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HSBC punished with $100 million bill for cheating clients

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(FinancialPress) — HSBC‘s financials continue to pile up the woes due to the financial institution‘s unruly behavior. The bank will be forced to pay $101.5 million to be done with a criminal case in the U.S.

The bank was accused of using currency trades to defraud its own customers to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

John Cronan, an acting assistant attorney general at the U.S. Justice Department, chimed in on the subject: “The company misused confidential client information for its own profit on more than one occasion,” he said.

“This sort of misconduct not only harmed their clients, costing the victims money, but it also ran a serious risk of undermining the public’s confidence in our financial markets.”

HSBC bankers tinkered with the numbers for trades executed for two big corporate clients. In total, the scheme racked up over $46 million in revenue in favor of the bank between 2010 and 2011.

U.S. prosecutors found that the bank‘s employees traded the British pound before large-scale operations for their clients, benefitting the bank and working in detriment of the companies that hired them.

In consequence, HSBC has agreed to pay back $38.4 million in restitutions to one of the companies it defrauded – as well as a $63.1 million criminal tab. The benefitting company was not named by the Justice Department or the defendant.

The second company was Cairn Energy, which receiverd an $8 million restitution previously.

Mark Johnson, a former banker of the institution, has already been declared guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud. He could face up to 20 years in a federal prison.

Inspector General Jay Lerner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said that HSBC “is responsible for the conduct of its employees” and “must not be permitted to benefit from the fraud committed by bank personnel.“

 

Ruben is a South American writer who focuses on the state of the cryptocurrency, cannabis and tech industries worldwide.

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Cannabis

Nationwide US cannabis legalization lawsuit movement scores an L

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(FinancialPress) — The first legal battle held by the lawsuit levvied against the federal government, launched by cannabis legalization advocates, finds the plaintiffs on the losing side.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who officiates for the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, ruled that the plantiffs “failed to exhaust all administrative remedies“ to settle their request, and therefore granted the motion to dismiss filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
The suit argues for the unconstitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, and requested that marijuana be reclassified from the schedule of controlled narcotics.
Had the suit been successful, marijuana would have been immediately legalized country-wide.

The ruling will be appealed by the plaintiffs – a group that includes a young epileptic girl and former NFL players.

Hellerstein‘s ruling read as follows:

“Although plaintiffs couch their claim in constitutional language, they seek the same relief as would be available in an administrative forum – a change in marijuana’s scheduling classification – based on the same factors that guide the (Drug Enforcement Administration’s) reclassification determination.”

The judge emphasized the fact that the ruling was an administrative measure, and should not be taken as support towards the notion of that marijuana should remain classified a Schedule I drug:

“This decision should not be understood as a factual finding that marijuana lacks any medical use … the authority to make that determination is vested in the administrative process,” he wrote.

He also denied the plaintiffs‘ claim of that using marijuana is a fundamental right of theirs.

“No such fundamental right exists,” he wrote.

“Every court to consider the specific, carefully framed right at issue here has held that there is no substantive due process right to use medical marijuana.”

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Alibaba bets big on Olympics for household recognition

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(FinancialPress) — The biggest e-commerce portal in China is making a strong investment as an Olympic sponsor for the Pyeongchang Olympic games. The imposing pavilion the company put up at the event is in line with the ones erected by giants Coca-Cola, McDonald‘s and Samsung.

With this, Alibaba (BABA) likely hopes that some of the 3 other giants‘ global recognition rubs off on it.

The Jack Ma-founded company made waves with its 2014 New York Stock Exchange IPO – the largest recorded in history. The eccentric frontman is a regular at major international events, and just last year was part of a photo op with US President Donald Trump.

However, despite its massive success in Asia, its  “brand awareness outside China is not commensurate with its size,” according to National University of Singapore marketing professor Junhong Chu. Alibaba‘s market value is larger than Walmart‘s, and the company looks to change that with the Olympic sponsorship.

The requirements of the contract are extensive – minimum commitment of 4 years, and hundreds of millions in investment. While the exact numbers are not required to be made public, a report states that BABA‘s estimated investment will border $800 milion for the duration of the deal, which ends in 2028. This puts the company shoulder-and-shoulder with name giants such as Toyota, GE and Visa.

Alibaba steps in at a critical time – as longtime main sponsor McDonald‘s announced it will end its deal with the Olympics 3 years early. Not only does the new partnership bridge that financial hole, but a spokesperson for the Asian giant also stated that it comes “at a very critical time,” and that it will use its technology to help make the Olympics “more efficient, secure and engaging,”

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Ethereum founder warns about cryptocurrencies as bitcoin breaks $11,000 again

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(FinancialPress)  —  Bitcoin’s rebound continued on Monday as it recovered from the depths reached on February 6th, by closing at $11,000 – a massive recovery from the below-$6000 value it had reached at its lowest of 2018. Even so, Ethereum’s founder took the time to warn her that cryptocurrencies still “could drop to near-zero.”

At the time of this publication, Bitcoin sits steady at over $11,505 on Coindesk. Bitcoin returned to over $10,000 of value last Thursday. Factors to be considered for the rise are the fact that Bitcoin Investment Trust had a strong surge last week – as it grew in unison with Bitcoin and other recovering cryptos. Meanwhile, a CNBC investigation caused Riot Blockchain to lose considerable value.

After an all-time high of $20,000, Bitcoin drastically stumbled in December after regulators from major financial hubs, such as China and South Korea, began cracking down on the cryptocurrency market. Fast forward to today, and the latter is also a leading factor for the continuing rise in the digital currency‘s value, as enthusiastic trading occurs in the Asian country. The recovery began on February 6 after a Senate hearing in the US in which regulators warned about the cryptocurrency market, but did not signal that they would be aggressively pursuing regulation or restricting trading in any way.

The re-surge is condimented with comments from top cryptocurrency Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, who said in a tweet that cryptocurrencies as a whole are a “new and hyper-volatile asset class“.

Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin all closed with gains Monday.

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