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USA

Just last weekend, one of our people received a call late at night. An Indian voice asked him for details of his credit card and for his security question. That call was genuine, from his bank's fraud department, but for an estimated 15,000 US taxpayers, the department calling was all about committing not preventing fraud.

FCRO Subsection: 

Ronald S. Calderon, formerly a state senator in California has admitted accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes for performing his official duties. No one sees the irony in the fact that he has mitigated his sentence by entering into a plea agreement with the federal government in return for making a cash payment.

FCRO Subsection: 

For too long, those who have a narrow view of how money laundering related matters should be policed and enforced have made ill-informed criticism of Singapore. Primarily originating from the USA's complaint that Singapore does not prosecute enough money laundering offences, the criticism was amplified by the influx of money relocated from, first, Switzerland and then Dubai. Nigel Morris-Cotterill says that the USA should take notice of how Singapore has dealt with BSI Bank.

Editorial Staff

The USA has hundreds of prisoners sentenced to die in jail. But they don't end up on death row and they don't get campaigners petitioning the governor and, equally importantly, within days of being sentenced, the media loses interest in them. This is the story of the USA's oh-so-quietly implemented alternative to the death penalty which is ignored by those arguing for human rights.

The USA is to close embassies and consulates over Hari Raya / Eid (the end of Ramadan / Muslim new year). It's a PR snafu.

CoNet Section: 

The American Suzuki Corporation is to enter adminnistration (the Americans call it "Chapter 11 Bankruptcy"). It's SUVs and pickups are just not selling enough, despite innovation and quality.

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New York law firm FARUQI & FARUQI, LLP specialises in class actions, especially those where it alleges misconduct in relation to securities which, it usually claims, leads to a significant fall in share prices, thereby causing losses to shareholders. It's frequent press releases call upon those who held shares in companies at relevant times to join in the action they hope to mount and to get paid on a contingency basis. But all is not rosy.

CoNet Section: 

The news headlines scream about attacks on UK banks by the USA's law enforcement agencies and regulators enforcing the USA's sanctions policies. But while the focus of attention has been on Standard Chartered, HSBC and others, there is a much bigger pool of targets. Any business that has any form of footprint in the USA, or which transacts in US dollars, faces risks that are similar to those so heavily publicised in relation to banks. Nigel Morris-Cotterill, Head, The Anti Money Laundering Network, explains how this affects businesses all over the world.

Publication: 

Today is the 17th May. It's Tuesday. But in the USA, even on the East Coast, it's still Monday evening. That makes the deluge of enforcement announcements that the SEC has issued in the past few hours all the more impressive. Less impressive is that some related to action more than a week ago, and in some cases in February 2011 which renders them of less value for due diligence purposes where freezing orders have been obtained.

A fascinating case in Massachusetts, USA, has defined, in that state but with persuasive force elsewhere, the question of when a person is "practising law." It has widespread implications: struck off or suspended lawyers are effectively banned from earning a living from their accumulated skill and knowledge while lay advisers are free to offer the same services even without the same skills and experience.

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Porsche USA is looking for the oldest car in the country.

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The USA's Securities and Exchange Commission has unanimously voted to approve new rules to significantly curtail "pay to play" practices by investment advisers. Why not call it what it is - corruption?

BIScom Subsection: 

On Friday 15th April 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission was heavily criticised by the Office of the Inspector General. That day the SEC announced "fraud charges" against Goldman Sachs, sending markets reeling but diverting attention from the OIG report. Schapiro appeared before the House Subcommittee the following Monday, in part to rebut the OIG's findings. That the news agenda continued to be taken up with the Goldman's action and paid little or no attention to her appearance before the subcommittee's Appropriations Committee (applying for funding for the SEC) demonstrates the success of the diversionary tactic. Her full testimony is below (unedited)

BIScom Subsection: 

It really would be helpful if the USA would stop inventing new uses for existing terms: they did it with "billion" and "Orient," they get "protest" wrong and they really, really, really don't have a grip on "terrorism." But despite that, their warnings about "sovereign citizens" should not be ignored and financial institutions are in the front line.

Five foreign subsidiaries of Thermon Manufacturing Company, a San Marcos, Texas-based firm, have agreed to pay a total of USD176,000 in combined civil penalties.

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