Opening Bell: 02.06.13

RBS Fined $612M by Regulators for Manipulating Libor Rate (Bloomberg)
The lender will pay $325 million to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $150 million to the Department of Justice and 87.5 million pounds ($137 million) to the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, the CFTC said in a statement today. RBS said it will recoup about 300 million pounds to pay the fines by cutting bonuses and clawing back previous awards. The bank’s Japanese unit agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud as part of a deal with the Justice Department, the CFTC said. “The public is deprived of an honest benchmark interest rate when a group of traders sits around a desk for years falsely spinning their bank’s Libor submissions, trying to manufacture winning trades,” said David Meister, the CFTC’s director of enforcement. “That’s what happened at RBS.”

Nasdaq Faces Facebook Fine (WSJ)
Nasdaq is in preliminary talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a potential settlement related to its botched handling of Facebook’s much-anticipated offering, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. While a settlement agreement isn’t assured, the two sides are discussing a monetary penalty of about $5 million, people involved with the discussions said. In addition, Nasdaq has offered to compensate customers $62 million for losses stemming from Facebook IPO trades.

U.S., S&P Settle In for Bitter Combat (WSJ)
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, represents the Justice Department’s most aggressive move yet to try to hold accountable companies that were at the center of the financial meltdown. While banks and others have settled with the government and a settlement is possible in the S&P case, both sides indicated Tuesday that they were preparing for a long and costly legal fight. William Black, a former regulator at the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, said U.S. officials seem “willing to push this case harder than with any financial-crisis case against a major bank.” The government’s case relies heavily on emails and other communications that allegedly show S&P officials knew the housing market was collapsing but dragged their feet on downgrading hundreds of securities because executives worried the firm would lose business and anger clients. In March 2007, an analyst sent colleagues song lyrics about the deteriorating market, set to the tune of the Talking Heads 1980s song “Burning Down the House,” according to the government’s complaint. Minutes later, the analyst sent a follow-up email: “For obvious, professional reasons please do not forward this song. If you are interested, I can sing it in your cube ;-).”

Default in 10 Months After AAA Spurred Justice on Credit Ratings (Bloomberg)
In May 2007, Standard & Poor’s confirmed its initial AAA ratings on $772 million of a collateralized debt obligation known as Octonion I. Within 10 months, the Citigroup Inc. deal defaulted, costing investors and the bank almost all their money. The CDO, which repackaged mortgage-backed securities and other similar bundles of debt, was among dozens of transactions valued at tens of billions of dollars in 2007 that the ratings firm never should have blessed, the Justice Department said Feb. 4 in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles. Octonion I underscores how inflated grades during the credit boom contributed to more than $2.1 trillion in losses at the world’s financial institutions after home-loan defaults soared and residential prices plummeted. “During this period, nearly every single mortgage-backed CDO that was rated by S&P not only underperformed but failed,” Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday at a news conference. “Put simply, this alleged conduct is egregious, and it goes to the very heart of the recent financial crisis.”

Monopoly Fans Vote To Add Cat, Toss Iron (NYP)
Scottie dog has a new nemesis in Monopoly after fans voted in an online contest to add a cat token to the property trading game, replacing the iron, toy maker Hasbro Inc. announced Wednesday. The results were announced after the shoe, wheelbarrow and iron were neck and neck for elimination in the final hours of voting that sparked passionate efforts by fans to save their favorite tokens, and by businesses eager to capitalize on publicity surrounding pieces that represent their products. The vote on Facebook closed just before midnight on Tuesday, marking the first time that fans have had a say on which of the eight tokens to add and which one to toss. The pieces identify the players and have changed quite a lot since Parker Brothers bought the game from its original designer in 1935.

Fed Says Internal Site Breached by Hackers, No Critical Functions Affected (Reuters)
The admission, which raises questions about cyber security at the Fed, follows a claim that hackers linked to the activist group Anonymous had struck the Fed on Sunday, accessing personal information of more than 4,000 U.S. bank executives, which it published on the Web. “The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product,” a Fed spokeswoman said. “Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system,” the spokeswoman said, adding that all individuals effected by the breach had been contacted.

HSBC’s Global Spread Left It Open To Crime, Says CEO (Reuters)
“Our structure was not fit for purpose for a modern world,” Stuart Gulliver told lawmakers on a British banking inquiry on Wednesday. “Our geographic footprint became very attractive to trans-national criminal organizations, whether they are terrorist in origin or criminal in origin.” HSBC, whose former slogan “The world’s local bank” reflects its presence in more than 80 countries, was in December given a $1.9 billion fine, the largest ever imposed on a bank, following a U.S. investigation into its Mexican and U.S. operations.

Citi Field’s Neighborhood Won’t Have A Casino (WSJ)
The Queens Development Group, the joint venture by Sterling Equities and Related Companies to redevelop the land around the ballpark, said Tuesday that its plans don’t include a casino. Mets majority owner Fred Wilpon is the co-founder and chairman of Sterling Equities. An article in Tuesday’s New York Post said the Sterling/Related group submitted a proposal about two years ago to build a casino adjacent to Citi Field, but it was rejected by the city. The Queens Development Group released a statement Tuesday afternoon that said, “Our plans for Willets Point do not include an Indian or commercial casino, which is illegal. Even if it were legal, it would not be allowed under the environmental process we are undertaking and our agreement with the city prohibits this use.”

Florida Keys ‘Sea Hag’ Gets 30 Years in Prison for Shooting Man Who Refused to Give Her Beer (NBC)
The Florida Keys woman known as “the sea hag” who shot and killed her neighbor after he refused to give her a beer has been sentenced to 30 years behind bars. Dukeshire, who was facing a first-degree murder charge and made a deal with prosecutors, submitted a statement to the judge saying she was remorseful and would pay the rest of her life for losing her composure. Police say Dukeshire had approached Mazur outside his Conch Key home and asked him for a can of Busch Light. “Do you have a cold beer for me?” she asked, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report.

43 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
Show all comments ↓

Comments (43)

  1. Posted by .Bo | February 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Florida back with a bang!

  2. Posted by Guest | February 6, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    It's about time S&P got theirs.

  3. Posted by Guest | February 6, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Where does all that RBS money go? Government bonuses?

  4. Posted by Guest | February 6, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    As long as I can still play as the shoe I am happy…

    -J. Mack

  5. Posted by Chuck Roast | February 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Yeah, well the Sea Cucumber shall inherit the earth.

  6. Posted by Nobody | February 6, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I'll want the thimble!!

  7. Posted by Deleveraging | February 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Sea Hag is getting 30 years. I guess that's one more slam not coming to NY to hook up with LaxBro.

  8. Posted by Laxbro | February 6, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Says the clown who gave his own comment a +1. I bet you're drowning in pussy.

  9. Posted by Another Laxbro | February 6, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Keep whacking it partner, you'll be ok.

  10. Posted by Dukebro | February 6, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Laxbro,

    Forget him and go get ready for Kappa Sigma's Racist Rager.

    Signed,

    The Bros who roam Duke

  11. Posted by Guest | February 6, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    We have a position for you.

    -HBO Girls casting director

  12. Posted by Queen B of DB | February 6, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    I hired Shazar on accident and can't get rid of him.

  13. Posted by Mike Larson | February 6, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    <img src="http://Now.apparelbookstore.info/rest.jpg"/&gt; the big news today is actually the USPS delivery news.

  14. Posted by Guest | February 6, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I'd be pretty upset too if I asked for free beer and they offered me Busch Light

  15. Posted by Texashedge | February 6, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Pretty sure you meant KA

  16. Posted by Bored Guest | February 6, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    What's wrong with +1'ing your own comment? …Not that I do that kind of thing.

  17. Posted by RBS Guy | February 6, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Wait…..I already spent that money…..

    RBS Guy

  18. Posted by Al Gore | February 6, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    I didn't invent the internet to have to read all the lame comments so far today.

  19. Posted by Tipper | February 6, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    shut up you fat fuck

    Tipper

  20. Posted by PermaGuestII | February 6, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    This isn't exactly working out the way I had envisioned.

    -Henry Morrison Flagler

  21. Posted by Webster | February 6, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Pretty sure it was Tri-Kap.

  22. Posted by fitch | February 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Exactly

  23. Posted by uncle omar | February 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Border immigration and customs enforcement…

    Heh heh just fucking with you

  24. Posted by lpt | February 6, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I like to use my phone to go up two…

    I also think premium users shud get charts of score, or at least time sales

  25. Posted by aryans | February 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Whitish…

  26. Posted by Guest | February 6, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    So sell it to al jazeera then

  27. Posted by gozer | February 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    yep, sea hag pretty much sums her up

  28. Posted by Joe Sixpack | February 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Sell it to Al Jizzem………..

  29. Posted by Rex Ryan | February 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Amen

  30. Posted by per laxman | February 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    The fat chick on girls ?.

  31. Posted by Guestibule | February 6, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Best Flagler reference of the day by far

  32. Posted by Liz Taylor' | February 6, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Call me

  33. Posted by Target Offended | February 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I'm always playing the victim :(

  34. Posted by Yawn quant | February 6, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Slow day when Laxbro is responding to shots…That being said, these headlines are making it difficult to turn water into comedy wine.

  35. Posted by b school slam | February 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Actually he's a total lightweight.

  36. Posted by Guest | February 6, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    So the big news is that they learned by cutting out 1 day a week of delivery will save them $2B a year, or the fact that they need to cut out an additional 7 days a week to be back in black?

  37. Posted by Black Bart | February 6, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    lucky them than me…

  38. Posted by Collin Finnerty | February 6, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    don't forget your broomsticks.

  39. Posted by VonSloneker | February 6, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Replacing the iron, emblem of female opression, with the "confirmed bachelorette's" best friend (kitty cat) is a step in the right direction. However, we hope Hasbro will set aside the online poll results and give serious consideration to our write in campaign for tokens of true symbols of modern female liberation…vibrator or birth control pill dispenser.

    - Extreme Feminist Stereotype who doesn't know when to quit

  40. Posted by Omega Mos | February 6, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I prefer the Tri-Lams

  41. Posted by brobible | February 6, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Are there suddenly 8 days in a week now?

  42. Posted by Hasbro | February 6, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Mr. VonSloneker,

    We apologize for any hurt the new piece may have caused we. Please accept this limited edition piece depicting a government funded birth control pill dispenser eating a Republican senator alive.

    Thank You,

    Hasbro

  43. Posted by Ringo Starr | February 6, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Hey!