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Dec 17, 2013

U.S. preparing civil charges against Citigroup, Merrill Lynch: sources

By Aruna Viswanatha and Emily Flitter

(Reuters) – The Justice Department is preparing to file civil fraud charges against Citigroup Inc and Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit over their sale of flawed mortgage securities ahead of the financial crisis, according to people familiar with the probes.

Civil investigators have compiled evidence that allegedly shows that investors lost tens of billions of dollars after purchasing securities Citigroup had marketed as safe even though the bank had reason to believe otherwise, one person said.

Dec 16, 2013

JPMorgan blocked probe in Madoff case: government official

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. Treasury Department watchdog tried to examine whether JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) interfered with a regulatory probe into its relationship with convicted felon Bernard Madoff but the largest U.S. bank was able to nip the inquiry in the bud, a government official said on Monday.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General was examining whether JPMorgan interfered with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s attempts to probe the bank’s relationship with Madoff, Rich Delmar, counsel to the inspector general, said in an email to Reuters.

Dec 16, 2013

JPMorgan blocked probe in Madoff case -govt official

NEW YORK, Dec 16 (Reuters) – A U.S. Treasury Department
watchdog tried to examine whether JPMorgan Chase & Co
interfered with a regulatory probe into its relationship with
convicted felon Bernard Madoff but the largest U.S. bank was
able to nip the inquiry in the bud, a government official said
on Monday.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector
General was examining whether JPMorgan interfered with the
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s attempts to probe
the bank’s relationship with Madoff, Rich Delmar, counsel to the
inspector general, said in an email to Reuters.

Dec 12, 2013

U.S. authorities near deal with JPMorgan on Madoff violations

NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co is
working with criminal and regulatory authorities on settlements
over the bank’s relationship with convicted Ponzi schemer
Bernard Madoff, one that would involve $2 billion in penalties
and a rare criminal action, according to sources familiar with
the matter.

The settlements would fault the bank for turning a blind eye
to warning signs about Madoff’s firm, which was revealed in
December 2008 to be the operator of a massive Ponzi scheme, the
sources said.

Dec 11, 2013

Bitcoin fund raises $65 million after first two months, founder says

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A fund established to offer investors exposure to Bitcoin is holding around $65 million in the digital currency after two months in operation, its creator, SecondMarket Chief Executive Officer Barry Silbert, said on Wednesday.

Silbert told a group of journalists at his company’s New York headquarters the fund, named the Bitcoin Investment Trust, has 90 investors, among them hedge fund traders and private family investment firms.

Dec 5, 2013

U.S. charges 49 Russian diplomats with healthcare fraud

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors have charged 49 current and former Russian diplomats and their family members with participating in a scheme to get health benefits intended for the poor by lying about their income.

According to the charges, filed in November and unsealed on Thursday, the diplomats’ families got around $1.5 million in benefits from the Medicaid program for families with monthly income of about $3,000 or less. The benefits covered costs related to pregnancies, births and infant care, the charges say.

Dec 3, 2013

SAC portfolio manager kept Cohen in dark about insider info -witness

NEW YORK, Dec 2 (Reuters) – SAC Capital Advisors portfolio
manager Michael Steinberg deliberately avoided telling his boss
Steven A. Cohen that he was trading on Dell Inc with inside
information, a former analyst at the hedge fund testified on
Monday.

Jon Horvath, the U.S. government’s star witness against
Steinberg in the insider trading case, told a jury in Manhattan
federal court that Steinberg had to reassure Cohen in November
2008 about his bets on Dell which were contrary to
Cohen’s own sense and the market wisdom at the time.

Nov 27, 2013

U.S. expands China hiring probe to Morgan Stanley

By Aruna Viswanatha and Emily Flitter

(Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is probing Morgan Stanley for its hiring practices in China as part of an industry-wide investigation by the government into whether banks’ employment of politically connected Chinese breached U.S. bribery laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

As part of the industry sweep, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sent letters to Morgan Stanley and other banks, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, seeking information about their hiring practices, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Nov 26, 2013

Exclusive: U.S. expands China hiring probe to Morgan Stanley

By Aruna Viswanatha and Emily Flitter

(Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is probing Morgan Stanley for its hiring practices in China, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move comes as U.S. authorities expand their investigation into whether banks’ hiring of politically connected Chinese employees may have breached U.S. bribery laws.

Nov 24, 2013

Exclusive: Nonprofit that flipped homes to investors faces scrutiny

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. housing regulator has been investigating the activities of a small California not-for-profit that bought hundreds of foreclosed homes through a federally backed program intended to help local communities hurt by the housing bust, according to government documents reviewed by Reuters.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General late last year began probing San Diego-based Heartland Coalition’s participation in the “First Look” program in Las Vegas and other U.S. cities, according to a redacted investigation report and a letter from the regulator in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

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