In Corzine Comeback, Big Risks and Steep Fall (DealBook)
When Jon S. Corzine joined MF Global last year it seemed like a strange choice — the firm had none of the glamour, let alone the profits or footprint of Goldman Sachs, the bank he ran during the 1990s. ... Mr. Corzine, 64, who not only presided over Goldman but later served in the United States Senate and then as governor of New Jersey, seemed surprised himself. “Don’t ask me any hard questions,” he joked to a visitor who met with him just days after Mr. Corzine took over in March 2010. “I hadn’t heard of this company a week ago.”
Greece Sticks With Referendum (WSJ)
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday held to his high-stakes call for a national referendum on the country's bailout package, facing down a revolt in his own party and preparing to make his case to European partners in critical talks. Greece's cabinet overnight approved plans for a referendum that effectively amounts to a vote on whether Greeks want to endure the further financial sacrifices necessary to remain in the 17-country euro zone.
Jefferies Says It’s No MF Global as CEO Shuns Large Prop Bets (Bloomberg)
“We have always been cognizant of the fact that we’re not too big to fail and operate accordingly as we manage risk, diversification, liquidity and capital,” [CEO Richard] Handler, 50, said in an interview yesterday after MF Global Holdings Ltd. filed for bankruptcy. “We have always used our capital to facilitate clients rather than taking large proprietary bets.”
Lloyds CEO to take leave on health grounds (Reuters)
Antonio Horta-Osorio is taking a break from his role as chief executive of part-nationalised British lender Lloyds Banking Group for health reasons, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. ... "He's been suffering from fatigue due to over-work," said the source.
Dick Bove: We’ve Gone Nuts (CNBC)
“I think we’ve gone nuts,” he said. “I think these [U.S. bank] stocks are so cheap, that people should be buying them as aggressively as they could.”
Group Endorses Walk Out in Economics 10 (Harvard Crimson)
A small group of Harvard students and employees staged an “Occupy Speakout” at noon on Tuesday to express their solidarity with the “National Day of Action.” The group also sought to raise awareness of events they have planned for today, including a walkout of the popular Economics 10 introductory course and a March in Boston later in the day. “Mic Check! We are the 99 percent across the country!” the group chanted.
EFSF Delays 3 Billion-Euro Bond Sale on Market Conditions (Bloomberg)
Europe’s bailout fund is delaying a 3 billion-euro ($4.1 billion) bond sale after markets were roiled by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s request for a referendum on the rescue pact for his country. The European Financial Stability Facility is putting off the sale of the 10-year securities “due to market conditions,” said Christof Roche, a spokesman for the Luxembourg-based fund. An EFSF official said in a conference call with investors today that it may wait for the outcome of the Nov. 3-4 Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France before selling the bonds, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. “The timing was just completely wrong,” said Bill Blain, the co-head of strategy at broker Newedge Group in London. The EFSF is planning the bond sale to help finance the rescue of Ireland.
Mortgage firm is Mafia Inc: feds (NYP)
The son of jailed former Lucchese boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky’’ Scarfo used the trusted mob technique of extortion to gain control of a cash-rich mortgage company -- and then loot it for millions, according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey. “The [mob ’s] criminal activities have evolved from the back alleys to the boardrooms,” said Michael Ward, FBI agent-in-charge in Newark, said of the stunning scheme. Nicodemo “Junior’’ Scarfo, 46, and 12 others, including an accountant and five lawyers -- one, David Adler, from tony Chappaqua, NY -- were nailed in the scheme involving Irving, Texas-based FirstPlus Financial Group, authorities said. Instead of targeting a more typical Mafia staple such as a restaurant or illegal-gambling racket, the mobster offspring and his cronies zeroed in on FPFG, which had been raking in millions from its subprime-mortgage business at the height of the real-estate boom, the feds said. ... “They saw the potential, they saw this small company that was cash-rich, looking to do a restructuring,” one law-enforcement source told The Post.
Whispers of Return to Drachma Grow Louder in Greek Crisis (NYT)
“The real problem is that we are operating under a foreign currency,” Vasilis Serafeimakis, a senior executive at Avinoil, one of Greece’s largest oil and gas distribution companies, said of the euro. In the last year, he has been banging the bring-back-the-drachma drum. “If we had our own currency, we could at least print money,” Mr. Serafeimakis said, referring to the ability to revalue the drachma. “And what is the worst thing that happens if we do this? I don’t get a Christmas gift from one of my bankers.”
Will Bernanke Take Aim at G.D.P.? (Economix)
It’s a safe bet that the hottest topic in monetary policy is going to be raised when the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, takes questions from reporters Wednesday afternoon. That would be nominal G.D.P. targeting, a concept lately endorsed elsewhere on this very Web site by the liberal economists Christina Romer and Paul Krugman (separately, and with very different degrees of enthusiasm) and long embraced by a diverse group of other economic thinkers.
Cafe Owner Says He Was Forced to Cut Staff by Nearly a Fourth Because of 'Occupy' Protests (Fox)
Marc Epstein, owner of the Milk Street Cafe at 40 Wall Street in lower Manhattan, said he had to cut 21 of the 97 members of his staff on Thursday and Friday after seeing sales plummet by 30 percent in the six weeks since the protests began. He's also been forced to slash the restaurant operating hours, moving up his closing time from 9 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. ... "It's not only a physical impediment, it's a psychological impediment," Epstein told FoxNews.com. "You look down Wall Street now, and it looks like it's under siege. So, people who have to walk down Wall Street don't walk down Wall Street. It used to be a beautiful pedestrian mall, and now it's not -- it's ugly.
Accused rapist Hugues Akassy plagiarized from Charlie Rose’s website, prosecutor says (NYDN)
An accused rapist who masqueraded as a French journalist may also be a plagiarist. Hugues Akassy put several quotes about PBS star Charlie Rose on his own website - and claimed they were about him, a Manhattan prosecutor said Tuesday. Akassy billed himself on his website as an "acclaimed interviewer" who "engages America's best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, business leaders, scientists and other newsmakers." "Would you be surprised to hear that Charlie Rose's description of his own program is very much like yours?" prosecutor Jessica Troy asked during cross examination. "How am I supposed to know?" fired back Akassy, who is charged with raping a woman in Riverside Park and stalking several others.