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]
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Swiss Bankers Helping Americans Cheat Taxes Avoided Watchful Eyes Of Hotel Maids, Bellhops: Swiss BankerBy Bess Levin
One thing you may have noticed about Wall Street is that the very top people, with money to spend and no obligation to come into the office, love to buy sports teams. Unfortunately, not all of them are so great at actually owning these teams. Oh sure, they show up for the games, and wear the hats, and maybe even improve concession stand offerings. But do they dance with the mascots? Choreograph a half-time routine with the cheerleaders? The answers are no and no, and what that says to the fans and players is, “My heart’s not fully in this.” Even worse, a significant number of would-be owners don’t know the first thing about acquiring one of these organizations, be it baseball, basketball, football, or hockey, as evidenced by their being rebuffed time and time again.
One guy who does know a little something about getting what he wants vis-à-vis sports teams? Microsoft CEO-turned-LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, whose process is outlined by the Journal. For the naysayers, know this: It has nothing to do with being the highest bidder and everything to do with fist-pumping enthusiasm. For those who’ve come to accept that they’re never going to own a team of their own without help: Sit. Listen.
Rule No. 1: Don’t think, just do: Thirty minutes before meeting the basketball team he bought for $2 billion, Steve Ballmer was pacing a Starbucks parking lot on Wilshire Boulevard. His black Chevy SUV was headed to Beverly Hills, where he would face the players and coaches of the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time. He had never been to an event like this, he said later, and felt both elated and anxious. To avoid arriving early, he stopped for a giant ice tea. “What are the dynamics with basketball stars?” he asked himself as he paced. “I’m used to software developers.” [...] His Clippers purchase had closed five days earlier, but watching the billions exit his bank account had been strangely anticlimactic. Now, just before the Aug. 17 dinner, he felt the weight of what he had done. “I don’t have the first clue about being an owner” of a sports team, he thought.
Rule No. 2: Dream big: Mr. Ballmer compiled spreadsheets to determine profit in three years. Among the factors: revenue from sponsorships, ticket sales and local and national media with two media contracts coming up soon—and costs including NBA fees and players. “I priced it at a multiple of earnings, based on what I think I can do to make this work,” Mr. Ballmer said. “It’s aspirational, high-achievement, high-performance, but not insane.”
Rule No. 3: Give little old ladies what they want: Read more »
Time was, out of the office networking was the purview of men. Ladies might have been able to break into the corporate world, but they were missing out when it came to off-the-clock bonding with colleagues and/or clients on the golf course, in the strip club, and at the bar at 3AM after drinking for 7 hours straight. Well no longer.
Tired of missing out on the opportunities to get ahead afforded to people who don’t necessarily do the best job at the office but impress the boss with their ability to put back 16 Manhattans during happy hour, businesswomen are going shot for shot with their male counterparts, according to a new study from QZ: Read more »
Lions Gate Entertainment presents a how-to guide to eBay and anyone else engaged with the aged corporate raider: Keep exactly as many generously-termed convertible bonds around to hand off to a “friendly shareholder” in your hour of greatest need and any unwanted attentions can be vanquished. Sure, you might have to pony up a few million dollars and accept a slap on the wrist if anyone should find out, but you’ll get to keep your company. Read more »
As you have probably heard by now, late last week Pimco co-founder Bill Gross made an inadvisable call to Reuters, the details of which can be found here. In short, Gross was responding to a Journal article that highlighted tension around the office that likely contributed to CEO Mohamed El-Erian choosing to depart his post; things like Gross’s insistence on absolute silence on the trading floor, letting it be known that employees are not to look him in the eye, slashing people’s bonuses for forgetting to number presentation pages, telling someone to cut him a check for $10,000 to make up for failing to stand when clients were in the office, and uttering the words “If only Mohamed would let me, I could run all the $2 trillion myself…I’m Secretariat…Why would you bet on anyone other than Secretariat?” while holding court with a bunch of traders.
Perhaps in a somewhat misguided attempt to get his side of the story out to the press, Gross told Reuters that the Journal article, written by Greg Zuckerman and Kirsten Grind, had actually been authored by El-Erian, as part of a campaign to “undermine me,” “indicated that he had been monitoring El-Erian’s phone calls,” and when it became apparent that the news outlet was not simply going to run a story vindicating Gross without any kind of supporting evidence that El-Erian had indeed ghost-written the Journal story, “You’re on his side. Great, he’s got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger.” (According to a spokesman for Pimco, “Gross…categorically denies saying this firm ever listened in on Mr. El-Erian’s phone calls or that Mr. El-Erian ‘wrote’ any previous media article.”)
So! Probably kind of an awkward day to be working out of the Newport Beach office. For employees who live in fear of saying the wrong thing– or saying anything, period– in front of Gross in good times, anxiety is likely running high. For them, some tips re: how to make it out alive in the coming weeks with your body parts and bonuses intact: Read more »