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Subscription radio service Sirius XM Holdings Inc. will acquire streaming music firm Pandora Media Inc. in a deal valued at about $ 3.5 billion, the two companies said Monday.
The all-stock transaction is expected to allow SiriusXM to expand beyond its expertise in in-car entertainment. SiriusXM…
Comcast and 21st Century Fox will settle their takeover battle for Sky in a weekend auction run by British regulators, setting up a dramatic climax to a 21-month sale process that has pitted some of the world’s biggest media giants against each other.
WSJ.com: US Business
The investigation into Danske Bank’s alleged money laundering has uncovered new funds. The amount of “questionable money” flowing through the bank’s Estonian branch has grown from $ 150 billion to approximately $ 234 billion. In response, the CEO of Danske Bank turned in his resignation.
From $ 150B to $ 234B
Denmark’s largest bank released the report detailing the results of its internal investigation into the money laundering allegations involving its Estonian branch on Wednesday.
Prior to this release, $ 150 billion allegedly flowed through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch to suspicious accounts of non-resident clients from 2007 to 2015. However, the bank’s investigation has revised this number. Danske has “acknowledged that about €200bn [~US$ 234 billion] in questionable money flowed through its small Estonian branch in one of the largest money laundering scandals ever uncovered,” the Financial Times reported.
Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Denmark’s prime minister, was quoted by the news outlet:
I’m shocked. The numbers that came out today are of an astronomical magnitude. It is, of course, deeply disappointing that a bank that I consider to be an important player for Denmark has become involved in this kind of activity.
“The investigations have been led by the Bruun & Hjejle law firm,” Danske Bank described, adding that “The scope of the investigations covers approximately 15,000 customers and 9.5 million payments.”
According to the report, “Some 12,000 documents and more than 8 million emails have been searched, and more than 70 interviews have been conducted with current and former employees and managers…Overall, approximately 70 people have worked full time on the investigations.” In addition, the report states that approximately 6,200 high-risk customers have been examined, “and the vast majority of these customers have been deemed suspicious.”
The Financial Times added that “The non-resident customers came from countries including Russia, the UK and the British Virgin Islands, but the bank said it could not yet estimate how much of the total was illicit.” The news outlet noted that Russia’s central bank said that Danske customers “permanently participate in financial transactions of doubtful origin,” estimated at billions of roubles monthly.
CEO Borgen Resigns
On Wednesday, Danske Bank also announced that its CEO, Thomas F. Borgen, has resigned. He has been the bank’s CEO since 2013 and was in charge of international banking including Estonia from 2009 to 2012. Borgen said:
It is clear that Danske Bank has failed to live up to its responsibility in the case of possible money laundering in Estonia. I deeply regret this…I believe that it is best for all parties that I resign.
According to the bank’s announcement, Borgen will continue in his position until a new CEO has been appointed.
Donation and Revised Outlook
Another announcement made by Danske Bank on Wednesday concerns the donation of DKK 1.5 billion (~$ 235 million).
“Danske Bank does not wish to benefit financially from suspicious transactions that took place in the non-resident portfolio of its Estonian branch in the period from 2007 to 2015,” the bank wrote, adding:
As the bank is not able to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of suspicious transactions made by non-resident customers in Estonia during the period, the Board of Directors has decided to donate the gross income from the customers in the period from 2007 to 2015, which is estimated at DKK 1.5 billion, to an independent foundation.
The foundation will be “set up to support initiatives aimed at combating international financial crime, including money laundering, also in Denmark and Estonia.”
The bank further explained that its net profit for 2018 has been revised downward due to this donation. “We now expect net profit for 2018 to be in the range of DKK 16-17 billion [~$ 2.5-2.7 billion],” the bank clarified, noting that previously it “expected net profit for 2018 to be at the lower end of the DKK 18-20 billion [~$ 2.8-3.1 billion] range.”
Why do you think regulators are going after crypto when there is so much money laundering in the banking system? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Jeff Bezos will invest “just over $ 1 billion” next year in Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket program, and the company will fly people to space “this coming year,” the Amazon.com Inc. chief executive said Wednesday.
Speaking during a keynote address at the Air Force Assn.’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference…
Visa and Mastercard have run up the mother of all credit card bills. The monopolistic payment providers had been embroiled in a long-running lawsuit instigated by merchants protesting their excessive fees. The credit card giants have now conceded defeat and agreed to settle the price-fixing case for a whopping $ 6.2 billion.
Visa and Mastercard Cop to Running a Card Cartel
Millions of Visa and Mastercard customers enjoy a love-hate relationship with their credit card provider. While the ability to buy goods on credit is undoubtedly convenient, the hidden charges, sporadic service interruptions, and security risks all take their toll. They’re not alone: merchants are equally weary of Visa, Mastercard, and their punitive fees. Unlike the helpless customers, however, the merchants have the ability to do something about it.
Shares in JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America will form part of the payment proffered by Visa and Mastercard to end the price-fixing lawsuit. Under the settlement, Mastercard will be obliged to pay $ 108 million, but it’s Visa that will be faced with the lion’s share of the bill, coughing up a mammoth $ 4.1 billion. To place the credit card issuers’ combined bill of $ 6.2 billion in context, from a cryptocurrency perspective, that’s greater than the market cap of EOS, and just behind Bitcoin Cash.
A Big Fine But a Drop in the Bucket
$ 6.2 billion is a huge sum by any reckoning, but it won’t make much of a dent in the coffers of the companies tasked with paying it. Visa alone recorded revenue of $ 18.3 billion last year, while Mastercard earned $ 12.5 billion. The lawsuit that they eventually conceded defeat on pertained to excessive card fees. These payment providers abused their power to impose excessive fees upon merchants, who had no option but to pay up.
US merchants, including retailers and financial companies that utilize services offered by the likes of Mastercard and Visa, pay over $ 90 billion a year in fees. The antitrust case that was brought against the pair can be traced back to 2005, when accusations emerged of Visa and Mastercard inflating swipe fees to their enrichment. The $ 6.2 billion settlement will come as relief to the merchants who campaigned against the credit card cartel, and as affirmation to cryptocurrency users that the only payment system they can trust is Bitcoin.
Do you think Visa and Mastercard run a credit card cartel, and will this settlement dissuade them from further price fixing? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Visa.
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The Chinese government said Tuesday it plans to impose new tariffs on $ 60 billion in U.S. exports, prompting President Trump to reiterate a threat to punch back by hitting Chinese goods worth more than four times that much.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia
The bitcoin security specialists Wizsec has recently explained to the public that the wallet that held more than 111,000 BTC did not derive from the Silk Road marketplace, and it’s also not one of the Mt Gox wallets. Further Wizsec detailed today that a recent article had quoted the organization by cherry-picking quotes which in turn created an editorial that has bolstered unneeded fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD).
With All the Hype Over the Last few Weeks, the 111,000 BTC Wallet Could Be Meaningless
Over the last few weeks, cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been discussing a large amount of BTC that has moved from an old wallet onto a few popular trading platforms. Many people including the person who reported the coin movements have alleged the funds either stemmed from the Silk Road marketplace or it was one of the wallets owned by the now-defunct exchange Mt Gox. The unknown armchair detective and Reddit user u/sick_silk created more than two weeks worth of wild Silk Road fantasies and Mt Gox theories concerning the wallet that once had 111,000 BTC. Then a few Twitter personalities asked the well-known security specialists Wizsec if they had an opinion about the funds and whether or not they derived from the Silk Road or Mt Gox.
“Curious if Wizsecurity has any thoughts on the origin of the BTC at this address?” Tuur Demeester asks the group over Twitter.
“It’s an old Mt Gox whale, unrelated to Silk Road,” explains Wizsec. The security group further notes to another person on Twitter asking about the wallet stating:
An old Mt Gox whale — Not suspicious in itself, just someone who made a very good investment — Not belonging to Mt Gox, just someone who bought them on Mt Gox back in the day.
Another Case of FUD Consumes the Crypto-Community
Additionally, on Sunday, September 16 the publication, The Telegraph published an article that allegedly quotes the Wizsec analyst Kim Nilsson. According to the publication’s story, Nilsson was quoted as saying a flood of Mt Gox payouts threatens to “completely crash the market.” However, Wizsec says that the article cherry-picked quotes to create FUD and sensationalism within the crypto-community.
“A recent article quotes me as predicting an imminent BTC market crash due to Mt Gox payouts,” explains Wizsec on Twitter.
This is FUD with cherry-picked quotes. Mt Gox is nowhere near payouts and the eventual market impact can be greatly mitigated depending on the trustee’s actions.
The story follows the hundreds of other stories involving large bitcoin wallets that some random internet detective found that are also tied to tales of market crashes. Even though nobody can verify the expertise of these random Reddit and Bitcointalk.org sleuths many crypto-luminaries on Twitter and news outlets spew out these rumors like they are fact. We’ve seen time and time again that these rumors involving things like the PBOC banning bitcoin, and random Silk Road or Mt Gox funds dumping on the markets are usually greatly exaggerated. It seems relying on rumors stemming from some random Joe on the internet might not be a good idea.
What do you think about the random people spreading stories about large bitcoin addresses? Let us know what you think about this story in the comment section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, Wizsec, and Pixabay.
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Trump imposes $200 billion in Chinese tariffs, sharply escalating a trade war that will now include many household goodsSeptember 17, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
The Trump administration on Monday announced new tariffs on $ 200 billion of Chinese imports, a sharp escalation of its trade fight with China that will also exact costs on a wide range of American businesses and consumers.
The new tariffs, to take effect next Monday, would initially be set at 10%…
Australia’s antitrust regulator won’t stand in the way of a multibillion-dollar takeover of one of the country’s main gas-pipeline operators, putting the deal by Hong Kong’s CK Infrastructure Holdings in the hands of foreign investment authorities.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia
Companies from Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union have apparently turned the small country of Estonia into a massive money laundering haven. An investigation into the Estonian branch of Denmark’s largest bank is examining up to $ 150 billion which may have been involved.
From $ 3.9 Billion to $ 150 Billion
Investigators at Danske Bank (CPH: DANSKE), the largest bank in Denmark, are reportedly combing through a whopping $ 150 billion worth of transactions that passed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015. While its likely not all of the suspicious funds are from an illegal source, this is a jump by an order of magnitude from the bank’s initially suspected figure said to be involved with money laundering by Russian and other Eastern European companies.
Last year Danish media sources reported the suspected laundered funds at $ 3.9 billion but in early July the figure jumped to between $ 8 and $ 9 billion. And earlier this month, FT reported that up to $ 30 billion may be suspect. The bank’s stock price has taken a considerable hit from the revelations.
“Any conclusions should be drawn on the basis of verified facts and not fragmented pieces of information taken out of context,” Danske Bank chairman Ole Andersen told the Wall Street Journal which brought up the $ 150 billion figure. “As we have previously communicated, it is clear that the issues related to the portfolio were bigger than we had previously anticipated.”
According to Estonian law, an individual may face up to ten years in jail for taking part in an organized money laundering crime. However, a company guilty of money laundering faces a maximum penalty of just 16 million euros.
Back in July, the bank’s Board announced it intends to waive all income from suspicious transactions in Estonia and use it “to the benefit of society,” like supporting efforts to combat financial crime. “It is still too early to draw any conclusions regarding the extent of the issues, as the comprehensive investigations into the matter are still ongoing. However, it is clear that we did not live up to our own standards or the expectations of society at large when it came to preventing our Estonian branch from being used for potentially illegal activities at the time when these transactions took place. This is something we deeply regret and which we should not benefit from financially in any way. Therefore we will not keep the income from these suspicious transactions,” CEO Thomas F. Borgen, said at the time.
Why are regulators going after crypto with so much money laundering going on in the banking system? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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