Fund Lawyer Who Worked With Goldman Holds 1MDB Clues, U.S. Says (Bloomberg)
She was the general counsel for Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund. She was also 1MDB’s liaison to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the global bank that helped it raise $6 billion. After one of the big sales led by Goldman Sachs, $5 million of the cash raised for 1MDB traveled through shell companies and ended up in her Swiss bank account, the U.S. said in complaints filed last week. The U.S. government refers to the official only as “1MDB Officer 3.” According to people familiar with the matter, she is Jasmine Loo Ai Swan -- a Malaysian who studied law in the U.K. and worked for a Malaysian developer and an oil firm before joining 1MDB...While the amount is modest compared with others in the sweeping multiyear scheme, the alleged $5 million transfer is notable. The recipient was not only a lawyer and the fund’s point person with Goldman Sachs, but is also the only person at 1MDB whom the Justice Department singled out as having received a payment. That money transfer, the U.S. government says, was one of dozens of illicit payments in a scheme controlled by a Malaysian man that ultimately drained as much as $3.5 billion from the fund, formally known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Fed leaves markets guessing on rate hike timing, but December looks possible (CNBC)
"They upgraded the economy a little bit, which they should have because the data is better. They maintain that they're monitoring global economic and financial conditions. They didn't hint at September at all. I think that gets everyone focused on Jackson Hole to see what's next," said John Canally, market strategist and economist at LPL Financial. The Fed's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Aug. 26 is seen as the next chance for it to deliver a message about policy. The central bank's chair, Janet Yellen, is scheduled to speak and Fed chairs have been known to make important policy comments at that gathering of U.S. and international bankers.
Capitalism can’t thrive on near-zero rates, Bill Gross says (CNBC)
Near-zero interest rates aren't good for the economy in the long run, bond guru Bill Gross said Wednesday. That's because low rates hinder the ability of savers to earn a return on their money, and that impedes investment, he said. "Capitalism can't really thrive," the manager of the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch." "Ultimately in terms of real economic growth, an economy needs certainly a positive interest rate and maybe even a close to positive real interest rate in order to function normally," he said.
George Soros returns to politics with $25 million splash: Report (CNBC)
Billionaire investor George Soros has re-emerged this election cycle as a major Democratic donor, committing more than $25 million to Hillary Clinton and other party candidates and causes, according to Politico. Soros spent roughly $27 million in a bid to unseat then-President George W. Bush in 2004 but later scaled back his giving, the website reported. Some associates of the Soros Fund Management chairman told Politico they expect him to give even more as Election Day approaches.
Prosecutors: $3 million lottery winner bought, sold meth (AP)
Court records show that Ronnie Music of Waycross pleaded guilty on July 22 to charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of firearms. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Music, who won $3 million in the Georgia lottery, used the money to buy methamphetamine to sell. Prosecutors say the case began when several people were caught trying to sell 11 pounds of methamphetamine worth $500,000. U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver said in a statement that Music tried to test his luck by using lottery winnings to deal drugs and now faces decades in prison because of his "unsound investment strategy."
Europe Decides Against Fines for Spain and Portugal (Dealbook)
European Union officials, facing the rise of populist movements across the region, opted against hitting Spain and Portugal with sanctions on Wednesday for breaking the bloc’s rules on government spending. The refusal to impose fines highlights how the 28-nation bloc is struggling with divergent strains of populist and anti-European forces across a region where one member state, Britain, has already voted to leave. The failure to issue penalties will also raise new questions about whether the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has the political will to enforce its own rules. Many economists have called on Brussels to ease the fiscal straitjacket, whereby countries face punishment if they run budget deficits beyond 3 percent of gross domestic product, to stimulate spending and to accelerate anemic economic growth across the region.
Post-Brexit, London’s Financial Center Has English Law on Its Side (WSJ)
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has sparked fears in the U.K. that competing financial centers, such as Frankfurt and Dublin, could siphon banks, funds and related industries away from London. The majority of international financial contracts, however, are written in English law and disputes are often settled in the country’s courts. This provides London’s financial district with a gravitational pull for financial companies. “The contracts will still be done under English law in an English court,” said Kamel Alzarka, chief executive of Falcon Group, a Dubai-based trade-finance company with a large presence in London. “I’m French. Who the hell’s gonna use French law for this?”
Facebook revenue jumps on blistering ad sales growth (Reuters)
Facebook Inc's (FB.O) quarterly revenue jumped 59.2 percent as its hugely popular mobile app attracted new advertisers and encouraged existing ones to spend more. The net income attributable to Facebook's stockholders rose to $2.05 billion, or 71 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $715 million, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $6.44 billion from $4.04 billion.
Cops: Sword Pulled In Pizza Roll Dispute (TSG)
According to a Norwalk Police Department report, Travis Vartorella “pulled a sword” on Trystan Mesenburg, 20, a former roommate who had returned to the residence to retrieve some of his belongings. Mesenburg told cops that after arriving at the darkened apartment with his girlfriend, they began gathering up his items. “As soon as I grabbed my bag of pizza rolls,” Mesenburg told cops, Vartorella “came out from around the corner” with a three-foot sword. With the weapon in his hands, Vartorella claimed ownership of the frozen treats and demanded that Mesenburg “leave his fucking pizza rolls alone” before things got stabby, police report. Mesenburg and his girlfriend fled the apartment and dialed 911. Responding officers noted that the couple was “visibly shaken” as they recounted their confrontation with Vartorella. Officers subsequently arrested Vartorella and seized four “edged weapons” from his bedroom closet, including a six-foot samurai sword, a machete, and the sword he was holding when he confronted Mesenburg.