Eric Holder announces UBS fines, criminal charges for fraud in global LIBOR scandal

Eric Holder at today’s press conference [link in the article]

UBS AG will pay about $1.5 billion and two former traders face prison as the bank settled charges with U.S. and U.K. authorities for manipulating interest rates in a global conspiracy to boost profits and bonuses.

Tom Alexander, William Hayes and Roger Darin were charged with conspiracy in a criminal complaint unsealed today, the U.S. Justice Department said. Hayes also was charged with wire fraud and a price-fixing violation for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate at another bank, the department said…

The charges are the first brought by U.S. officials against individuals alleged to have manipulated Libor and comparable benchmarks in Europe and Japan.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s $700 million fine is the largest in the agency’s history, David Meister, the commission’s head of enforcement, said at the news conference. The total penalties of $1.5 billion represent about one-third of the bank’s 2011 net income.

The U.S. government said the two men were part of a conspiracy to commit wire fraud from September 2006 to 2009. Hayes, 33, served as a senior yen swaps trader at UBS in Tokyo, while Darin, 41, worked as a short-term interest rates trader at UBS in Singapore, Tokyo and Zurich, the U.S. said.

Prosecutors allege that Hayes and Darin “conspired with others known and unknown within UBS to cause the bank to make false and misleading yen Libor submissions to the British Bankers’ Association…”

At least 45 bank employees, including some managers, knew of the “pervasive” practice and a further 70 people were included in open chats and messages where attempts to manipulate Libor and Euribor were discussed, the FSA said…

The bank said it expects to report a fourth-quarter loss of between 2 billion francs and 2.5 billion francs, primarily as a result of litigation provisions and regulatory matters.

These crooks really believed the old adage, “Never steal anything small!” Problem for them is that an administration cam along that considered the corruption attendant upon the economic meltdown that became the Great Recession to be something that could be prosecuted.

Eric Holder’s DOJ – led by US Attorneys like Preet Bharara – have been prosecuting inside traders and their corrupt associates right and left. Setting records for convictions for economic crimes unseen in decades. The CFTC did the grunt work – and didn’t have a problem turning the case over to a department with a rep for prosecuting the big boys of banking.

Texas politicians said they’d be first with cancer cure – and needed no oversight for the budget

Texas put up $3 billion in taxpayer money and promised cancer breakthroughs. But a criminal investigation, widespread rebuke from scientists and the resignations of embattled state officials came faster than medical discoveries.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas launched in 2009, flaunting the second-biggest trough of cancer research dollars in the country. Nobel laureates eagerly took jobs with the agency and celebrity Lance Armstrong lent visible and then-coveted support. It was an unprecedented state-run battle against a worldwide killer.

Three years later, it’s become unhinged by suggestions of politics and personal profit and is on the ropes.

“People expected that we get some good results. Not that we make people rich in private companies doing cancer research,” said Cathy Bonner, a cancer survivor who was a close aide to former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, and who helped brainstorm the idea for CPRIT. “I can’t imagine anything lower than misuse of research money that’s meant to save people’s lives.”

Embroiled by two lucrative grants approved despite scant review — or none at all, in one case — CPRIT is ending a year of turmoil saying the beleaguered agency is cooperating with separate prosecutor investigations. One is by a public corruption unit that convicted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on money laundering charges, and is beginning this probe trying to recover key internal emails CPRIT says it cannot retrieve.

The investigations opened last week after CPRIT revealed its latest and most serious blunder: Giving a private biomedical startup, Dallas-based Peloton Therapeutics, an $11 million award in 2010 without ever scrutinizing the merits of the company’s proposal. The discovery came on the heels of the agency funding a $20 million project roundly condemned for not first undergoing an independent scientific review…

Amid the escalating troubles, an agency that doled out more than $800 million in three years has practically ground to a halt…

Gov. Rick Perry and other elected leaders are now talking tough about transparency and getting to the bottom of the Peloton grant.

Well, golly gosh, Rick – ain’t it special finding sufficient integrity after the fact, after the waste of millions of taxpayers dollars, that you think someone should take responsibility to divvy up the corruption?

How about presuming there might be some need to keep an eye out for deceit and theft when throwing sums of money around?

You know what the question is…

Will this turn out to be Obamaville?

There is no reason to change a damned thing about Social Security. There isn’t a single penny of deficit stemming from Social Security. It pays for itself over time. The only change needed at the moment is removing the cap so all recipients and future recipients pay their fair share.

Right now, the Feds stop collecting the tax once your annual income has passed about $105K. All that is needed is to remove the cap altogether – and we’re good until the 22nd Century. Minimum.

Artificially lowering the cost of living addition from year-to-year only increases the cost of expenses that retirees will have to pay for: healthcare, food, housing, normal living expenses. That benefits no one. It only makes Republican ideologues wriggle in their slippery knickers.

Go to and tell your elected federal representatives to get off their rusty-dusty and oppose any such foolishness. Yes, that includes the guy in the White House we just re-elected to cover our side of the class struggle against corporate barons and their commissioned flunkies in Congress.

France court rules psychiatrist guilty of murder by her patient

A French court has found a psychiatrist guilty of involuntary homicide over a murder by one of her patients…Daniele Canarelli was given a suspended prison sentence of one year, in the first case of its kind in France.

Her patient Joel Gaillard murdered a man in March 2004, 20 days after Gaillard fled a consultation with Canarelli at a hospital in Marseille…

While accepting that there was no such thing as “zero risk” in such cases and that doctors could not predict the actions of their patients, the court found that Canarelli had made several mistakes in Gaillard’s treatment.

In contrast to other medical professionals who have to make quick judgements about their patients, Canarelli had a longer period of time during which she should have realised Gaillard’s treatment was failing, the court found.

The court’s Fabrice Castoldi said Canarelli should either have placed him in a specialised unit for difficult patients or referred him to another team.

Gaillard killed 80-year-old Germain Trabuc with an axe in March 2004 in the town of Gap.

Sorry, but, I am automatically suspicious of courts ruling on science and medicine. Questions of law don’t have to produce answers about justice – and this could be one of those cases. Society – and the voices of those who assign themselves the role of overseer of law and order – demands someone be found guilty of the crime. Since they couldn’t do so to Gaillard, they chose his doctor.

Daniele Canarelli may be guilty of professional mistakes; still, I’m not certain if any doctor is supposed to be omniscient, especially dealing with mental illness. Laying criminal responsibility upon someone not sworn to protect and serve as a copper smells of everything but justice.

Criminal attacks in Pakistan murder anti-Polio workers

Gunmen shot dead five female health workers who were immunizing children against polio on Tuesday, causing the Pakistani government to suspend vaccinations in two cities and dealing a fresh setback to an eradication campaign dogged by Taliban resistance in a country that is one of the disease’s last global strongholds.

“It is a blow, no doubt,” said Shahnaz Wazir Ali, an adviser on polio to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. “Never before have female health workers been targeted like this in Pakistan. Clearly there will have to be more and better arrangements for security.”

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but most suspicion focused on the Pakistani Taliban, which has previously blocked polio vaccinators and complained that the United States is using the program as a cover for espionage.

The killings were a serious reversal for the multibillion-dollar global polio immunization effort, which over the past quarter century has reduced the number of endemic countries from 120 to just three: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Nonetheless, United Nations officials insisted that the drive would be revived after a period for investigation and regrouping, as it had been after previous attacks on vaccinators here, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

But the campaign here has been deeply shaken by Taliban threats and intimidation, though several officials said Tuesday that they had never seen such a focused and deadly attack before.

The most corrupt gangsters in the world – masquerading as political activists – are dedicated only to power, greed and theft, caring not in the least about the death spiral they guarantee the poorest of the poor in Pakistan.