Germany Says Greece Missing Debt Targets in Fresh Aid Rebuff (Bloomberg)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in Berlin that Greece’s plans would leave its debt as high as 136 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, according to two people who took part in the meeting and who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was private. That compares with the 120 percent foreseen in a 130 billion- euro ($172 billion) bailout being negotiated. Signs that Greece is falling short underscored euro-area officials’ frustration with the country’s bickering leaders and the prospect that they may again backtrack on fiscal pledges not first passed into law. Greek lawmakers begin voting on austerity measures this weekend after European finance ministers last night held back the rescue package demanding further commitments from Athens. “The Greek offer is not sufficient and they have to go away to come up with a revised plan,” Bertrand Benoit, a spokesman for the German Finance Ministry in Berlin, said by telephone today.
Insider Probe Aims At Member Of House (WSJ)
The Alabama congressman who serves as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee is under investigation into whether he improperly traded stocks or funds in financial markets based on inside information, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Office of Congressional Ethics began the review late last year into trading conducted by Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus. If the House’s independent ethics body finds reason to believe he acted improperly, it would refer the matter the House’s traditional Ethics Committee, which would then have 45 days to announce a course of action. The head of the congressional ethics body said: “We can’t confirm or deny whether we are conducting an investigation.”
House Insider Bill Passes With New Backers (WSJ)
After a six-year effort, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would formally ban insider trading by Congress, along the way picking up support from some surprising backers—lawmakers who actively trade stocks. A total of 286 House members from both political parties co-sponsored a bill known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or Stock Act. The legislation, which was first proposed in 2006 but drew no more than 15 sponsors in earlier years, passed 417-2 Thursday and will be reconciled with a Senate version approved last week.
SEC Reaches Settlement In Bear Stearns Fraud Case (NYT)
The Securities and Exchange Commission has reached a settlement with two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers that will avert a second trial over accusations that they had misled investors as the mortgage market was crumbling. The deal, which is subject to court approval, could be announced on Monday, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. A trial was set to begin on Monday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. The former Bear executives, Ralph R. Cioffi and Matthew M. Tannin, were accused of lying to investors about the health of their hedge funds, which were laden with complex securities backed by subprime mortgages.
Mortgage Deal Lifts Hopes For Housing (WSJ)
While the deal won’t be a cure-all for the housing market or to the majority of borrowers at risk of foreclosure, the settlement also includes a provision that will let some homeowners who are current on payments refinance mortgages even though they owe more than their homes are worth. In addition, the deal will provide cash payments to other borrowers who went through foreclosure during the past four years. These people will be eligible to receive around $1,500 to $2,000. Banks will have three years to meet their obligations.
‘Cold Cat Killer’ strikes again as he kills 34th feline victim by lacing chicken pieces with anti-freeze (Daily Mail)
A psychopath dubbed the ‘Cold Cat Killer’ is believed to have struck for the 34th time – after lacing chicken with anti-freeze. Dozens of moggies have died agonising deaths after ingesting the harmful liquid, which has previously been soaked into biscuits and cat nibbles. Terrified residents in Bridgwater, Somerset, say they are ‘too frightened’ to let their pets out of the house following the spate of killings.
Greek Aid Deal ‘Much Better’ Than Euro Exit, Says Summers (CNBC)
FYI: “It would be much better if negotiated agreements can be found that provide for substantial consensual debt relief for Greece and provide for substantial structural reform for Greece,” Summers said. “That would be the preferred avenue if it could succeed.”
Chicago Man To Rescue Yale Business School (Bloomberg)
Yale SOM opened in 1976 with a focus on grooming leaders in government and philanthropy. Now the school is preparing to take on Harvard Business School and the Wharton School with a new $222 million building and new dean — Edward “Ted” Snyder, who previously led the University of Chicago’s top-ranked business school. As Yale’s business school sheds its outsider status, alumni and former faculty worry that it risks losing its unique qualities just when the business world needs them most…Snyder, 58, who took the helm in July, was hired by Yale University President Richard Levin to help raise the business school to the levels of Yale’s top-ranked schools of law and medicine. Snyder, who led Chicago’s Booth School of Business for a decade and the University of Virginia’s business school before that, said Yale can improve without giving up the public- mindedness that sets it apart.
Criminal Probe Trail Going Cold at MF Global (Reuters)
More than three months later, it is far from clear that anyone will face criminal charges over the disappearance of more than $600 million in customer money as MF Global spiraled towards bankruptcy in the brokerage’s final, frantic days in the last week of October.
Citigroup Takes $50 Million Loss in Libor Probe (FT)
Citigroup was forced to write off $50 million after two traders accused of attempting to influence global lending rates left the bank, according to people familiar with a worldwide investigation that is gathering pace.
Missed Super Bowl, Frantic Talks Led to $25 Billion Bank Deal (Bloomberg)
Everyone give it up for the people who had to skip Sunday’s national holiday: “Bank executives, state officials and U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan worked frantically over Super Bowl weekend as the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17, according to three people involved in the discussions. The negotiations ran down to the wire the night before the agreement was announced, they said. Negotiators made phone calls late into the night and ironed out the final details by phone at about 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. yesterday, less than six hours before the Obama administration released the details to the public.”