Goldman fires staff for NY Fed breach (FT)
Goldman Sachs has fired an investment banker who allegedly accessed confidential information from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, his former employer. Goldman said it had fired Rohit Bansal, a junior employee, in September and then fired his supervisor Joe Jiampietro, a better-known senior banker in the financial institutions group, which advises other banks. Mr Jiampietro was himself a former government official – a top adviser to Sheila Bair when she was chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The New York Fed said: “As soon as we learned that Goldman Sachs suspected one of its employees may have inappropriately obtained confidential supervisory information, we alerted law enforcement authorities.”
Justice Dept. Sets Record in Penalties for Fraud (NYT)
The Justice Department collected a record $24.7 billion in penalties from fraud and other cases in the 2014 fiscal year, the agency said on Wednesday, as fines against banks for financial misconduct soared. Collections from civil and criminal actions, including money collected on behalf of other agencies, was $8 billion in 2013, and $13 billion in 2012. Collections in 2014 were bolstered by multibillion-dollar payouts from JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to resolve claims they misled investors about the quality of mortgage bonds in the run-up to the financial crisis, and include $11 billion in payments made to federal agencies or states. Payouts in the 2014 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, also include hundreds of millions of dollars in fines levied on UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Ex-Chief of Iceland Bank Sentenced to Jail for Role in 2008 Crisis (Dealbook)
The former chief executive of Landsbanki of Iceland was sentenced to prison on Wednesday, the third of the top executives of the country’s three largest banks that the government has successfully prosecuted and jailed for misconduct during the financial crisis. Sigurjon Arnason was ordered jailed for a year at a hearing at the Reykjavik District Court on Wednesday, but nine months of his sentence were suspended and will be served as probation. Mr. Arnason couldn’t be located for comment on Wednesday. Iceland was one of the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis and was forced to nationalize its three largest lenders in 2008.
Uber May Need Adult Supervision as Controversy Builds (Bloomberg)
Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, 38, is dealing with a wave of criticism this week from remarks that one of his top lieutenants, Emil Michael, made about snooping on journalists. The situation took another turn yesterday when online publication BuzzFeed said one of its reporters was tracked by an Uber Technologies Inc. executive without her permission. Uber is now investigating that manager, a person with knowledge of the matter has said. Uber in August hired David Plouffe, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, who now directs communications at the startup. The deepening debate suggests that Kalanick might need even more experienced hands to guide him and the San Francisco-based company, which is the most highly valued technology startup in the U.S. “Uber has earned some frat culture publicity, and could benefit from hiring a woman on the board or an Eric Schmidt-type of executive,” said Brian Solis, an analyst at technology research firm Altimeter Group, referring to the former Google Inc. CEO who was brought in to aid founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the search company’s early years.
GoDaddy seeks nearly $4.5B IPO valuation, talks diversifying (NYP)
GoDaddy.com is pushing ahead with an initial public offering early next year that would value the world’s biggest domain registration service at roughly $4.5 billion, The Post has learned. CFO Scott Wagner met last week with analysts to give an update on GoDaddy since it first filed paperwork to go public in June, a source said. The company, backed by buyout giants KKR and Silver Lake, is trying to woo investors even as the 800-pound gorilla moves into its territory. Just a few weeks after GoDaddy filed for an IPO, Google began testing a domain registration service. In its meeting with the Street, GoDaddy stressed its desire to diversify — building Web sites for customers and helping them to process transactions on their sites, for example — before Google or another rival makes a more serious push.
Loud Rooster Might Cost Owners $3,000 In Fines (AP)
It was just the first of Mr. Rooster's problems that he was first believed to be a Ms. His crowing has given him away, though, and his owners in Cornelius, Oregon, have been dinged six times in five months for violating city ordinances. At a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Dan and Megan Keller could be fined as much as $3,000. Megan Keller told The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1yTecdO) that she thought she was buying two females at Easter time in 2012 for her granddaughters to show at 4-H. But there was a shipping mix-up that became evident as Mr. Rooster grew up. Keller said, though, that the birds had arrived during a tough patch in her life, and "those two brought me a lot of comfort." Cornelius is a western Portland suburb of about 12,000 people proclaimed on its website as "an agricultural paradise, where rolling hillsides, vineyards and farms abound." The town doesn't, as other cities do, ban roosters outright. But it has an ordinance against animals that annoy or disturb neighbors. In June, a neighbor complained about Mr. Rooster. In August, a judge handed down a $250 fine and ordered that the bird get a new home. Keller sent Mr. Rooster to a farm owned by friends. Along went the other bird from the 2012 shipment, known as Mrs. Rooster. Megan Keller said that didn't go well: The birds lost their feathers, and then a hawk attack left Mrs. Rooster dead and Mr. Rooster injured. So she retrieved Mr. Rooster. As the injured bird rested his head calmly on her shoulder recently, Keller said she's sure she did the right thing: "Who would I be if I would have left him up there?"
Goldman accused of exploiting aluminum storage rules (CNBC)
In a voluminous new report reflecting two years of research, an influential Senate panel accuses Goldman Sachs of manipulating aluminum storage rules in order to line its own pockets, even as manufacturers and customers suffered. Since 2010, when it acquired the metal storage company Metro International Trade Services, Goldman has engaged in a slew of manipulative "merry-go-round" trades in which aluminum slabs are moved from one warehouse facility to another, says the 396-page report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, resulting in record U.S. fees for storing and shipping aluminum and, as a result, higher overall costs for aluminum-product manufacturers and consumers. "These merry-go-round transactions lengthened the metal load out queue to exit the Metro warehouse system [and] blocked the exits for other metal owners seeking to leave the system," states the report, unveiled at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in advance of a two-day hearing set to be held on the subject in Washington, D.C.
Goldman, Morgan Stanley Commodities Heyday Gone as Units Faulted (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs produced $1 billion of revenue from its commodities unit and investments in commodity businesses in 2012, down from $3.4 billion in 2009, according to a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report released today on banks’ involvement in those markets. Morgan Stanley’s commodity revenue fell for four straight years, from $3 billion in 2008 to $912 million in 2012, according to the report.
Bank Payouts for Government-Job Takers Under Fire (WSJ)
A shareholder activist group is taking aim at the revolving door between banks and the U.S. government. The union group AFL-CIO sent letters Wednesday to seven banks, including Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., asking for more information on how they pay executives departing for government jobs. Shareholder groups have long disparaged “golden parachutes,” or payouts for executives when they leave a company. But the AFL-CIO’s focus on payouts for executives who leave for the public sector is a new wrinkle. In two-page letters to the banks, the AFL-CIO asks for disclosure of which executives could receive accelerated or continued stock awards—something that employees often have to give up when they resign from a company— if they leave for government service. The letter raises the questions in the context of executive compensation and what shareholders get out of the payments.
Carl Icahn does what Donald Trump could not (CNBC)
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has done what real estate mogul Donald Trump could not: Buy a house. The Press of Atlantic City reported Carl Icahn's IEH Investments successfully won the home of Vera Coking, a widow who became something of a folk hero after resisting overtures to sell from Trump and Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. The report said Icahn purchased the house for $583,000 at an August auction. Although the home stands next to the now-closed Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, that building's namesake businessman could never meet Coking's asking price, the Press reported. Coking won praise and attention over the years as she repeatedly rebuffed offers from Trump and Guccione, as well as an attempted state takeover of her property. She now lives in a retirement home in California.
Coming Soon: Dealbreaker Dramatic Reading Night Part IV (DB)
The greatest night of all our lives is going down Wednesday, December 17th.
TGI Fridays launches flying mistletoe drones for the holidays (NYDN)
TGI Fridays is launching flying drones laden with mistletoe to get diners in the holiday spirit. The chain launched the drone — which features an HD kiss cam and can film for up to 20 minutes — in the UK Wednesday after research revealed that 47% of Brits have never puckered up under the festive garlands. "We wanted to see how we could make Christmas get-togethers in our restaurants even more entertaining and offer guests the encouragement they need to make their move," TGI Fridays spokeswoman Rachel Waller said...This may be holly jolly technology for Brits, but New Yorkers are saying bah humbug to the puckered up gimmick. “I'd rather not kiss my significant other under a traveling mistletoe surrounded by empty Jack Daniels sauce bottles and used wet naps,” says Westchester native Robert Graham.