Receiving Wide Coverage...
Calling Off the 'Whale' Hunt: At least in the U.K., the London Whale is off the hook. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said it will drop its investigation of Bruno Iksil, the Frenchman at the center of the fiasco in which JPMorgan Chase lost $6.2 billion on bad bets on derivatives. The Authority's internal panel of independent experts decided that it didn't have enough evidence to pursue a strong case. So, the Authority will end its three-year investigation, in which it had sought to bring a civil action against Iksil. The U.S. had dropped its investigation into Iksil in 2013. Iksil "remains a cooperating witness in ongoing U.S. criminal and civil proceedings," his lawyer said in a statement. The FCA is still investigation one former JPMorgan employee, Achilles Macris, who ran the London office of the bank's chief investment office and had oversight of the team where the disastrous trades took place.
Cyberattack Casualties: The final tally is in (final, at least for the time being) and the numbers are staggering: Hackers who breached U.S. government computers stole more than 21 million Social Security numbers, 1.1 million fingerprint records and 19.7 million forms with personal information like an individual's financial history or health history. The numbers, provided by the White House on Thursday, are far higher than initial estimates; U.S. Office of Personnel Management last month said that cyberattack had resulted in the theft of about 4.2 million personnel records. Phrased another way and the breadth of the cyberattack sounds even more ominous: "Every person given a government background check for the last 15 years was probably affected," the Times said. Making matters even worse, the hackers stole information not just from government employees and contractors, but also their family and friends and other people listed as references in job applications. As has been routine following cyberattacks on retailers like Target and Home Depot, the U.S. government offered free credit and identity theft monitoring for officials. The attacks are still believed to have originated in China, although officials won't say yet who the specific suspects are. A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy denied the country's involvement: "We hope relevant parties of the U.S. side can stop making unfounded and hypothetical accusations."
Wall Street Journal
Bankruptcy lawyers told a congressional subcommittee on Thursday that it's a good idea to provide bankruptcy judges with the power to transfer a struggling bank's assets to a more-stable owner in less than 48 hours. The proposal is part of the reintroduced Financial Institutional Bankruptcy Act and is intended to help avoid the next big bank failure, along the lines of Lehman Brothers. Some lawmakers are concerned about who would pay for the process of quickly transferring a bank to a new owner. But one bankruptcy lawyer said the availability of government money to provide for extra liquidity for the transferred bank's assets would make things run more smoothly. Other bankruptcy lawyers agreed and said that the proposal, along with already-approved requirements like living wills, should make it much less likely there will be a repeat of the Lehman Brothers failure.
The ballooning amount of cash held on corporate balance sheets is increasingly being stowed away at banks, according to the Association of Financial Professionals. About 56% of all corporate cash holdings now resides at banks, the largest share of cash holdings held at banks since the group began tracking the data in 2005.
When New York Mayor Bill de Blasio rejected JPMorgan Chase's request for tax benefits to keep some of its offices in Manhattan, New Jersey moved quickly. JPMorgan will shift more than 2,100 jobs from New York to Jersey City, N.J. The decision was made after New Jersey's Economic Development Authority offered a $190 million tax-subsidy proposal to JPMorgan.
Two Swiss banks, Banque Pasche and Privatbank, agreed to pay a combined $8.2 million to settle investigations by the U.S. Justice Department into helping U.S. citizens avoid paying taxes.
Buffalo News: Michael Whipple, a former M&T Bank lender, admitted to fraud in approving small-business loans. He'll pay $5.3 million in restitution to M&T and he'll be recommended for a prison term of up to 78 months when he's sentenced in October.
The Guardian: Antony Jenkins was in the process of reforming Barclays and his ouster is a signal that the old ways of banking have returned, Josh Ryan-Collins, a researcher at the New Economics Foundation, wrote in an op-ed column. Jenkins had promised to end the universal banking model at Barclays and to scale back some of the bank's riskier practices. But new CEO John McFarlane apparently thought Jenkins was being too tough on Barclays, and not focused enough on generating profits.
The National (Abu Dhabi): Even Buddhist monks in Tibet can't avoid the long arm of the law, when it comes to compliance with anti-money laundering laws. Karmapa Urgyen Trinley, who's seen as a possible successor to the Dalai Lama, is being prosecuted by Indian authorities for money laundering.