Banks Expected to Settle FX Probes for Billions (WSJ)
U.S. prosecutors are preparing to announce separate settlements simultaneously with Citigroup Inc., Barclays PLC, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, these people said. The banks are expected to plead guilty to criminal antitrust charges for alleged collusion by traders in foreign-currency markets. UBS AG, which was the first bank to step forward and cooperate with federal investigators in their probe, also is expected to reach a settlement but will receive immunity from prosecution, these people said.
SEC Wins With In-House Judges (WSJ)
An analysis by The Wall Street Journal of hundreds of decisions shows how much of a home-court advantage the SEC enjoys when it sends cases to its own judges rather than federal courts. That is a practice the agency increasingly follows, the Journal has found. The SEC won against 90% of defendants before its own judges in contested cases from October 2010 through March of this year, according to the Journal analysis. That was markedly higher than the 69% success the agency obtained against defendants in federal court over the same period, based on SEC data.
How to Quit Banking and Open One of America’s Top New Restaurants (Bloomberg)
Santiago Perez, 30, and Santiago Gomez, 29, were high school friends growing up in Mexico City with similar names and shared dreams — each wanted to be an investment banker. And they succeeded, advising clients at UBS (often on restaurant/hospitality acquisitions), first in Mexico, then, together again, in London. It was only in New York that they realized their true passion was for food. A plan was hatched to create a Mexican restaurant in NYC alongside their banking careers. (It seemed like a good idea to keep their day jobs.) In the end, the two Santiagos realized it had to be one or the other, and they left UBS to create Cosme, one of the most widely noted restaurant openings in America in 2014.
Bernanke Inc.: Lucrative Life of a Former Fed Chairman (Bloomberg)
First there are speaking fees, which bring in at least $200,000 per engagement, according to a person who hired Bernanke. Then there are new advisory roles at Pacific Investment Management Co., the big bond house; and Citadel, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Executive recruiters say each is probably worth more than $1 million a year. Finally, there’s a book deal, details of which haven’t been made public. Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan, reportedly landed an $8.5 million contract for his memoir in 2006. Bernanke -- who has a day job as a distinguished fellow in residence at the Brookings Institution -- used the same Washington lawyer, Robert Barnett, to negotiate his deal.
Naked Man Threatens Neighbors With AK-47, Cops Say (HP)
Police arrested a man who allegedly admitted to intimidating and irritating his neighbor by sitting outdoors in the nude and warning that he possessed an AK-47 rifle. After getting a complaint from John Ault, the distressed neighbor on Saturday, police in Mooresville, North Carolina, found Brian Tracy Carroll to be unashamed and unrepentant...Carroll refused to cover himself even though the only thing he wore was a towel around his neck, officer said. When Rowan County deputies told Carroll that children and other neighbors could see him, he replied that he didn't care, The Salisbury Post reported. He freely admitted to trying to get under his neighbor's skin and laughed when he confirmed that he'd threatened Ault by saying he had an AK-47 and "knew how to use it," according to UpRoxx. The neighbors have been locked in an ongoing dispute, Carroll said.
Mogul Dan Loeb unloads on Warren Buffett (NYP)
Hedge fund mogul Dan Loeb let loose on the Oracle of Omaha in a room full of financiers Wednesday, calling the beloved investor an all-seeing hypocrite for his views on everything from hedge funds to taxes. “I love reading Warren Buffett’s letters,” Loeb said in a Q&A with Anthony Scaramucci from the stage of the SALT Conference here. “I love how he criticizes hedge funds, yet he had the first hedge fund. I love that he criticizes activists, yet he was an activist,” said Loeb, letting his inner bad boy rip. “He criticizes financial services companies, yet he invests in them. He thinks we should all pay more taxes but loves to avoid them.”
E.C.B. Doubts Add to Uncertainties on Greek Debt Lifeline (NYT)
A majority of the members of the European Central Bank’s influential Governing Council are increasingly uncomfortable with the central bank’s growing financial exposure to Greece, according to people with knowledge of the group’s discussions. Members worry that the council has already stretched rules to extend additional help to the banks, whose financial health has been in serious decline because of Greece’s deep economic downturn.
With Imports Banned, Russian Cheese Fills the Need for Brie (Dealbook)
Financial firms have been ravaged by Western sanctions, which limit banks’ borrowing in the foreign markets to short-term loans. Oil giants are facing the additional headwind of low oil prices. And consumer-oriented businesses, like retailers, are suffering from the general economic malaise. But cheese makers and other agricultural producers are thriving. Even as the Russian economy is shrinking over all, cheese and curd production by volume was up 16 percent in the first quarter compared to a year earlier, according to the federal state statistical agency. Their success largely comes at the expense of European players that have been heavily dependent on Russian agriculture exports like Finnish dairy producers. “Any established food processor should be in a rather supportive position right now because of sanctions,” said Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS Financial Group in Moscow.
Lagarde calls for bankers’ pay shake-up (FT)
Banks need to shake up bonus-heavy pay structures and attack corporate cultures that encourage excessive short-term risk-taking, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday. Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, said much had been done on the regulatory front since the 2008 global financial crisis to crack down on banks and bankers and avoid a repeat of the turmoil. But she warned, in a Washington speech , that risks to financial stability were still elevated and the “culture” of the financial sector was at least partly to blame.
Cops: Parents Used Pot As "Bargaining Tool" (TSG)
A Florida couple used marijuana as a “bargaining tool” to get their teenage daughters--ages 13 and 14--to perform household chores and excel in school, police allege...Chad Mudd, 36, has also been charged with providing the girls with cocaine, which he allegedly snorted with them earlier this year while the trio was inside his truck. According to arrest affidavits, Joey Mudd, 34, admitted to smoking pot with her children on five occasions, and referred to the provision of the drug “as a form of a ‘bargaining tool.’”