Whistleblower News: House Panel Approves Bill to Weaken Dodd-Frank, From the London Whale to Wells Fargo, a Bank Regulator Looks Back, South Korea's Powerful Family Business Ties Could Be Tough to Cut

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House Panel Approves Bill to Weaken Dodd-Frank

Republicans took a big step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, and they took a small step toward dismantling another of President Barack Obama’s signature pieces of legislation, the Dodd-Frank Act.

With only the support of Republicans, the House Financial Services Committee voted in favor of the Financial Choice Act, a bill that would gut central financial regulations created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The bill is expected to get a vote from the full House in the coming months. But, in its current form, it is not expected to pass in the Senate, where it would need support from Democrats to garner the necessary 60 votes. read more »

From the London Whale to Wells Fargo, a Bank Regulator Looks Back

Thomas J. Curry’s first week as a federal banking regulator was his worst.

Soon after taking over the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which polices some of the nation’s largest banks, Mr. Curry learned that JPMorgan Chase was racking up billions of dollars in losses on a risky derivatives trade in London.

The 2012 episode, known as the London Whale, exposed huge gaps in federal oversight of big banks. A few months after that, a Senate report cited the agency’s “systemic failures” that allowed a money-laundering scheme at HSBC “to fester and worsen.”

Five years and hundreds of millions of dollars in fines later — for JPMorgan, HSBC and others — Mr. Curry is known for overhauling the agency and its approach to bank regulation. read more »

South Korea’s Powerful Family Business Ties Could Be Tough to Cut

Forget Machiavelli, or “Game of Thrones.” When it comes to staying in power, South Korea’s richest business clans have the game plan down.

There is the charity maneuver, in which family members park their stakes in their business empires in philanthropic nonprofits, letting them keep control without paying heavy taxes.

There is the new company maneuver, in which they create new firms that strike lucrative and friendly business deals with the others they control.

And then there is old-fashioned corporate engineering, in which they merge arms of their empires together to consolidate power, even as other shareholders complain.

With South Korea’s biggest business empire, Samsung, caught up in a nationwide political scandal, a new generation of South Korean leaders has vowed to rip up that playbook. Major candidates in Tuesday’s election for president have said they will clamp down on South Korea’s family-controlled business empires, called chaebol, which dominate the country’s economy and have amassed immense political power. read more »

Byrd-Bennett scandal was ‘something unique, corruption-wise'

Barbara Byrd-Bennett punched her ticket to federal prison the same day she became the head of the Chicago Public Schools.

The Chicago Board of Education confirmed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s second schools chief late in 2012. The same day, it approved a $2 million no-bid consulting contract to the SUPES Academy at her behest.

When it was done, her scam had already succeeded.

A federal judge sentenced Byrd-Bennett, 67, a week ago to four and a half years in prison for steering that contract and others worth a combined $23 million to SUPES and a sister company, Synesi Associates, in exchange for what she hoped would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. read more »

Charges in the F.H. Bertling Ltd investigation

London The Serious Fraud Office has charged logistics and freight operations company F.H. Bertling Ltd and four individuals with one count of conspiracy to give or accept corrupt payments, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977. The SFO alleges that Robert McNally, Georgina Ayres, Giuseppe Morreale, Stephen Emler and F.H. Bertling Ltd conspired together and with others to give or accept corrupt payments for assisting F.H. Bertling Ltd in being awarded or retaining contracts for the supply of freight forwarding services relating to a North Sea oil exploration project known as Jasmine. read more »

PayPal accused of crucial role in massive ponzi scam

Investors say it served as payment processor for about $134 mn in investments in Traffic Monsoon

PayPal Holdings was accused by victims of an alleged Ponzi scheme of failing to detect the fraud while processing more than $100 million in investments.

Even after the company had banned the operator of the internet advertising “pay-to-click” programme from using its services in 2011 over his involvement in a similar scheme, PayPal played “a crucial — indeed, indispensable — role” in letting him siphon and steal investor money, according to the complaint in federal court in San Jose, California. read more »