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Mar 8, 2015

Bloomberg News - March 8, 2015: Leaked List Shows HSBC’s Swiss Arm Helped Putin Allies, Drug Lords and Fugitives Hide

Leaked List Shows HSBC’s Swiss Arm Helped Putin Allies, Drug Lords and Fugitives Hide

(Bloomberg) -- The private-banking unit of HSBC Holdings Plc made significant profits for years handling secret accounts whose holders included drug cartels, arms dealers, tax evaders and fugitive diamond merchants, according to a report released Sunday by an international news organization.
HSBC is among a handful of banks to face criminal prosecution in recent years for its role in a Swiss banking system that allowed depositors to conceal their identities, and in many cases dodge taxes or launder ill-gotten cash. The report, prepared by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, revealed for the first time the massive sweep of HSBC’s private-banking arm as of 2007, when it controlled $100 billion in assets and served a swath of wealthy depositors from the elite to the illicit.

HSBC shares fell 2.2 percent to 607.10 pence at 2:23 p.m. in London, giving the bank a market value of 117 billion pounds ($178 billion).
The report is based on a list of HSBC clients from around that time that a onetime employee took from the bank and turned over to European officials, sparking tax investigations from Argentina to France, Belgium and Greece. While some of the list’s names have emerged before, Sunday’s report drew from a more comprehensive list of accounts associated with more than 100,000 people and legal entities from more than 200 nations, ranging from the legitimate to the illicit.
“These revelations confirm that banking secrecy has been used to avoid taxation,” Vanessa Mock, a European Union spokeswoman for tax affairs, said Monday.

‘Radical Transformation’

Depositors included royal families and convicted cocaine dealers, ambassadors and terror suspects, entertainers and elected officials, corporate executives and athletes. To these and other clients, the bank actively promoted its accounts as an efficient way to hide assets from tax collectors, according to the report.
HSBC, in a written response to the report, said its compliance efforts had been insufficient. It pointed out that the bank had undergone “a radical transformation” since 2007 and now enforced far more stringent reporting requirements.
Stephen Green, former chief executive officer and chairman of HSBC, told the BBC he won’t comment on the bank.
“HSBC has initiated numerous initiatives designed to ensure that its banking services are not used to evade taxes or launder money,” according to the statement. London-based HSBC operates in more than 70 countries and has a private-banking unit located in Geneva.

Putin Ties

The report said the bank held deposits for controversial figures such as the political operative for the late Haitian President Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who was accused of embezzling hundreds of millions before fleeing his country, as well as fugitives like diamond dealers Mozes Victor Konig and Kenneth Lee Akselrod, whose names appear on the wanted list run by Interpol, the international police agency.
Other depositors have appeared on U.S. sanction lists, including Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire whose close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin put him in the U.S.’s sights after Russia annexed Crimea. Anton Kurevin, a spokesman for Timchenko’s Volga Group, declined to comment.
Disclosures about HSBC’s clients are the latest blow to the Swiss private banking system, which once offered near-impenetrable privacy to depositors. Most countries don’t forbid citizens from holding offshore accounts, and many are used for legitimate purposes. Among many entertainers who held accounts, according to the report, was rock star David Bowie, a Swiss citizen. It didn’t accuse him of wrongdoing. A spokesman for Bowie didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment.

Diplomatic Pressure

Koos Jansen: How the world is being fooled about Chinese gold demand: GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH - March 8, 2015.

Koos Jansen: How the world is being fooled about Chinese gold demand

Submitted by cpowell on  Sunday, March 8, 2015. 
 Sunday, March 8, 2015

The World Gold Council is knowingly underreporting gold demand in China, apparently to facilitate redistribution of the world's gold in anticipation of a resetting of the international currency system, Bullion Star market analyst and GATA consultant Koos Jansen writes today. His commentary is headlined "How the World Is Being Fooled About Chinese Gold Demand" and it's posted at Bullion Star here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

WP Today's Headlines - March 8, 2015: Top stories | Politics | Business | Technology | |Lifestyle.

Utilities strive to fetter solar industry’s growth
Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels.  Read full article »

In campaign against terrorism, U.S. enters period of pessimism and gloom
U.S. counterterrorism officials and experts, never known for their sunny dispositions, have entered a period of particular gloom.In congressional testimony recently, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. went beyond the usual litany of threats to say that terrorism trend lines were worse “than at any other point in history.”  Read full article »
‘The march is not yet over,’ Obama tells crowd at foot of Selma bridge
SELMA, Ala. — President Obama returned to this small city where civil rights protestors endured brutal beatings 50 years earlier and sought to recast their decades-old bravery as the highest form of patriotism: one that confronted the nation’s flaws and sought to change them.  Read full article »

A mostly white voter wave is reshaping politics in D.C.
A surge of young, mainly white voters living in newly affluent neighborhoods emerged as a powerful force in last November’s elections in the District, a seismic shift that mirrors the evolution of the city’s population and could reshape its politics in years to come.  Read full article »
MH370 report: Underwater locator beacon battery had expired
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The first comprehensive report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 revealed Sunday that the battery of the locator beacon for the plane’s data recorder had expired more than a year before the plane vanished on March 8, 2014.  Read full article »
Iowa agriculture summit splits GOP 2016 field on subsidies, immigration
DES MOINES — A day-long forum on agriculture here, where likely Republican presidential candidates courted Iowa’s farming industry, revealed sharp policy differences among the contenders, from immigration to energy subsidies.   Read full article »
Protests held after black man is fatally shot by police officer in Wisconsin
An unarmed 19-year-old black man was fatally shot Friday night by a white police officer in Madison, Wis., touching off protests and chants of “Black lives matter” that continued into Saturday.The police chief on Saturday called the incident a “perverse perfect storm” of details that for some appeared to fit the national narrative of officer-involved deaths of black men.  Read full article »
‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’: Too good for NBC, but still not that great
Not too many moons ago, a television story like this would have required smelling salts to revive all the showbiz industry reporters who had passed out from the news: A creator/performer of Tina Fey’s talent and buzzworthiness announces that she’s moving her finished, warmly anticipated midseason NBC comedy series to a different network, one that viewers can access only through a subscription fee and broadband connection. On top of that, NBC, with which Fey has been happily allied her entire career, has agreed to (and apparently helped arrange) this sudden departure.   Read full article »
Some parents across the country are revolting against standardized testing
A growing number of parents are refusing to let their children take standardized tests this year, arguing that civil disobedience is the best way to change what they say is a destructive overemphasis on tests in the nation’s public schools.   Read full article »
5 myths about daylight saving time
1. Daylight saving time was meant to help farmers.Many of us heard, at some point in elementary school, that DST was developed because of farming. The idea that more daylight means more time in the field for farmers continues to get airtime on the occasional local news report and in state legislatures — “Farmers wanted it because it extends hours of working in the field,” Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn offered after filing a bill that would abolish DST. Even Michael Downing, who wrote a book about DST, has said that before researching the subject, “I always thought we did it for the farmers.”  Read full article »
The Washington Post. The all-new app is now on the Fire tablet.

The Telegraph Front Page - March 8, 2015: Extremism in Britain: Now the crackdown is launched

The Telegraph
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Extremism in Britain: Now the crackdown is launched
News Ministers are planning a raft of new measures to help stem the tide of Islamic extremism and radicalisation - Read more »
Teenager brutally raped as she waited for a bus - Read more »

Four killed in crash horror on mountain 'racing road' - Read more »

Two mummified bodies found of climbers who disappeared 55 years ago -Read more »

Immigration: 576% rise in poorest Europeans registering for work - Read more »

NYT | Today's Headlines - March 8, 2015: Top News | Editors' Picks | Today's Videos | World | U.S.| Politics | Business | Technology Sports | Arts.

The New York Times

Today's Headlines

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Top News
President Obama and Representative John Lewis led thousands in a commemorative march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, 'We Know the March Is Not Yet Over'


In an address on the spot of what became known as "BloodySunday" in Alabama 50 years ago, President Obama rejected the notion that race relations had not improved since then.
Protesters on Thursday outside the police building and municipal court in Pine Lawn, Mo., a few miles southeast of Ferguson.
Ferguson Became Symbol, but Bias Knows No Border


Ferguson is unusual in some respects, but the unfairness in its court system that a Justice Department report highlighted is not limited to the city, to St. Louis County or even to Missouri.
Portraits of President Xi Jinping are common, as are songs celebrating him as a friend of workers and an enemy of corruption.
Move Over Mao: Beloved 'Papa Xi' Awes China


Not since Mao Zedong dominated the nation with his masterly blend of populism, fervor and fear has a Chinese leader commanded as much public awe as President Xi Jinping.
For more top news, go to »
Editors' Picks


For Some in Transgender Community, It's Never Too Late to Make a Change


Some late transitioners grew up in an era of rigid gender stereotypes, which they have internalized and been oppressed by.


Revisiting Selma
Recollections from those who took part in the march for freedom.
. Video  Op-Doc: A Call From Selma


"People are actually getting mad that everybody thinks it's Ferguson, Ferguson, Ferguson. They pull over a lot of black people, yeah, but they're not the worst, I'll tell you that."
ANTONIO MORGAN, 29, the owner of a car repair business, on the pervasiveness of abusive policing in his community.
Today's Videos
Video VIDEO: Gay Talese: Legacy of Selma
Gay Talese reflects on how events in Selma, Ala., affected race relations in the United States.
Video VIDEO: Heartbreak in Gaza
In Gaza, Nicholas Kristof finds the place still in ruins after last year's war with Israel.


Bill Cunningham | A Breath of Fresh Air


Young members of the experimental art world and the unorthodox fashion world staged shows filled with new expressions and an audience to match.
For more video, go to »
African Training Exercise Turns Urgent as Threats Grow


New ties between Boko Haram and the Islamic State have reinforced American and European concerns that have led to the training of African troops.
Mourners on Saturday at the site where the Russian opposition figure Boris Y. Nemtsov was shot and killed in February in Moscow.
2 Suspects Are Detained in Killing of Kremlin Critic


The director of Russia's Federal Security Service named two men as suspects in the brazen shooting of the opposition leader Boris Y. Nemtsov in Moscow on Feb. 27, but questions remained over who orchestrated the killing.
Mohammad Ali resting while preparing soil for a potato crop near his family home outside the town of Bamian in Afghanistan. He carries a pistol for protection.
Back in Afghanistan, Modern Romeo and Juliet Face Grave Risks


Zakia and Mohammad Ali had faced criminal charges and death threats after eloping and fleeing their village in the high mountains of central Afghanistan last year.
For more world news, go to »
Katrina Wilson-Davis, the former principal, outside the defunct Liberty City Charter School.
Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush's Résumé


The Liberty City Charter School, the first of its kind in Florida and a pioneer in what became a national movement, is now defunct.
Cecil Clayton, who is on Missouri's death row, suffered a serious brain injury in a sawmill accident in 1972.
Lawyers Seek Reprieve for Killer Who Lost Part of His Brain Decades Earlier


Lawyers for Cecil Clayton, who lost 7.7 percent of his brain in a sawmill accident, say his life should be spared because he cannot grasp the significance of his death sentence.
Rachel Silverstein, the executive director of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, measures and photographs coral at the Port of Miami.
Despite Protections, Miami Port Project Smothers Coral Reef in Silt


A multimillion-dollar project to expand a shipping channel at the Port of Miami has produced tons of sediment, suffocating large numbers of staghorn coral, an endangered species.
For more U.S. news, go to »
Obama Says He Didn't Know Hillary Clinton Was Using Private Email Address


The president said he did not know until last week that Hillary Rodham Clinton was using private email while secretary of state, but said he was pleased that she was releasing the emails to be archived.
Jeb Bush at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit on Saturday in Des Moines.
In Iowa, Jeb Bush Risks Support With Unpopular Stances


In his debut in the state as a likely presidential candidate, Mr. Bush did not back off his support of Common Core and immigration overhaul.
A Kentucky state law prohibits candidates from appearing twice on the same ballot, which would impede Senator Rand Paul's intentions to run for re-election while pursuing the Republican nomination for president.
Kentucky Primary Change Would Allow Rand Paul to Run While Keeping Senate Seat


The state Republican Party leadership agreed to switch to a caucus so that Mr. Paul would not break a law prohibiting a candidate from appearing twice on a ballot.
For more political news, go to »
McDonald's Seeks Its Fast-Food Soul


A new chief executive took over last week, inheriting a weakened company that is under pressure to be both cheap and high-quality.
The beach in front of the Aldemar Olympian Village resort near Pyrgos, Greece. The government is proposing a measure to enlist
Greece Proposes Using Tourists as Tax Spies to Fill Shortfall


Athens is coming up with radical ways to fill its shortfall as it nears a deadline to meet financial obligations, including wiring tourists, students and housekeepers to catch tax evaders.
A beachfront pyramid from Heineken, which was a sponsor of the Scope Art Show in Miami in December.
The Brands in Art Basel's Orbit


Luxury companies want to be part of the global fair not only because it draws the 1 percent, but also because visual artists "represent the intersection of intellectual activity and money," one expert says.
For more business news, go to »
Jeffrey Hammerbacher now leads a team that uses quantitative skills to improve medical treatments. His move from the start-up world was inspired by his own health crisis.
On the Case at Mount Sinai, It's Dr. Data


Jeffrey Hammerbacher, who started Facebook's data science team, now uses his skills to improve medical treatments, a switch inspired by his own health crisis.


Here's What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen as Official


With information technology poised to transform degrees, students will be able to acquire credentials at a fraction of today's costs.
For more technology news, go to »
Willie Cauley-Stein, who had 8 points and 7 rebounds, said on Friday,


Kentucky Finishes 31-0, but That's Just a Warm-Up for the Ultimate Run


The Wildcats defeated Florida to finish their regular season undefeated. Now comes the hard part: college basketball's postseason.
Baylor has declared Silas Nacita ineligible because of rules violations.
Tangled Case of a Baylor Football Player Poses a Test for the Rules of Eligibility


There remain more questions than answers about a Baylor football player being declared ineligible, and about the procedure by which college students are barred from playing sports.
For Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim it may have been the last conference game for nearly a year because of N.C.A.A. sanctions.


After Syracuse Is Stripped of Wins, Jim Boeheim Is Unable to Gain Another


After his team lost its final game of the season, Coach Jim Boeheim did not attend the postgame news conference to address the N.C.A.A. sanctions imposed on his team Friday.
For more sports news, go to »