Government auditors are investigating exclusive contracts held by Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to provide financial services inside federal prisons…Bank of America has been paid at least $76.3 million by Treasury to manage inmates’ accounts, money transfers, email service and other technology inside the 121 facilities managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The contract has been amended 22 times since it was awarded without competitive bidding in 2000. The accounts hold the money inmates earn from prison jobs paying as little as 12 cents an hour and supplemental funds sent by family and friends. Inmates use the money for clothing, phone calls, food and other expenses. Treasury says the payments to Bank of America were reimbursed by the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons’ parent agency. JPMorgan issues debit cards to inmates when they are released that contain the balance remaining in their prison accounts. JPMorgan’s original contract was awarded in 1998 and amended at least 14 times. It was re-upped in 2008 and amended at least four times since then. [Center For Public Integrity]
Swiss Bankers Helping Americans Cheat Taxes Avoided Watchful Eyes Of Hotel Maids, Bellhops: Swiss BankerBy Bess Levin
A former UBS AG banker gave a primer on the workings of Swiss bank secrecy to a Florida jury hearing the tax-conspiracy trial of Raoul Weil, who once ran the bank’s global wealth-management business. Hansruedi Schumacher told Fort Lauderdale jurors today that he oversaw UBS accounts for about 15,000 U.S. clients in 1999, and most were structured to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Clients shunned calls or account statements from their Swiss bankers, preferring personal visits, usually in hotels, he said. Bankers often changed hotels to avoid suspicion from the staff. [Bloomberg]
Some might say that a bank shouldn’t suggest that some of its regulators would be better out on the street than in a comfy office nit-picking what some other regulator has already nit-picked. Indeed, Citi Chairman Michael O’Neill said so himself. But he just can’t help it, so he’s going to come out and say it: When his bank inevitably does something wrong again, he’d really prefer to take only one irate phone call, rather than three. Read more »
JP Morgan Chase’s third-quarter results were published more than three hours ahead of schedule because of a mistake by Shareholder.com, the investor-communications company owned by Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. “The root cause was a human error internally at Shareholder.com,” Ryan Wells, a Nasdaq spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. Shareholder.com provides companies with Internet services including website maintenance for investor relations. JPMorgan’s earnings press release and supplement appeared online at about 3:30 a.m. in New York. The bank had set 7 a.m. for release of the market-sensitive data. [Bloomberg]
As its name indicates, Deutsche Bank is not a Swiss bank. But it does have a Swiss banking unit, for the same reason every other bank has a subsidiary in a country home to fewer people than New York City, which is the reason why said country of eight million people living on top of mountains has exactly one notable industry: banking. Historically speaking, the kind of banking that means you might not have to pay taxes.
Of course, this sort of banking has run into some troubles, recently, not least of all from Deutsche Bank’s home country. And without Angela Merkel’s willingness to throw down á la François Hollande with Barack Obama, and frankly without much risk to itself, the Frankfurters aren’t putting up a fight. Read more »