Opening Bell: 06.14.10

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US To Demand BP Rescue Fund (WSJ)
White House officials on Sunday said they wanted BP to put "substantial" funds into an escrow account to cover claims by Gulf Coast businesses and residents affected by the spill.

US banks set to lose swaps desks (FT)
Banks are likely to lose a key lobbying battle in the US over whether they will be forced to spin off their lucrative swaps desks, according to people familiar with financial reform negotiations in Congress. Blanche Lincoln, the Senate agriculture chairman, is the lead proponent of the plan, which would force banks to create a separately capitalised subsidiary to house the derivatives dealing operations. Although he declined to say whether he now supported it, Mr Volcker told the Financial Times that his earlier criticism was based on the belief that a stricter spin-off was in the works and it was now a “relevant question” whether damage would be done if swaps desks could be kept within a bank holding company. “I tend to think of the bank holding company as the relevant organisation,” he said. Mr Volcker added that it would be a mistake to ban banks from using swaps to hedge risk or from facilitating a customer who wants to hedge risk. “There was confusion about that – that’s the kind of thing I certainly would not do,” he said.

Wilbur Ross: Europe Troubles Are About To Start (CNBC)
"I think the political troubles in Europe are all just about to start because the governments have all pledged about budget deficits," Ross said. "But now comes the hard part - will there be more strikes, riots, etc. So I'm not sure it will be easy over the next few weeks," he added.

Data Show Banks' Exposure (WSJ)
Data released Sunday by the Bank for International Settlements showed that banks based in the 16 countries that use the euro accounted for $1.58 trillion, or 62%, of all internationally active banks' exposures to residents of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. That included $727 billion of exposure to Spain, $402 billion to Ireland, $244 billion to Portugal and $206 billion to Greece, with about half of the Greek exposure held by France. By far, France and Germany held the greatest exposure to the group, collectively carrying 61% of the total euro-area burden: $493 billion and $465 billion, respectively.

Buffett's Lunch Auction Shows Enhanced Reputation (Bloomberg)
Bidding outpaced last year’s during the first days of the weeklong event and ended in a frenzy June 11 with 77 offers, according to EBay, with the winner shelling out $2.63 million.

Paulson Adds To SEC Officials To Firm's Board (NYP)
In a letter to investors yesterday, Paulson announced he has added former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt and former SEC Commissioner Roel Campos as "independent directors" to the firm's board of directors.

Goldman Envy Drove Big Boys to Blow Up Money Grid (Bloomberg)
Allegedly: The peril wasn’t that Goldman became “a great vampire squid,” as a Rolling Stone writer so delicately phrased it. The firm actually became something much more dangerous: a seductively successful Pied Piper, luring other banks down a path that led to destruction. Its profitability was the envy of its peers, McGee writes: Trying to match Goldman’s return on equity was the only way for rivals to pacify their restive shareholders and increase their personal wealth.

The Goldman Sachs 'Ethics Waiver' (FN)
Goldman Sachs, which publishes an ethics code on its website that emphasises its "integrity and honesty", adds a rider that reads: "From time to time, the firm may waive certain provisions of this Code."

Larry King Plans Move Back To New York (NYP)
This is happening: "Watch out, women of NYC: Larry King wants to move back from Los Angeles and could be a free agent. The Brooklyn-born lothario has told friends he wants to put the drama over his marriage to Shawn Southwick behind him and escape LA."

U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan (NYT)
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

Accounts Of 500 UBS Clients Already Sent To US (Reuters)
These 500 clients had signed waivers allowing their accounts to be handed over to the U.S. taxman voluntarily, so it's NBD.

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