The Latest

  • 02 Apr 2014 at 5:00 PM
  • Banks

El Chapo Guzman May Still Be Banking With HSBC

Remember that time HSBC was found to be running a lucrative money-laundering business on the side, cheerfully doing business with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, the Iranians, Burmese and the Cubans? And how it agreed to stop and be a good boy and oh yea pay about $2 billion if federal prosecutors agreed not to file criminal charges against it?

Well, coming up with $1.9 billion was the easy part. Making sure you’re not doing the thing that forced you to write that check in the first place? This is a stickier matter. Read more »

If the Mt. Gox founder would like to avail his company of all of the wonderful protections offered by Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, he’s going to have to spend a bitcoin or two on a ticket to Dallas. Read more »

  • 02 Apr 2014 at 12:15 PM
  • Banks

Latest Forex Lawsuit Heavy On Toff Stereotyping

A bunch of big investors think that a bunch of big banks should give them an unspecified amount of money, because they have broken crumpets and sipped tea together or something. Read more »

  • 02 Apr 2014 at 11:30 AM

Pimco Doesn’t Need Your Pity

Investors pulled another $3.1 billion from Pimco’s flagship fund in March, the 11th straight month of outflows from the world’s largest bond fund, and its performance on the month lagged 95 percent of its peers due to a spate of wrong calls by long-time manager Bill Gross…Pimco spokesman Mark Porterfield said: “It’s important to compare a fund’s performance with its benchmark and not just with other mutual funds, which could hold riskier and higher-yielding assets. Total Return has outperformed its index for the past six months, two, five and 10 years.” [Reuters]

The World Cup will actually make things worse for the former postercountry for emerging markets, even before the locals burn Rio to the ground after the home XI go out in the quarterfinals. Read more »

He’s wined them and dined them and kept them warm when the trading floor was cold but apparently free hot dogs and Patagonia fleeces don’t go very far at SAC Capital these days. Following a raft of deflections by people who don’t want to stick around to see what the future holds for Point72 Asset Management, Dealbook reports that Steve Cohen is attempting to ensure a little loyalty from his traders, who can choose to do this the easy way or the hard way. Read more »

  • 02 Apr 2014 at 9:00 AM

George Soros Could Do This All Day

In 2006, George Soros was a new-ishly divorced bachelor about town. As a 75 year-old billionaire with a libido that would not quit, Soros wasn’t looking for anything too serious. So when he met a young woman named Adrianna Ferreyr in the Hamptons, he intended to keep things light, and for the next five years, he did, engaging in what he and his lawyers would later describe as “on-again, off again and non-exclusive.” Oh sure, he promised to buy Ferreyr an apartment on East 85th street, but when your net worth has 10 zeros attached to it, giving a woman a 2-bedroom condo carries no more weight than tossing her a twenty for cab fare after informing her she can’t spend the night. Which probably explains why Soros, after “heartlessly dumping” and then “briefly reconciling for a romantic night,” didn’t think it was a big deal to lean over and whisper that he’d given the place away to another woman (who would later become his third wife). Soros was subsequently treated to a piece of Ferryr’s mind and after that, allegedly “slapped Ferreyr across the face and proceeded to put his hands around her neck in an attempt to choke her…then…attempted to strike her with a glass lamp, and though he narrowly missed, it smashed on the floor and she cut her foot, which required three stitches,” according to a lawsuit filed by Ferryr in August 2011, which sought $50 million in damages.

In the two and half years that have followed Soros has:

  • Strongly denied the accusations and refused to give Ferryr a dime
  • Offered to settle for a trifling $250,000
  • Prosed to the woman– Tamiko Bolton– he let have Ferryr’s apartment
  • Claimed that he was the one who was assaulted and that after hearing Bolton was getting her apartment, an “enraged” Ferreyr “picked up a nearby lamp that was made partly of glass and…attempted to strike Soros with it” (according to this version of the story, the lamp allegedly made contact with his arm before shattering on the floor)
  • Gone ahead and married Bolton
  • Watched Ferryr, during a deposition in February, yell “expletives” at one of his lawyers, tell another lawyer he was “going down” and “should go to prison and get beat up,” kick one of his aids in the shins, and, finally, hit him in the face with such intensity that she knocked off his hearing aid

At this point in the story, Soros is 83 years old. He has a new bride. His Quantum Endowment made $5.5 billion last year. Has he had enough? Does he want to spend however many years he’s got left in peace? Does he decide to just give Ferryr what she wants, a figure that is roughly the amount of cash he carries around in his wallet? Or does he choose to send a message– to any women from his past thinking of coming out of the wordwork to demand an apartment1 or, should things not work out with Tamiko, the women of his future who would do the same– that George Soros rolls over for no one? Read more »

Opening Bell: 04.02.14

JPMorgan Assailed by Russia as Bank Blocks Payment (Bloomberg)
The biggest U.S. bank thwarted a remittance from the Russian embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan, to Sogaz Insurance Group “under the pretext of anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the United States,” the ministry said yesterday in a statement on its website. Sogaz lists OAO Bank Rossiya, a St. Petersburg-based lender facing U.S. sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis, as a strategic partner on its website. Interfering with the transaction was an “absolutely unacceptable, illegal and absurd decision,” Alexander Lukashevich, a ministry spokesman, said in the statement.

Virtu Said to Delay IPO Amid Furor Spurred by Michael Lewis Book (Bloomberg)
Virtu Financial Inc., the high-frequency trader that announced plans last month to sell shares, has delayed the deal, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Virtu’s bankers won’t start marketing the initial public offering until after April 20, delaying the process from this week, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the decision is private. The delay comes amid unprecedented scrutiny of high-frequency traders. “Flash Boys,” the Michael Lewis book released yesterday, argues that high-speed traders, Wall Street brokerages and exchanges have rigged the $23 trillion U.S. stock market. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is examining privileges such as enhanced data feeds marketed to high-speed firms, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether those traders are breaking U.S. laws by acting on nonpublic information.

SEC Investigations Into High-Frequency Trading Under Way (WSJ)
U.S. securities regulators are examining whether some rapid-fire trading firms are engaged in unlawful trading practices, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White said Tuesday. Ms. White, testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee, said the SEC currently has “a number” of ongoing investigations regarding “market integrity and structure issues, including high-frequency traders.” She declined to provide specifics about the investigations, but said they have been under way for “quite some time.” “We’re very much focused on any abuses in that space,” she said.

High-Frequency Hyperbole, By Cliff Asness (WSJ)
A few nights ago, CBS’s “60 Minutes” provided a forum for author Michael Lewis to announce that Wall Street is “rigged” and for the sponsors of a new trading venue called IEX to promise to unrig it. The focus of the TV segment was high-frequency trading, or HFT, an innovation now over 20 years old. The stock market isn’t rigged and IEX hasn’t yet generated a lot of interest. In our profession, what we saw on “60 Minutes” is called “talking your book”—in Mr. Lewis’s case, literally.

Bitcoins aren’t cash, so Silk Road creator’s clean: lawyer (NYP)
In papers seeking to dismiss the feds’ case against Ross Ulbricht, lawyer Joshua Dratel said the IRS recently ruled Bitcoin is property – and not a “monetary instrument” – so the money laundering charges against his client should be tossed. “Bitcoins, the exclusive means of payment on Silk Road, do not qualify as ‘monetary instruments,’ and therefore cannot serve as the basis for a money laundering violation,” Dratel wrote.

French artist starts fortnight inside bear (BBC)
Abraham Poincheval first performed Dans La Peau de l’Ours – Inside the Skin of the Bear – at the CAIRN Centre for Contemporary Art in Digne last year. He is now reprising the piece at the Hunting and Wildlife Museum in Paris, where he will remain until 13 April. Poincheval previously spent a week in an underground hole beneath a bookshop in Marseilles in October 2012. According to the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature, Poincheval is a performance artist “familiar with extreme situations”. The performance piece will see him eat, drink, sleep and relieve himself inside the sterilised carcass of a bear while being filmed by two cameras. Read more »