie and Sir Allen may need elaborate schemes to swindle people out of billions, but in the emerging markets, fraud tends to be a bit more direct. Take for example Kazakhstan. While some may look to bad loans as the primary culprit for the outbreak of restructurings, one bank was being victimized by the time honored tradition of theft.

Abylkasym Mamyrbekov, ex-deputy chief executive of Alliance Bank, is accused of using deceptive accounting practices to shift 1.1 billion dollars (744 million euros) into privately held offshore bank accounts.

How exactly could the #2 in charge of the fourth largest lender in Kazakhstan get away with a ten-figure heist? Surely the guy in charge must have been keeping a watchful eye over his empire to guide it through the crisis.

The company’s former chief executive, Zhomart Ertayev, was also arrested over the scheme in August.

Then again, you never leave your wing man.

  • 23 Sep 2009 at 9:55 AM

Only The Salt Of The Earth Work For Goldman Sachs

He’s just trying to be honest, okay?

Blankfein: I think we all know that greed can drive behavior, but it tends to be short term and ultimately destructive. Our leadership team stands out because most of our people have built their whole career at the firm and stayed through many years and many changes in the market. When our people leave they tend to go on to other positions — whether in government or other forms of public service — that no one would do if their were motives were financial. Those characteristics don’t make me think of “greed.”
SPIEGEL: So only modest, good people work for Goldman Sachs? We hardly believe that.
Blankfein: I have stated my honest view of things.

Interview with Goldman Sachs CEO: ‘We Didn’t Realize How Bad Things Would Get’ [Spiegel]

  • 23 Sep 2009 at 8:00 AM

Opening Bell: 09.23.09

berniemadoffpartyhat.jpgLehman Alums Eye Fund Launch (NYP)
Get in on this while you still can: ” A little over a year after Lehman’s demise, former top trader Alex Kirk is said to be joining with the former second-in-command, Bart McDade, to launch a fund called River Birch Capital. While details are scarce, sources said Kirk, a 25-year Lehman veteran, has been working the phones for months, with an eye toward getting the investment fund off the ground. River Birch could aim to purchase distressed assets and other fixed-income debt, including high-yield securities — areas in which Kirk has expertise. One source said some of the billions in mortgages and other esoteric securities still owned by the defunct Lehman might be on the radar.”
UKFI Sacks Headhunter Over RBS Appointment (NYT)
Apparently the group that oversees the UK government’s stakes in bailed-out banks was not cool with employing Johnny Cameron, RBS’s former head of investment banking (and “a close ally of tainted RBS boss Fred Goodwin”), as an adviser.
Review Says No Net Loss For Some In Madoff Scheme (AP)
Half Big B’s clients lost nothing due to unwittingly well-timed withdrawals of more money than they originally invested.
US, Accused Bear Managers Fight Over Evidence (Reuters)
A lawyer for Rich Tannin believes the “allegation” that her client erased an incriminating Gmail account is “an eleventh-hour smear.”
Hedge Funds Keep Watch On Washington (BW)
One client who runs a $4 billion hedge fund in San Francisco that employs 25 researchers recently told consulting firm GLG that while he never expected Washington to become “the financial capital of the world, now that it is, I have to understand.”
Harvard, NYU Law Students Left Hanging as Firms Slash Offers (Bloomberg)
It could be worse– you could’ve gone to law school and now been sitting by the phone waiting for a call that will never come while a sad trombone blows in the background.

  • 22 Sep 2009 at 5:32 PM

Write-Offs: 09.22.09

$$$ Stumpf To Become Wells Chairman [WSJ]
$$$ John Thain might’ve lied about Stan O’Neal’s office gym [BI]
$$$ Josh Rosner on The Crisis [WSCS]
$$$ Goldman Bankers Seek Perfect Match [The Deal]
$$$ More from the ‘sensy‘ files: “Boville, 33, further claimed her male colleagues regularly subjected her to sexually charged come-ons and rude comments [such as], “Do the curtains match the carpet?” Male colleagues, the suit said, constantly referred to her “guns” for breasts and “wheels” for legs while propositioning her non-stop.” [NYP]

  • 22 Sep 2009 at 5:10 PM

Touradji Pays The Price For Not Paying

A day after the Amaranth clawback campaign kicked off, their target, Touradji Capital explained to their investors that the $350 million lawsuit against them is nothing but a misguided attempt to partially right a $6 billion wrong.

Amaranth’s action “is merely an offshoot of the frivolous litigation brought against the firm by two disgruntled former employees and one of their family members,” (Touradji CEO Gil) Caffray wrote.

So what if they’ve got a couple guys who think they’re still owed $25 million (each) in back pay. Gentry Beach and Rob Vollero must have bigger things on their mind than what allegedly went down with Amaranth and how much they might get one day in exchange for remembering some timely details, right?

In an April 15 deposition for the district court of Harris County, Texas, for the Playa case, Gentry Beach, citing his unidentified colleagues, said Paul Touradji signed a non-trade agreement with Amaranth so he could review their metals positions when Amaranth was shutting its fund during September and October 2006.
“From what I heard, Mr. Touradji then aggressively pressed these positions against them,” Beach said in the deposition.

Touradji Rejects Amaranth Claim, Says It Acted ‘Professionally’ [Bloomberg]