Greece Wins Second Bailout as Europe Picks Aid Over Default (Bloomberg)
Finance ministers awarded 130 billion euros ($173 billion) in aid, engineered a central-bank profits transfer and coaxed investors into providing more debt relief in an exchange meant to tide Greece past a March bond repayment. Stocks fell and the euro fluctuated as investors speculated the deal won’t fix Greece’s long-term challenges. Bondholders’ response to the swap, Greece’s tolerance of more austerity and a gantlet of parliamentary approvals in northern European countries gripped by an anti-bailout mindset loom as risks to the latest salvage operation. “Everybody understood that this was the moment of truth,” Belgian Finance Minister Steven Vanackere told reporters early today after 13 1/2 hours of talks in Brussels.
Geithner Bond Returns Beat Rubin, Trail Paulson (Bloomberg)
Since Geithner assumed office in January 2009, returns on Treasuries have exceeded bonds of other countries by 0.3 percentage point on an annualized rate, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. That’s less than Paulson’s 7.5 percentage points. Under Rubin, returns on Treasuries lagged behind foreign issues by 1.6 points.
A Banker Who Unwinds by Photographing Prostitutes (CityRoom)
As a foreign exchange trader for Citigroup, Chris Arnade, 46, makes a good income, and lives with his wife and three children in a spacious apartment he owns in Brooklyn Heights. But during much of his spare time, he can be found driving the family minivan around Hunts Point in the Bronx, photographing prostitutes and documenting their lives. Mr. Arnade says he hopes his photos and descriptions provide a platform for some of the most marginalized New Yorkers to tell their stories.
Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors (WSJ)
Fed officials contend they allow plenty of sunlight into their regulatory deliberations, but open meetings, which tend to be scripted and are sometimes perfunctory, don't always add value to the process. Ever-growing demands on governors' time has made it harder to coordinate schedules to allow for frequent meetings than in past decades, they add.
UBS Turning Whistleblower in Libor Probe (Bloomberg)
UBS's decision to become first- confessor as regulators probe the alleged manipulation of interest rates will ratchet up the risks for other banks that set the benchmark for $360 trillion of securities worldwide. The bank is seeking to insulate itself from the biggest possible fines from the investigation by turning itself in to regulators before its competitors to gain leniency, lawyers said. The plan still leaves the Zurich-based lender vulnerable to lawsuits from clients and raises the potential antitrust penalties for its competitors.
Board of Wynn Resorts Forcibly Buys Out Founder (WSJ)
In a dramatic weekend showdown, the Wynn board, meeting in Las Vegas, accused Mr. Okada of making improper payments to gambling regulators in the Philippines. The board's move came after an internal investigation conducted by a former FBI director found him to be "unsuitable" based on the company's internal regulations.
Strauss-Kahn Held by Police in Prostitution Probe (Reuters)
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was taken in for questioning on Tuesday by police investigating an alleged prostitution ring run out of the northern French city of Lille. Strauss-Kahn can be held for up to 48 hours and may then be placed under formal investigation for benefitting from misappropriated company funds. Investigators are trying to find out whether French executives used corporate expense accounts to fund sex parties with prostitutes.
Falcone fell down on $56M payment (NYP)
Add UK satellite company Inmarsat to the growing list of entities feuding with hedge fund titan Phil Falcone and his troubled wireless venture LightSquared. Yesterday, Inmarsat said LightSquared defaulted on a $56.25 million payment due under an agreement the two companies signed in 2007. LightSquared denied the default and blamed Inmarsat for the delayed payment, citing “several matters that require resolution” before the payment is made.
Closures, Losses Push Back Asia Hedge Fund Industry (Reuters)
Net outflows in each of the last four months of 2011 have pushed the industry $52 billion behind its peak assets of $176 billion hit in December 2007, data from industry tracker Eurekahedge showed, spelling troubles for start-ups, prime brokers and other service providers who had pinned hopes on a potential expansion.
Bullish Hedge Funds Hike Their Bets in 2012 Rally (Reuters)
Many funds think the European Central Bank's long-term refinancing operations (LTRO), which flooded markets with 489 billion euros ($644 billion) of cheap cash in December and provide more this month, are a turning point in propping up the region's battered banks. They are also betting that China, which is facing a fifth successive quarter of slowing economic growth, will experience a so-called 'soft landing', while the U.S., which saw its fastest growth in one-and-a-half years in the fourth quarter, is firmly on the recovery path.
Ex-Bond Highflier Is Warned by SEC (WSJ)
Alexander Rekeda, who led Japanese bank Mizuho Financial Group Inc.'s charge into the then-red-hot business of U.S. subprime debt in 2006, was warned by the Securities and Exchange Commission in October that he faces the potential charges, according to a regulatory filing. Mr. Rekeda received a so-called Wells notice, a letter typically giving the recipient a final opportunity to dissuade the SEC from filing an enforcement action.
Spain to send military planes to Florida to collect a half of a billion dollars worth of treasure (NYDN)
Spain said Monday it will soon send hulking military transport planes to Florida to retrieve 17 tons of treasure that U.S. undersea explorers found but ultimately lost in American courts, a find experts have speculated could be the richest shipwreck treasure in history. The Civil Guard said agents would leave within hours to take possession of the booty, worth an estimated $504 million, and two Spanish Hercules transport planes will bring it back.