Whistleblower News: PG&E Bankruptcy, SEC Hackers

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PG&E Bankruptcy Tests Who Will Pay for California Wildfires

Pacific Gas and Electric said on Monday that it would seek bankruptcy protection as “the only viable option” as the giant California utility faces billions of dollars in liability claims from two years of deadly wildfires.

The company’s troubles pose a challenge to the state’s elected officials and regulators, who will ultimately decide whether part of the solution will be raising already high electricity rates. The problems could also make it harder to achieve California’s ambitious goals for renewable energy.

PG&E said it faced an estimated $30 billion liability for damages from the two years of wildfires, a sum that would exceed its insurance and assets. The bankruptcy announcement, in a filing with federal regulators, led the company’s shares to plunge more than 50 percent.

The shares had already lost almost two-thirds of their value since a wave of wildfires in early November, and its bond rating had been downgraded to junk status by two rating agencies. read more »

FBI corruption probe of L.A. City Hall focuses on downtown development boom

The rapid transformation of downtown Los Angeles’ skyline is being fueled in good measure by huge investments from Chinese companies eager to burnish their global brands and capitalize on L.A.’s real estate boom.

Now some of those projects have become a focus of federal agents seeking evidence of possible bribery, extortion, money laundering and other crimes as part of a corruption investigation at City Hall.

Federal investigators have cast a wide net for information about foreign investment in Los Angeles real estate development, according to a search warrant that names an array of political and business figures. read more »

U.S. charges hacker, traders for infiltrating SEC database

A Ukrainian computer hacker and several others were charged by U.S. authorities on Tuesday over their alleged roles in a scheme to trade on nonpublic corporate earnings news obtained by infiltrating a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission database.

The charges follow the SEC’s announcement in September 2017 that it had uncovered a hacking from the prior year into Edgar, its corporate filing database used by publicly traded companies, money managers and others. read more »

Azerbaijani banker’s £1m diamond ring seized in ‘dirty money’ inquiry

Ring bought by Jahangir Hajiyev from Harrods department store confiscated by UK’s National Crime Agency

Police have seized a Cartier diamond ring worth more than £1m bought by a jailed Azerbaijani banker in Harrods, the latest move in the UK’s first McMafia-style “dirty money” investigation.

The NCA claims Hajiyeva is wanted by Azerbaijani authorities in connection with avoiding the investigation into fraud at her husband’s former bank. She is one of several family members whom the authorities claim were used by Jahangir to take money out of the country. read more »