World View: Russia's Duma Blocking U.S. Adoptions of Russian Orphans

World View: Russia's Duma Blocking U.S. Adoptions of Russian Orphans

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Russia’s Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans
  • Dept. of Justice brings criminal charges against Swiss bank UBS
  • Deutsche Bank faces severe tax evasion charges in Germany

Russia’s Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans

The painting 'Orphanage - Nap Time' by Russian artist Vitaly Drozdov
The painting ‘Orphanage – Nap Time’ by Russian artist Vitaly Drozdov

Modern Russia has more orphans than any other country (678,000), evenmore than the Soviet Union had during World War II. Over the past 20years, U.S. citizens have adopted more than 60,000 of them. Some ofthe rest, especially those with mental or physical disabilities, arelocked into cribs with iron bars, forced to lie in their own feces andurine. 

Now the Duma has given preliminary approval to legislationbanning Americans from adopting Russian children. The ban is part ofa larger bill forbidding NGOs (non-government agencies) from operatingin Russia if they received U.S. funding and conduct politicalactivities. 

President Vladimir Putin has accused American-funded NGOsof interfering in Russia’s political process, as it became apparentthat Putin’s return to the Presidency occurred because of massivevoter fraud. The ban on adoptions is retaliation for Americanlegislation called the “Magnitsky Bill,” passed in response to analleged fraudulent scheme uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russianlawyer, who named names of numerous corrupt Russian tax and lawenforcement officials; he was then thrown into a Russian jail andleft to die.

Moscow Times and Bloomberg

Dept. of Justice brings criminal charges against Swiss bank UBS

U.S. prosecutors charged two former UBS AG traders on Wednesday withtaking part in a multi-year scheme to manipulate Libor interest fortheir own personal gain. UBS was fined $1.5 billion, and its Japanesesubsidiary pleaded guilty to criminal fraud. According to AttorneyGeneral Eric Holder: 

Today, the Justice Department is filing a criminalinformation charging UBS Securities Japan – a subsidiary of themultinational financial institution UBS AG – with felony wirefraud for engaging in a scheme to manipulate the London InterbankOffered Rate, or LIBOR – a key benchmark for financial productsand transactions around the world. The company has agreed toplead guilty to this charge, to admit to its criminal conduct, andto pay a $100 million fine. 

Additionally, in a separate complaint, two former UBS traders havebeen charged with conspiracy for their alleged roles in thisscheme – which allowed UBS to boost its trading profits by placingbets on the movement of benchmark interest rates, and thenmanipulating those rates. One of these individuals has also beencharged with wire fraud and an antitrust violation in connectionwith these activities. 

By causing UBS and other financial institutions to spread falseand misleading information about LIBOR, these alleged conspirators- and others at UBS – manipulated the benchmark interest rate uponwhich many consumer financial products – including credit cards,student loans, and mortgages – are frequently based. Theydefrauded the company’s counterparties of millions of dollars.And they did so primarily to reap increased profits, and securebigger bonuses, for themselves.

One trader, Tom Hayes, a 33-year-old Gen-Xer, colluded with about 100traders at other banks and 12,000 interdealer brokers in the massivescheme.

Long-time readers are aware that we’re seeing something of a miraclehere. Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department have adamantlyrefused to investigate and prosecute anyone for the financial crisis,even when the fraud was completely obvious and provable (“Financial Crisis Inquiry hearings provide ‘smoking gun’ evidence of widespread criminal fraud”).

Thus, Tom Hayes is actually the first banking crook to actually becharged. What made Holder change his mind? 

We presume that Holder has stubbornly refused to prosecute bankstercriminals because of all the money they contributed to Obama’spresidential campaign. Maybe the fact that Obama won’t be runningagain is one of Holder’s reasons.

But the more obvious reason is that UBS is not an American bank, so itdoesn’t contribute to Obama’s campaign anyway. UBS is a Swiss bank,and the criminal charges were brought against its Japanese subsidiary.Recently, British bank HSBC was fined ( “15-Dec-12 World View — Outrage grows that U.S. did not jail anyone at HSBC bank for money laundering”), and before thatBarclays bank was fined in the Libor scandal. 

So it’s STILL true that no American bank has been held accountable forthe financial crisis, despite massive evidence of criminal activity,and no American bankster has been sent to jail. Going after theJapanese subsidiary of a Swiss bank almost seems like a joke.Dept. of Justice and Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank faces severe tax evasion charges in Germany

I became very aware of Deutsche Bank in 2007 and 2008 when I waswriting about subprime mortgage fraud. What had happened during thebubble was that a bank would grant a subprime mortgage loan, and thensell the note and the deed to another bank. Readers may recall thatmany homeowners going through a foreclosure process were surprised tolearn that the bank that had given them the mortgage loan was nolonger involved, and often they couldn’t figure out which bank actuallyowned their home. 

As I discovered at the time, in most cases, thebank that had taken the mortgage loans over was Deutsche Bank.Needless to say, Deutsche Bank lost a great deal of money when thesubprime mortgage market collapse. 

Deutsche Bank was once Germany’s proudest financial institution butis now facing numerous legal charges and scandals. New management wasbrought in to recover from the subprime mortgage disaster, but it nowappears that they did so by committing tax fraud. 

The fraud involvedthose greenhouse gas emissions certificates that European companiescan trade with one another to be allowed to emit carbon dioxide.Deutsche Bank cooperated in a shell game to evade taxes by passingthese certificates back and forth through shell companies acrossnational borders. The scheme sounds remarkably similar to the waythat subprime mortgages were passed from bank to bank to commit fraud.

A frequent theme that I’ve written about numerous times is that thefinancial crisis is far from over for many reasons; a major reason beingthat the same people who committed fraud in the first place are stillin the same jobs, finding new ways to commit fraud, and with the Obamaadministration refusing to investigate these crooks, they knowthat they can go on committing crime after crime with no fear ofprosecution.

In this case, however, it’s German prosecutors going after DeutscheBank, while American prosecutors are going after UBS. Maybe these arejust the first signs of a coming flood of criminal prosecutions thatwill send lots of banksters to jail. Let’s hope. Spiegel

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Duma, Vitaly Drozdov,Vladimir Putin, Sergei Magnitsky,UBS AG, Eric Holder, Libor, Tom Hayes, HSBC, Barclays,Germany, Deutsche Bank 

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