Opening Bell: 12.12.12

Three Questioned In Libor Probe (WSJ)
While the SFO didn’t identify the men, one of them is Thomas Hayes, a former trader at UBS and Citigroup, according to people familiar with the matter. Authorities in multiple countries have been looking into Mr. Hayes as an alleged coordinator of a group of employees at multiple banks who sought to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, according to people familiar with the case. One of the others arrested was Terry Farr, an employee of British brokerage firm R.P. Martin Holdings Ltd. in London who is currently on leave from the firm, according to a person familiar with the case. Mr. Farr has been under investigation for possibly helping bank employees coordinate their efforts to influence Libor, according to people familiar with the case.

HSBC Mexican Branches Said to Be Traffickers’ Favorites (Bloomberg)
From 2006 to 2010, the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico and the Norte del Valle Cartel in Columbia moved more than $881 million in proceeds through HSBC’s U.S. unit, said Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division. Breuer, along with U.S. Attorney Lorretta Lynch in Brooklyn, New York, announced yesterday the bank had agreed to pay at least $1.9 billion to settle money laundering probes. “These traffickers didn’t have to try very hard,” Breuer said at a press conference in Brooklyn. “They would sometimes deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in a single day into a single account using boxes designed to fit the precise dimension of the tellers’ windows in HSBC’s Mexico branches.”

It Could Get Hairy Before ‘Cliff’ Deal: Greenspan (CNBC)
“The best possible outcome is to take something like Simpson-Bowles as it came out originally and work off that,” he said, of a deal to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that go into effect at the end of the year. But he said that reaching a final agreement won’t be an easy process, since the president believes he has a mandate following the election while House Republicans believe they, too, have a mandate. “I’m not at altogether clear how much control (Speaker) Boehner has over the overall caucus,” Greenspan said. “At the end of the day it will all work out but it’s going to be a bit hairy before we get there.”

Buffett Joins Soros in Effort to Raise Taxes on Estates (Bloomberg)
Billionaire investors Warren Buffett and George Soros are calling on Congress to increase the estate tax as lawmakers near a decision on tax policies that expire Dec. 31. In a joint statement Tuesday, Buffett, Soros and more than 20 other wealthy individuals asked Congress to lower the estate tax’s per-person exemption to $2 million from $5.12 million and raise the top rate to more than 45 percent from 35 percent. An estate tax structured this way will “raise significant revenue to reduce the deficit and fund vital services, will only be paid by the top one percent of estates, will raise more from the wealthiest estates” and will simplify compliance, said the statement. It also was signed by John Bogle, founder of mutual fund company Vanguard Group Inc., and former President Jimmy Carter.

U.S. Probe of SAC Trading Said to Be Linked to 2010 Case (Bloomberg)
A U.S. investigation of possible insider trading at SAC Capital Advisors LP, the $14 billion hedge fund run by Steven A. Cohen, is linked to a 2010 regulatory lawsuit over allegedly illegal trades in InterMune Inc, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe of trades that SAC Capital made in the Brisbane, California-based biopharmaceutical company is tied to a December 2010 SEC lawsuit against an investor, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter isn’t public. The investor bought InterMune options before a European Union regulatory panel urged approval of the company’s drug Esbriet to treat a fatal lung disease, the person said, declining to elaborate.

Man says law standing between him and sex acts with donkey is unconstitutional (NYDN)
Lawyers representing the frisky farmhand thrown in jail for allegedly masturbating with a donkey are now fighting to have Florida’s statute banning sex with animals declared unconstitutional. “By making sexual conduct with an animal a crime, the statute demeans individuals like Defendant by making his private sexual conduct a crime,” attorneys for 32-year-old Carlos R. Romero wrote in a motion filed last week, the Ocala-Star Banner reported. Romero was cuffed at an Ocala farm back in September after farm proprietor Gerald James told police he saw Romero with his pants down as he was seemingly having sex with a donkey named Doodle in an equipment room on Aug. 15, according to police report obtained by Romero later pleaded not guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of sexual activities involving animals. He announced last week that he wanted his case to go to trial. His attorneys argue that Florida’s statute violates the farmhand’s rights by stripping him of his “personal liberty and autonomy when it comes to private intimate activities.”They say the statute is unconstitutional because it doesn’t require the state to provide any proof of the animal’s suffering “or any proof of the sexual activity being non-consensual.”

Inside The Risky Bets Of Central Banks (WSJ)
While many national governments, including the U.S., have failed to agree on fiscal policy—how best to balance tax revenues with spending during slow growth—the central bankers have forged their own path, independent of voters and politicians, bound by frequent conversations and relationships stretching back to university days. If the central bankers are correct, they will help the world economy avoid prolonged stagnation and a repeat of central banking mistakes in the 1930s. If they are wrong, they could kindle inflation or sow the seeds of another financial crisis. Failure also could lead to new restrictions on the power and independence of central banks, tools deemed crucial in such emergencies as the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Freeport’s $20 Billion Deal Stirs Backlash (WSJ)
Freeport agreed last week to acquire energy explorers McMoRan Exploration Co. MMR +0.85% and Plains Exploration & Production Co. PXP -0.42% in transactions that will cost the Arizona mining giant about $20 billion including assumed debt. The deal will result in six directors with overlapping roles at Freeport and McMoRan Exploration receiving payouts for their shares totaling more than $130 million, according to securities filings. Some Freeport investors and analysts also have questioned the wisdom of a metals miner diving into the oil and gas business. They have taken issue with what they call conflicts of interests among the shared executives and directors at Freeport and McMoRan and the fact that the deal as structured doesn’t require a Freeport shareholder vote.

Fed Discourages Bank Dealmaking (WSJ)
The Federal Reserve is pushing large U.S. banks to forget about all but the smallest acquisitions for a while amid a raging debate over the risk big lenders pose to the financial system.

Man Drive 100 MPH To Wedding, Gets Arrested (Again) (NWI)
Timothy N. Thompson, 23, of Valparaiso, was supposed to be married in a 7 p.m. ceremony. Instead, Thompson was arrested for resisting law enforcement, criminal recklessness and reckless driving. He was also cited for speeding and improper passing. According to police, an officer spotted Thompson about 6:30 p.m. Saturday speeding north in the center lane of Willowcreek Road. The officer estimated Thompson was driving 100 mph. Thompson allegedly continued to drive erratically, switching lanes abruptly and, according to the report, nearly wrecking. Police reported they followed Thompson as he turned into the parking lot of Nativity of Our Savior Church on Willowcreek Road, where he again nearly tipped over the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Once he entered the church’s parking lot, three people — later identified as relatives — began flailing their arms and yelling at him. Thompson drove through the parking lot, accelerating and doing a “doughnut,” creating a thick blanket of tire smoke, according to the report. When he stopped, Thompson told police he was late for his wedding and estimated he was doing “about 90″ mph. He also told police he had his emergency flashers on and was sounding his horn to alert drivers. When an officer walked away from Thompson’s vehicle, Thompson reentered his vehicle and drove toward the entrance of the church, where he was stopped by police again. “Oh, I thought you were done and I’m late for a party in Chicago,” police reported Thompson saying. “It now means I have to drive really fast to get there.” Thompson, who also told police he had just been released from jail that day, didn’t make his wedding. He was transported to Porter County Jail and held without bond.

66 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (66)

  1. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    Congress should immediately accede to Buffett's request, and include a rule that estates over $1bn get taxed at 100% with no charitable deduction. That might raise even more money.

  2. Posted by [Redacted] | December 12, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    Setlist for tonight –

    Miami 2017

    What others?

  3. Posted by nachocheese | December 12, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Greenspan: "I tawt I taw a putty tat"

  4. Posted by Doodle | December 12, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    [redacted] EEE-AAWWW! [redacted]

  5. Posted by CBO | December 12, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Very easy to do that, although there are only approximately 500-700 heritable estates in the US with that figure. So along way to go from there alas.

  6. Posted by Texas A&M | December 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    The "Doodle" story is relative to our interests.

  7. Posted by Old Macdonald | December 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM


  8. Posted by VonSloneker | December 12, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    These fiscal cliff negotiations could turn in to a hairy irrational protuberance

    – 12 year old Alan Greenspan

  9. Posted by Little Fritz | December 12, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    And the punchline is:

    "Romero, you tit! You're supposed to ride the Donkey into town and get a hooker!"

  10. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Bess – please immediately fire your IT guy, this websites functionality has gone to sht

  11. Posted by M. Webster | December 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    The wording is confusing – how does one masturbate "with" a donkey?

  12. Posted by guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    I leave for two days and you get someone new; are you going to change the locks and tell me how I can't see the kids anymore too?
    Who is John Shazar?

  13. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Jimmy the Cricket sure has let himself go.

  14. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Is the point of wearing a checkered shirt to look as terrible as possible?

  15. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Look, your honor. It's my donkey, much the way this heated kumquat, is my kumquat. If it is legal for me to have sex with MY kumquat, it should be legal to have sex with MY donkey. It's not like I'm trying to have sexual relations with anyone else's donkey.

  16. Posted by Guestah | December 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Gay marriage >= sex with donkey

  17. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    This is bull$hit! Winch one of you eccentric drama queens hired/photographed the corpse?
    -Warby Parker

  18. Posted by Puck It | December 12, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    If the dude were smart, he'd be driving 100 mph *away* from his wedding. And also away from Indiana.

  19. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Should be allowed to marry his donkey too…

  20. Posted by guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    You new here? The DB IT guy need to be fired 6 years ago

  21. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Have you tried rebooting?

    -Your job replacement in Bangawhore

  22. Posted by Betterlatethannever | December 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    "Man drives 100mph from wedding…"

    There, fixed it for you.

    – "Happily" married for a year

  23. Posted by 1998 | December 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Their kid will look like Rosie O'Donnell!

    – 1998 joke

  24. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    IT guy = Shazam.

    He was busy posting, therefore no IT.

  25. Posted by Cheap Lawyer | December 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Good point.

  26. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Look at the set of withers on that one!


  27. Posted by Michael Dell | December 12, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I dont even own a Dell!

    – Michael Dell

  28. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Did you read that NYTimes piece last week about how short-lived love is? Apparently marriages are only happy for the first 2 years, at best. Is that true?

  29. Posted by Abe_Froman_ | December 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    non-consensual? Did you see what that donkey was wearing?

  30. Posted by Remember him? | December 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Jimmy Carter? Law requires an exception for Arab sheiks.

  31. Posted by Barry | December 12, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    This isn't about solving problems, it's about fairness!

  32. Posted by Reading Quant | December 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Um, not sure if he knows yet…

  33. Posted by VonSloneker | December 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Come on over and I'll show you…

    – Eeyore

  34. Posted by 3rd year | December 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    He's got a point it has been getting worse. I would say something witty and funny but I'm too beaten down and broken. I'm just a guy who really needs doesn't want this site to become another source of disappointment.

  35. Posted by Wire | December 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Prettty sure he was fired six years ago, which is why they had to get the hamster.

  36. Posted by Farmer | December 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Hey !

  37. Posted by Guesticule | December 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    In the oil business, that joke's punchline came from an Aramco drilling superintendent as told to his Aggie geophysicist newhire. A camel is involved.

    -Not the Joke Briefer

  38. Posted by Goooest | December 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Greenspan: "Little boy to the right, just bent over, totally has batman undies on. Fucking hot"

  39. Posted by Laxman | December 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Hey !

  40. Posted by Donkey Milker | December 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Pretty brayve comment there.

  41. Posted by talisman | December 12, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I'd like to pin that tail.

  42. Posted by SCROTUS | December 12, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Sounds legit.

  43. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 10:35 AM


  44. Posted by Bendair Dundat | December 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Marriage is a 7 course meal with dessert served first.

  45. Posted by Raj | December 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Dessert for 2 years? Can I get married in here???

  46. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Holy Christ, what the hell is in that cheese?

    -Tourist vomiting outside of Serbian restaurant

  47. Posted by OhOhOhIts DB | December 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I am not inviting any of you to my birthday party.

  48. Posted by Novak | December 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Ignore the haters Carlos, I get it.

  49. Posted by dead dream | December 12, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Tell us about it.


    Parents, GF, Desk manager, Banker, Doorman, ad infinitum

  50. Posted by Niceman | December 12, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Actually it is a mouse that Matt glued fur on it to give it the apperance of a hamster. Matt would tell Bess, but he just know how to tell her.

  51. Posted by qwestion | December 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Slippery slopes are a bitch.

  52. Posted by Hobbes | December 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Carlos, you can have sex with donkeys, just not with my donkeys.

    -Gerald James

  53. Posted by Quant me maybe | December 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Mr Greenspan would look snazzy in a pair of Warby Parkers.

  54. Posted by Betterlatethannever | December 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Yes, it is true. Two years of bliss would have been better than the two months I received. You are living with the same person non-stop and sharing everything. It sucks.

  55. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Voices in my head, I need CHOICES in my bed.

    – Kanye

  56. Posted by PermaGuestII | December 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    And coincidentally, Berkshire Hathaway is an insurance company. Funny thing about that.

  57. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Someone clearly isn't an alumnus of George Bush and George W. Bush’s boarding school alma mater (Philips Academy Andover).

  58. Posted by HATE | December 12, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Sharing with chicks…

  59. Posted by Guest | December 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    But, your honor, it's legitimate if the donkey doesn't get pregnant.

  60. Posted by Im_a_Dude | December 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Is that a reincarnation of the bonobos guy in the top right with the goofy hat?

  61. Posted by Longun | December 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Carlos just wanted a piece of ass..

  62. Posted by Taking Note | December 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Carlos, is it called doggie style or donkey style? Just curious…

  63. Posted by VonSloneker | December 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Yeah, that donkey was ASSking for it

  64. Posted by 3rdTierIvy | December 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I thought the "Columbia" cartel was already busted

  65. Posted by Nathan | December 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    I only regret that I have but one thumbs down to give for you.

  66. Posted by young'un | December 12, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    What's 1998?

  67. Posted by Writing teacher | December 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    regret only