JPMorgan Bribe Probe Said to Expand in Asia as Spreadsheet Is Found (Bloomberg)
A probe of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s hiring practices in China has uncovered red flags across Asia, including an internal spreadsheet that linked appointments to specific deals pursued by the bank, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Justice Department has joined the Securities and Exchange Commission in examining whether JPMorgan hired people so that their family members in government and elsewhere would steer business to the firm, possibly violating bribery laws, said one of the people, all of whom asked to not be named because the inquiry isn’t public. The bank has opened an internal investigation that has flagged more than 200 hires for review, said two people with knowledge of the examination, results of which JPMorgan is sharing with regulators. The scrutiny began in Hong Kong and has now expanded to countries across Asia, looking at interns as well as full-time workers, two people said. The employees include influential politicians’ family members who worked in JPMorgan’s investment bank, as well as relatives of asset-management clients, the people said…The spreadsheet, which links some hiring decisions to specific transactions pursued by the bank, may be viewed by regulators as evidence that JPMorgan added people in exchange for business, according to one person with knowledge of the review.
U.S. Economy Grew More Than Forecast in Second Quarter (Bloomberg)
Gross domestic product rose at a 2.5 percent annualized rate, up from an initial estimate of 1.7 percent, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected a 2.2 percent gain.
Rate Probe Spotlight Shines Light On Higher-Ups (WSJ)
Three days after Tokyo-based trader Tom Hayes was fired by Citigroup Inc. for trying to manipulate benchmark rates, he shot off a letter to one of the bank’s human-resources executives. “My actions were entirely consistent with those of others at senior levels” in Citigroup Japan, he wrote on Sept. 9, 2010, and “the senior management at [Citigroup Japan] were aware of my actions.” Regulators in the U.S. and U.K. are probing up to a dozen banks, including Citigroup, in connection with alleged efforts to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, in order to benefit their trading positions. Among other things, they want to know whether senior executives knew of, or participated in, illegal activity. Mr. Hayes’s letter is now in the hands of investigators in the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, and the former trader has been cooperating for months with their investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Yellen Plays Down Chances Of Getting Fed Job (WSJ)
Ms. Yellen has indicated to some associates that she sees herself as the underdog and is uncomfortable with the contentious public spectacle that the succession has become, according to people who have spoken to her.
Boss insulted employee by saying she looks like reality-TV star Susan Boyle: lawsuit (NYP)
Perfume-company ad director Laura Ziv says her boss relentlessly harassed her about her looks and weight — and was especially cruel in saying she looked like the matronly “Britain’s Got Talent” sensation Susan Boyle…In a $6 million Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, filed yesterday, Ziv, 45, of Princeton, NJ, alleges manager Herve Pierini unleashed the verbal assaults at the Madison Avenue and East 59th Street headquarters for the scent maker Firmenich…Ziv claims Pierini targeted her after she refused to build a competing fragrance brand with him — on company time. “In January 2010, Pierini taunted Ziv at a party given by an executive of the [company’s] biggest client at her home by repeatedly referring to Ziv as ‘Susan Boyle,’ a Scottish singer who is often taunted in the media as being old, fat and ugly,” the suit says. Pierini’s insults became more direct after the Boyle comparison. “On one occasion when a fellow employee did not take the time for lunch, Pierini remarked to Ziv, in the presence of other employees and for them to hear, ‘Not like you, fatty,’ ” according to legal papers. And later, Pierini gestured toward Ziv during an office party and said, “Fatty here is having a cupcake.”
BOJ Board Member Warns of Fed Tapering Impact (WSJ)
Describing the global economic recovery as being “fragile,” the former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executive predicted that any cuts to the Federal Reserve’s bond purchasing program may lead to rapid capital outflows from emerging economies, which in turn would weigh on financial markets.
Euro zone, IMF to press Greece for foreign agency to sell assets (Reuters)
Greece’s international lenders will press Athens next month to transfer state-owned real estate to a holding company managed by the euro zone to spur flagging privatization efforts, officials said on Thursday. The plan, to be put to the Greek government by the troika of lenders – the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission – in September, will propose creating a Greek-owned holding company outside Greece and run by foreign experts.
Ackermann Resigns From Zurich Board After CFO’s Suicide (Bloomberg)
Zurich Insurance Group AG Chairman and former Deutsche Bank Chairman Josef Ackermann resigned after the company’s finance chief died in a suspected suicide. “The unexpected death of Pierre Wauthier has deeply shocked me,” Ackermann, 65, said in a statement today. “I have reasons to believe that the family is of the opinion that I should take my share of responsibility, as unfounded as any allegations might be.”
CNBC hits 20-year ratings nadir (NYP)
The business news cable network posted some of its worst ratings in 20 years this month — attracting an average of just 37,000 viewers aged 25 to 54 over a 24-hour period, according to just-released ratings data. That’s down 35 percent from a year ago, according to Nielsen, and the Comcast-owned network’s worst performance in the key advertiser demo since April 1993. CNBC hit a peak of 162,000 viewers an hour in the key demo in January 2002. Particularly hard-hit programs were “Fast Money,” “Mad Money” and “The Kudlow Report” — each of which saw all-time lows in total viewers this month.
Sheriff: Man shoots arrow wrapped with marijuana at Whatcom County Jail (TBH)
A Bellingham man wrapped a baggie of marijuana around an arrow and fired it at the second-floor recreation area of Whatcom County Jail on Tuesday morning, Aug. 27, according to the sheriff’s office. David Wayne Jordan, 36, later claimed he had been aiming at a squirrel. “He had no explanation as to why squirrel hunting requires attaching marijuana to an arrow,” said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. A civilian employed by the sheriff’s office saw Jordan get out of his red Ford pickup at 8:40 a.m. on the south side of the jail, 311 Grand Ave., with a hunting bow and arrow. He fired the marijuana missile upward toward a mesh screen near the top of the second-floor, fresh-air exercise area for inmates, Elfo said. If fired at a perfect angle, the sheriff added, an arrow might squeeze through the screen. But, apparently, this marksman was no Robin Hood. The arrow – along with a few grams of marijuana and a yet-to-be-identified substance – missed its target and landed on the roof.