Banks Said to Face U.K. Fines of Up to $380 Million on FX (Bloomberg)
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority is preparing to levy fines ranging from 225 million pounds ($358 million) to 250 million pounds against six banks in the first settlements in a global probe into currency manipulation allegations, three people with knowledge of the talks said. The FCA could announce settlements as soon as next week with Barclays Plc (BARC), Citigroup (C) Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), JPMorgan Chase & Co, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Allergan Said to Be in Active Takeover Talks With Actavis (Bloomberg)
Allergan has been trying to fend off what’s been valued as a $54 billion hostile bid by Valeant. Allergan has called the offer “grossly inadequate” and alleged that the Canadian company would gut its research and development budget and use its cash flow to pay down debt accumulated from previous acquisitions.
Regulator Wants Greater Use of Bank Monitors (WSJ)
Benjamin Lawsky , New York’s superintendent of financial services, said he is looking to expand the use of independent monitors at firms as a way to prevent bad behavior. Such compliance specialists are in place as part of settlements of legal cases covering issues as varied as allegations of U.S. sanctions violations and mortgage-servicing abuses.
Nebraska Woman, 36, Jailed For Walmart Parking Spot Rage Incident (TSG)
According to a Lincoln Police Department report, Julie and Christopher Weakly pulled into the parking spot Saturday evening, unaware that Kimberly Pankratius was waiting for it. In response, the 36-year-old Pankratius pulled up alongside the duo’s vehicle and called them “douche bags,” cops noted. Julie Weakly, 40, told police that she and her husband ignored Pankratius’s comments “and continued walking towards the store.” Christopher Weakly, 39, said that he “inadvertently” took the spot for which Pankratius was waiting. As they approached Walmart, both Weaklys heard tires squealing and saw Pankratius (seen at right) speeding towards them. As the car turned in front of them, Julie was struck in the arm by the driver’s side mirror. The impact caused the mirror to break and hang off the vehicle. Though she was in pain, Weakly declined medical treatment. Christopher Weakly told police that the PT Cruiser--which sped away from the lot--was “only inches” away from hitting him. Armed with the car’s license plate (which Julie recorded), police questioned Pankratius, who confessed to the parking lot rage incident. Saying that she “felt really bad,” Pankratius added, “I did do it. I’m so, so scared.” Pankratius said that she was angry at the couple for taking her parking spot and was “attempting to drive fast towards them to scare them.” Claiming that she did not intend to hit anyone, Pankratius said that she became “scared” after realizing that she “hit Julie with her driver’s side mirror.” Police noted that Pankratius was “very cooperative and apologetic” while being questioned.
U.S. Money-Laundering Probe Touches Putin’s Inner Circle (WSJ)
U.S. prosecutors have launched a money-laundering investigation of a member of Vladimir Putin ’s inner circle, several people familiar with the efforts said, in a politically sensitive escalation of pressure on the Russian president’s cadre of billionaire supporters. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, aided by the Justice Department, is investigating whether Gennady Timchenko transferred funds linked to allegedly corrupt deals in Russia through the U.S. financial system, the people said. The prosecutors are probing transactions in which the Geneva-based commodities firm Mr. Timchenko co-founded, Gunvor Group, purchased oil from Russia’s OAO Rosneft and later sold it to third parties, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Investigators have in recent months requested information about the prices Gunvor charged, the person said.
ECB ready to do more if needed, signs up to Draghi's target (Reuters)
European Central Bank members all stand ready to take more policy action if needed to revive a struggling euro economy and the bank's staff will prepare the groundwork, President Mario Draghi said on Thursday. The Italian doused concerns about his leadership style, saying the whole policymaking Governing Council had signed up to a statement which confirmed previous comments he had made on the amount of money the bank aimed to pump into the economy.
Ben Bernanke Is A Funny Guy (CNBC)
For eight years, Ben Bernanke played the straight man as a buttoned-down, humorless central banker straight out of central casting. For one afternoon, at least, he let loose a little and showed a few thousand financial pros that even guys who had to bear the weight of the world on their shoulders can laugh a little, too. Bernanke spoke to a room of thousands at the Schwab IMPACT conference in Denver, a gathering of more than 2,000 investment advisors as well as another thousand or so folks who flock to the annual gathering. As speakers at such events often do, Bernanke started off with a joke. But this wasn't dorky banker humor. He was actually funny. He talked about sending his daughter off to college for the first time, whereupon her roommate asked her what her father did for a living. Informed that he ran the U.S. central bank, the roommate exclaimed: "Your dad is Alan Greenspan!?"
Dog Candidate Loses Mayoral Race (HP)
Einstein the dog joined the Oakland, California, mayoral race, promising to provide a voice -- if a bit of a growly one -- to the city's most overlooked residents. "There is a legitimate reason to wonder whether a dog can serve as mayor of Oakland, but he provides a great voice for low-income and otherwise marginalized people who live in Oakland," Einstein's political advisor, Michael Wilson, told The Huffington Post in October, shortly after announcing the dog's candidacy. "They have no candidate to represent them." But, perhaps cognizant of laws preventing a dog from taking office, the city's voters on Tuesday elected Libby Schaaf, a human who -- to the best of our knowledge -- does not intend to adopt Einstein's platform promise of creating a municipal holiday for animals. The other parts of Einstein's platform, largely created by members of Occupy Oakland, extended to the creation of a single-payer health care system, criminal justice reform and the conversion of public property into farmland for growing organic food...Wilson says the dog's campaign doesn't know yet exactly how many votes Einstein got. "Since Einstein was an unofficial write-in candidate, the county clerk will not issue an official count. We're considering a public records request to do a manual count with as-yet unconscripted volunteers," he says.