Ellen Brown is an American author, political candidate, attorney, public speaker, and advocate of alternative medicine and financial reform, most prominently public banking.
Brown is the founder and president of the Public Banking Institute, a nonpartisan think tank devoted to the creation of publicly run banks. She is also the president of Third Millennium Press, and is the author of twelve books, including Web of Debt and The Public Bank Solution, as well as over 200 published articles.
She has appeared on cable and network television, radio, and internet podcasts, including a discussion on the Fox Business Network concerning student loan debt with the Cato Institute‘s Neil McCluskey, a feature story on derivatives and debt on the Russian network RT, and the Thom Hartmann Show’s “Conversations with Great Minds.”
IRS Hunts Belize Accounts, Issues John Doe Summons To Citibank, BofA
A federal judge issued an order allowing the IRS to serve a John Doe summons to reveal Americans with offshore accounts in Belize. Targets are Belize Bank International Limited (BBIL) and Belize Bank Limited (BBL). The IRS wants to know who has accounts at BBIL, BBL, and others. But the order entitles the IRS to get records of correspondent accounts at Bank of America and Citibank.
BBL, BBIL, and Belize Corporate Services (BCS)–which sells off the shelf companies–are based in Belize. But the John Doe summonses direct Citibank and BofA to produce records identifying U.S. taxpayers with accounts at BBL, BBIL, and affiliates, including correspondent accounts to service U.S. clients. Transactions in correspondent accounts leave trails the IRS can follow. The IRS obtains records of money deposited, paid out through checks, and moved through the correspondent account through wire transfers.
The IRS already knows about these entities from the IRS offshore disclosure program, OVDP. And now the IRS can ferret out depositors who didn’t step forward. It shows the push me pull you of the many ways the government has of gaining secret bank records. Whistleblowers, cooperating witnesses, the OVDP treasure trove of data and more. A John Doe summons to UBS AG produced records on the now defunct Swiss bank Wegelin & Co.’s correspondent account at UBS.
A John Doe summons to Wells Fargo sought records of the Barbados-based Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce FirstCaribbean International Bank. The government has it down to a science. Remember, coupled with a key whistleblower, in 2008, a John Doe summons blew the lid off the hushed world of Swiss banking. A judge allowed the IRS to issue a John Doe summons to UBS for information about U.S. taxpayers using Swiss accounts. That eventually led to Americans scrambling for cover and UBS forking over names and a $780 million penalty.
Halcon Resources Corp. almost ran into trouble with its banks in June 2013. And again in March 2014. And in February 2015.
Each time, the shale driller came close to violating debt limits set by its lenders, endangering a credit line that provided as much as $1.05 billion in much-needed cash. Each time, Halcon’s banks, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., loosened their restrictions, allowing Halcon to keep borrowing.
That kind of patience may be coming to an end. Bank regulators have issued warnings on the risks involved in lending to U.S. drillers, threatening a cash crunch in an industry that’s more dependent than ever on other people’s money. Wall Street has been one of the biggest allies of the shale revolution, bankrolling thousands of wells from Texas to North Dakota. The question is how that will change with oil prices down by half since last year to $50.36 a barrel.
“Lenders in general are increasing pressure on oil companies either to raise more equity or do some sort of transaction to pay down their credit lines and free up extra cash,” said Jimmy Vallee, a partner in the energy mergers and acquisitions practice at law firm Paul Hastings LLP in Houston.
Banks are already preparing for the next re-evaluation of oil and gas credit lines, reviews which typically take place twice a year in April and October. The loans are based on the value of drillers’ producing reserves, which has shrunk as oil prices fell. Many companies are also losing protection as hedges that locked in prices as high as $90 a barrel begin to expire.
“There’s another redetermination cycle in the fall,” Marianne Lake, chief financial officer at JPMorgan in New York, said July 14 during a conference call to discuss the company’s earnings. “And I’m not going to say likely but it’s possible we’ll be selectively downgrading some clients.”
Banks so far have been willing to keep the money flowing because drillers that come close to maxing out their credit lines have paid them off by tapping public markets. U.S. producers have raised about $44 billion through bonds and share sales in the first half of this year, the most since 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and UBS Group AG.
Now the appetite for that debt is dwindling. Bonds have become more expensive and are laden with more onerous terms, including liens against drillers’ oil and gas assets. The average coupon has increased to 6.84 percent in 2015 from 6.36 percent in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Some of the bonds issued this year are already trading at levels indicating financial distress, including $1.25 billion issued last month by SandRidge Energy Inc. More than $22 billion out of the $235 billion in debt owed by the 62 companies in the Bloomberg North America Independent Explorers and Producers index is trading at distressed levels. Their yields are more than 10 percentage points above U.S. Treasuries, as investors demand higher rates to compensate for the risk they won’t be repaid.
Halcon swapped some of its debt for shares this year to help reduce borrowing costs, leaving some bondholders with stock that was worth less than they were owed. The company also issued a $700 million second-lien bond in May.
In the event of a Halcon default, Standard & Poor’s estimates that unsecured bondholders would get, at most, 10 percent of the almost $2.6 billion they are owed. Banks have first dibs on most of the company’s assets. Other investors will get next to nothing. Even so, banks aren’t eager to take over drilling the oilfields themselves.
“They certainly don’t want to push anybody over the edge because the last thing the banks want to do is to try to run a company,” said Robert Gray, a partner at law firm Mayer Brown LLP who has worked on company restructuring.
Banks are under pressure from regulators to more frequently review their energy lending and cut back credit lines as the value of collateral drops. In April, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency flagged oil and gas loans as one of the lending industry’s biggest emerging risks.
Wells Fargo saw a $416 million increase in past-due loans in the second quarter, most of them energy-related, the company said in a July 14 presentation. The impact is “relatively immaterial,” CFO John Shrewsberry said.
JPMorgan set aside $140 million to cover potential losses on oil and gas loans, Lake, the CFO, said during the bank’s conference call.
“For the weaker companies, it could be very, very painful,” Vallee, the partner at Paul Hastings, said of the potential downgrades. “Some of them are essentially running on fumes.”
The world wide Bank Fraud and what a Canadian lawsuit is challenging.
The Exchange with Amanda Lang & Rocco Galati – One of the country’s leading lawyers:
From CBC News
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Russian Roulette: Taxpayers could be on the hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives
The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia.
The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and depositors and taxpayers could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act signed into law on December 16th.
On December 11th, Senator Elizabeth Warren charged Citigroup with “holding government funding hostage to ram through its government bailout provision.” At issue was a section in the omnibus budget bill repealing the Lincoln Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, which protected depositor funds by requiring the largest banks to push out a portion of their derivatives business into non-FDIC-insured subsidiaries.
Continue reading report here: Russian Roulette with Taxpayers Money
Watch the following interview explaining the details about The Confiscation of Bank Deposits & the Derivatives Debt
On December 11, 2014, the US House passed a bill repealing the Dodd-Frank requirement that risky derivatives be pushed into big-bank subsidiaries, leaving our deposits and pensions exposed to massive derivatives losses.
The bill was vigorously challenged by Senator Elizabeth Warren; but the tide turned when Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, stepped into the ring. Perhaps what prompted his intervention was the unanticipated $40 drop in the price of oil. As financial blogger Michael Snyder points out, that drop could trigger a derivatives payout that could bankrupt the biggest banks. And if the G20’s new “bail-in” rules are formalized, depositors and pensioners could be on the hook.
The new bail-in rules were discussed in my last post. They are edicts of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an unelected body of central bankers and finance ministers headquartered in the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. Where did the FSB get these sweeping powers, and is its mandate legally enforceable?
Those questions were addressed in an article I wrote in June 2009, two months after the FSB was formed, titled “Big Brother in Basel: BIS Financial Stability Board Undermines National Sovereignty.” It linked the strange boot shape of the BIS to a line from Orwell’s 1984: “a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” The concerns raised there seem to be materializing, so I’m republishing the bulk of that article. We need to be paying attention, lest the bail-in juggernaut steamroll over us unchallenged…
Continue reading from original source here: The Global Bankers Coup: Bail-In and the FSB
Credit ratings agencies’ frequent warnings regarding bail-ins in recent months have largely been ignored.
“Europe’s banks are vulnerable in 2015 due to weak macroeconomic conditions, unfinished regulatory hurdles and the risk of bail-ins” according to credit rating agencies.
In March of this year, credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) warned that the move towards “bail-ins” and away from “bailouts” continues to evolve and pose risks to European banks and their credit ratings.
Bank of England plans to make bondholders and depositors bear the cost of bailing out failing banks, led Moody’s to downgrade its outlook on the UK banking sector this August. The rating agency said that it had changed its outlook for the UK financial system from “stable” to “negative”, citing the developing global “bail in regime” of creditor and depositor bail-in.
Moody’s have warned of bail-ins numerous times in recent months. In June of this year, Moody’s cut the outlook for Canadian bank debt to negative over the new ‘bail-in’ regime.
Depositors in some Cyprus banks saw 50% or more of their life savings confiscated overnight.
The truth is that banks in most western nations are vulnerable to bail-ins in 2015 and the recent G20 meeting in Brisbane was a further move towards the stealth bail-in regimes.
Continue reading here: European Banks At Risk Of Bail-Ins In 2015 – Moody’s and S&P Warn.
“If you have an unreported foreign account, time is quickly running out to comply. There are amnesty options available but only for those who act quickly. Do nothing and you could face penalties of 50% of the historical high balance of the account.”
The U.S. Treasury Department has confirmed that Hong Kong has signed an agreement to report certain financial account information directly to the IRS. Under the 2010 FATCA law (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), foreign banks must review their accounts and report any accounts with ties to the United States. Banks that fail to comply are subject to high withholding taxes and may find it difficult to continue to do business in global markets.
Over 40 countries have signed formal FATCA agreements with dozens more under negotiation. Hong Kong’s agreement, however, is a bit unusual. Most countries have crafted agreements that require the financial institution to report information to that institution’s domestic tax authority, which in turn sends it to the IRS. Many foreign countries are reluctant to have banks providing information directly to the United States.
Hong Kong has elected to join Bermuda, Austria, Japan, Switzerland and Chile as the countries that will require their banks to report directly to the IRS…
For the first time in 170 years, the British Parliament is going to debate how money is created.
The debate will be broadcast live on Thursday, November 20th starting between 12.30 & 1.00PM GMT, or 07.30 EST on the Parliament TV Channel; Link to the UK Parliament Channel
From Bill Still, director, narrator, and producer of the documentary films The Money Masters and The Secret of Oz, both of which critique the system of monetary control by the U.S. Federal Reserve System.
Rethinking a GOLD allocation !?
Several global banks have begun charging large customers to deposit their money in euros, a rare move that could have costly implications for investors and companies that do business on the Continent.
The actions are driven by policies from the European Central Bank, which in June became the largest central bank to impose a negative interest rate on deposits–meaning banks are paying to park their money with the ECB. The effort is designed to encourage banks to instead use that money to lend. When the ECB dropped those rates further in September, some banks started pushing those costs–or costs related to the rate cuts–onto customers.
Now, instead of paying customers interest on their euro accounts as they have done traditionally, some banks have started charging them. Bank of New York Mellon Corp. recently started charging 0.2% on euro deposits, the bank said Friday, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. have also started charging clients, according to people familiar with the matter.
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse Group AG has told customers it will pass along negative interest rates on all currencies in which they apply, people familiar with the matter said, and has started charging on euro deposits.
The reversal is the most sweeping of its kind that many bankers and their clients say they can recall. The clients most immediately affected are investment firms, such as hedge funds and mutual-fund companies. Multinational corporations with sizable operations in Europe could also face additional costs, according to people familiar with the matter.
HSBC Holdings PLC will soon start charging customers with more than roughly 10 million euros in deposits, according to a person familiar with the matter. The move is intended to discourage a flood of deposits from institutional investors fleeing competitors that have already started levying charges on euro deposits, the person said. An HSBC spokesman said Friday the bank was “monitoring the situation.”
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