Libor Case Comes To Trial (WSJ)
Is a 35-year-old mathematician the modern face of financial crime? In a trial starting Tuesday in London, British prosecutors will contend that the answer is yes. They are preparing to cast Tom Hayes, a former star trader at UBS AG and Citigroup Inc., as the ringleader of a global conspiracy to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Mr. Hayes’s expected defense: He is being unfairly singled out for behavior that was widespread all over Wall Street. The argument rests primarily on the fact that his bosses knew what he was doing and sometimes participated alongside him, which explains why he didn’t think what he was doing was wrong.
Greece’s Governing Left Divided Over Debt Terms (WSJ)
Dissent is spreading within left-wing Syriza against the economic policies Greece is likely to have to enact in return for fresh bailout funding from other eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund. The Syriza-led coalition government holds only a thin majority of 12 seats in Greece’s 300-seat Parliament, so a rebellion against a deal could easily cost Mr. Tsipras his governing majority. Greece’s lenders are particularly worried about vocal threats by Syriza’s Left Platform, a hard-line leftist faction within the party, to reject any deal that crosses ideological “red lines” by cutting pensions or workers’ rights.
Profit Soars at the Vatican Bank After a Governance Overhaul (NYT)
The Institute for the Works of Religion, as the bank is officially called, reported 69.3 million euros, or about $76 million, in net profit, more than 20 times the €2.9 million reported for the previous year. In 2013, the bank lost money on investments and on the decreased value of its gold holdings, and had to face the costs of meeting stricter standards against money laundering.
Whistleblowers Find SEC Rewards Slow and Scarce (WSJ)
Dan David, co-founder of GeoInvesting LLC, a financial-research firm based in Skippack, Pa. said his company has made almost a dozen claims for whistleblower awards for alleged penny-stock frauds and those involving U.S.-listed Chinese stocks. To date, they have been paid “not one dime,” he said. Mr. David said he would welcome funding his research through whistleblower payments, rather than short sales, but “the whistleblower program is not offering any incentive to exposing frauds in areas where the SEC finds it impossible to collect sanctions.”
Overvalued in Silicon Valley, but Don’t Say ‘Tech Bubble’ (Dealbook)
It is a wild time in Silicon Valley. Two-year-old companies are valued in the billions, ramshackle homes are worth millions and hubris has reached the point where otherwise sane businesspeople muse about seceding from the United States. But the tech industry’s venture capitalists — the financiers who bet on companies when they are little more than an idea — are going out of their way to avoid the one word that could describe what is happening around them. Bubble. “I guess it is a scary word because in some sense no one wants it to stop,” said Tomasz Tunguz, a partner at Redpoint Ventures. “And so if you utter it, do you pop it?”
Rich Upper East Side moms panicking over tell-all book (NYP, earlier)
Martin’s book delves into the intense world of glamorous stay-at-home moms married to Manhattan’s rich, powerful ‘masters of the universe.’ It includes details of sex segregation, alcohol and drug abuse, wild displays of competition, extreme pampering of children, social jockeying, plus women who are given bonuses by their husbands — the so-called ‘annual wife bonus’ based on how well she manages their kids and the home. And then there’s details of one of Madison Avenue’s most popular spots, the AA meeting held in the church between Ralph Lauren and Prada.
U.S. Bank Shares Regain Popularity (WSJ)
Investors say several factors are at work. Chiefly, many are growing more confident that U.S. growth will pick up in the second half of the year following a soft start to 2015, buoying long-term interest rates. Stronger growth and rising rates would boost banks’ earnings by allowing them to widen the spread between the interest they charge on loans and what they pay for deposits. Other portfolio managers say that even without a rate increase, valuations on banks are low, given improving loan growth and rosy credit trends. Banks have also largely put behind them a series of large penalties and legal troubles over mortgage securities, interest-rate rigging and other issues.
African Economies to Grow 4.5% on Average in 2015 (WSJ)
While the trend indicates African economies will return to closely tracking emerging Asian ones as the world’s fastest-growing regions, progress is patchy and precarious, the report noted.
Basel group faces challenge of ensuring banking rules compliance (FT)
“We don’t have sanctioning authority, we can’t assess fines or penalties, but we’ve got peer pressure and public disclosure which are actually quite effective,” says William Coen, the America-born head of the Basel Committee’s secretariat.
Slidell cop chases down 'student driver' going 110 mph in Mississippi (Nola)
An off-duty Slidell Police detective got quite the surprise when a car labeled "student driver" whizzed past him at more than 110 mph in Bay St. Louis, Miss., on Sunday authorities said. The driver was no student, but a drunken 27-year-old man who had stolen the car from Pearl River Central High School north of Picayune, Miss., the Slidell Police Department said. Kevin Hernandez is facing "a slew of charges" in Mississippi, the department said in a post on its Facebook page. Detective Charles Esque was driving on Hwy. 603 when the car – labeled "Pearl River Central Student Driver" – roared past him, the police department said. Esque called 911 and began chasing the vehicle...Police said Hernandez was drunk and decided to steal the vehicle and go for a joyride.