Opening Bell: 12.22.16

Deutsche Bank's Trump conflicts; Goldman's 1MDB imbroglio; humanity's impending sex-robot doom; and more.
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Trump May Have a $300 Million Conflict of Interest With Deutsche Bank (BBG)

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The bank is trying to restructure some of Trump’s roughly $300 million debt as part of an attempt to reduce any conflict of interest between the loan and his presidency, according to a person familiar with the matter. Normally, the removal of a personal pledge might lead to more-stringent terms. But there is little normal about this interaction.

Wall Street Holiday Parties Are Back . . . But Don't Tell Anyone (Reuters)

Wall Street holiday parties this year took place in luxury venues like the Waldorf Astoria, featured women dressed as glowing angels, and had fine wine, scotch and bourbon on hand. But organizers of the soirées, conscious of tighter budgets and public scrutiny, are not eager to discuss the merriment.

Goldman Sachs Ties to Scandal-Plagued 1MDB Run Deep (WSJ)

On a yacht moored at Saint-Tropez, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak talked business with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince. Included in the horseshoe of chairs set up for the July 2013 gathering was a partner from Goldman Sachs. The bank earned its place through years of cultivating Mr. Najib and a state investment fund he founded. Goldman had raised $6.5 billion for the fund and earned nearly $600 million in fees. Mr. Najib lavished praise on Goldman, said people familiar with the meeting. “Do you see any other bankers on this boat?” one recalls him saying.

Jamie Dimon on Trump, Taxes, and a U.S. Renaissance (BBG)

“I think if you are going to be president, you should have the best people sitting around a table. I think it’s a mistake for the American public to constantly be told that if you work for an oil company or you work for a bank, that automatically makes you bad. I think a lot of these people are very qualified people who are patriots.”

Monte dei Paschi’s ear in Three (Grim) Charts (FT)

According to figures from the European Central Bank, Italy’s third largest lender suffered a €14bn rush of deposit outflows in the nine months from January to September this year – 11 per cent of its total deposits. This has pushed down the lender’s total deposits to dwindle to €65.3bn and led it to warn that it would fall below its required liquidity levels in under a month.

Bitcoin Is Surging (BI)

Bitcoin has behaved like a risk asset this year, with investors flocking to it in times of uncertainty. The price spiked around the Brexit referendum and Trump's shock election as US president. But it's unclear what exactly is driving the sharp price spike this week. Other risk assets aren't spiking in line — gold, the traditional safe-haven asset, has fallen steadily since the start of November.

Google Spies On Employees To Ensure Confidentiality: Suit (NYP)

Google operates an Orwellian and illegal “spying program” to keep employees from leaking company info, a product manager at the search giant claims in a lawsuit filed against the tech titan. The program, aimed at enforcing strict confidentiality agreements each employee signs when hired, prevents employees from anonymously contacting regulators as whistleblowers, the suit claims.

Sex Robots May Literally Fuck Us to Death (Gizmodo)

At the Second International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots (a real thing) Swiss researcher Oliver Bendel cautioned an audience of prospective robot-fuckers that “If the machine over-exerts the human, it reduces the possibility of human sex.”

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