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Jan 14, 2014

Dispute over foreign bank assets sent to NY’s highest court

NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Reuters) – In a case with wide
implications for the global banking industry, New York’s highest
state court has been asked to decide if banks operating in the
state can be forced to turn over to litigants assets held in
their foreign branches.

At issue are two high-profile cases being heard by the U.S.
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. The cases involve U.S. companies
that are trying to reach assets held overseas by UK-based
Standard Chartered Plc and Bank of China.

Jan 13, 2014

California judge rejects challenge to U.S. consumer watchdog

NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) – A California federal judge has
spurned a constitutional challenge to the U.S. Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau, saying the new agency set up to aid
financial consumers does not interfere with the president’s
executive power as alleged.

In a ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton
said Congress did not restrict the president’s executive power
by providing that the CFPB’s director could only be removed for
good cause.

Dec 10, 2013

Clubby ties between U.S. CEOs and board audit committees: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Almost 40 percent of U.S. corporate directors with responsibility for monitoring the profit-and-loss ledger have social ties to the chief executive, a study says, making them look more like lapdogs than watchdogs.

Conducted by two accounting professors at Tilburg University in The Netherlands, the study reinforces long-held perceptions of a clubby culture on U.S. corporate boards, where members seldom challenge the executives they are meant to police.

Dec 3, 2013

U.S. appeals court affirms contempt judgment for anarchist

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal appeals court has upheld a contempt judgment against a self-described anarchist who refused to testify before a grand jury thought to be investigating a 2008 bomb explosion in New York’s Times Square.

Gerald Koch, 24, of Brooklyn was sent to jail in May after being found in civil contempt for refusing to testify, citing his rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Nov 12, 2013

Bankers’ lawsuit jeopardizes U.S. tax dodger crackdown: lawyers

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A court challenge by Texas and Florida bankers threatens to undermine a broad U.S. government crackdown on offshore tax avoidance and jeopardize a web of carefully crafted international agreements, tax lawyers said on Tuesday.

The Texas Bankers Association and the Florida Bankers Association, both industry groups, have filed a lawsuit attempting to block a new U.S. Treasury Department rule governing accounts held by foreigners in U.S. banks.

Oct 30, 2013

PwC gobbles up Booz & Co as Big 4 rebuild in consulting

By Dena Aubin and Kevin Drawbaugh

(Reuters) – PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Wednesday it agreed to buy Booz & Co., ratcheting up an aggressive move by large audit firms back into the lucrative consulting business more than 10 years after U.S. regulators tried to tease apart the two sectors.

PwC PWC.UL, one of the world’s Big Four audit firms, said it will buy corporate consultancy Booz for undisclosed terms. Subject to approval by Booz’s partners, the transaction was the latest in a string of similar acquisitions.

Sep 30, 2013

Bank of America in record settlement over ‘robocall’ complaints

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America has agreed to pay $32 million to settle charges that it made harassing debt collection calls to customers’ cell phones, in what is believed to be the largest cash payout ever under a 1991 law meant to protect consumers from unwanted calls.

The settlement will resolve multiple proposed class action lawsuits filed on behalf of 7.7 million of the bank’s credit card and mortgage loan customers, according to court documents.

Sep 20, 2013

Lawsuit accuses JPMorgan of exposing Social Security numbers

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit accusing it of printing Social Security numbers on the outsides of form letters mailed to customers to tell them about the bank’s efforts to protect their private information.

Filed on Thursday in federal court in Chicago, the lawsuit accused the largest bank in the United States of violating federal and state laws and subjecting its customers to increased risk of identity theft.

Sep 9, 2013

JPMorgan in $300 million settlement over force-placed insurance

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and a major insurer have agreed to a $300 million settlement to resolve accusations that they forced homeowners into over-priced property insurance and entered into kickback arrangements that inflated the policies’ prices.

The lawsuit being settled – one of several targeting large U.S. banks over force-placed insurance – said that the improper practices unjustly enriched JPMorgan and insurer Assurant Inc by more than $1 billion since 2008.

Aug 19, 2013

Watchdog finds problems in dozens of U.S. broker-dealer audits

NEW YORK, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Many financial auditors are
failing to properly check for accounting fraud risks at U.S.
broker-dealers or test controls over customer funds, new
inspections mandated by Congress after Bernard Madoff’s massive
Ponzi scheme have found.

In its second inspection report on broker-dealer audits, the
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, an auditor watchdog,
said it found problems at 95 percent of the 60 audits it