Synthetic CDOs, seen as particularly risky, both for a bank’s balance sheet and its reputation, also have seen a wave of fresh investment this year as investors look for ways to bet on corporate defaults and generate yield. “Trading volumes in synthetic collateralized debt obligations linked to credit indexes are up 40% this year, according to JP Morgan, after topping US$200bn in 2018 on the back of three years of double-digit growth. Meanwhile, analysts predict more than US$100bn in sales of bespoke synthetic CDOs in 2019 following an estimated US$80bn of issuance last year.”

[March 17 2013 Drew pins London Whale on machinations ]

Ina Drew at age 36

A Senate subcommittee is asking how JPMorgan Chase
could have allowed its traders to manipulate risk metrics to such a degree and mislead senior executives about the potential losses in the massive synthetic credit portfolio that ultimately totaled $6.2 billion. In her first appearance since the fiasco cost her job former head of the bank’s Chief Investment Office Ina Drew pinned the blame on the machinations of her underlings to hide the losses.
Those machinations included mis-marking of prices on the synthetic credit portfolio. Rather than at the midpoint of bid/ask spreads the London traders were marking trades on the extreme ends of daily ranges at the most advantageous levels possible.
a $1.2 billion loss on the London Whale trades at one point, but Drew told the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) losses were just $580 million at that point. Her reported compensation for 2011 was $14 million. May 14 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Investment Officer Ina Drew retired on Monday, the first casualty after the bank suffered trading losses that could reach $3 billion or more and that have tarnished the reputation of high-profile Chief Executive Jamie Dimon.

[July 11 2012]

A DNA sample found at the 2004 murder scene of Juilliard student Sarah Fox has been matched to a separate sample taken at a recent Occupy Wall Street protest in Brooklyn,

The new discovery does not shake investigators’ belief that Dimitry Sheinman is the No. 1 suspect in the case,

Investigators have not yet been able to identify whose DNA was on the CD player and the chain, but they determined it doesn’t belong to Sheinman.
The new DNA sample was found on a chain used to prop open the gates at the Beverly Road subway station in East Flatbush during an Occupy Wall Street protest designed to let straphangers ride for free back in March,

The sample does not belong to any of Fox’s immediate friends or roommates, sources said.
Investigators were also working with several theories that could account for the match. For example, since Fox was a college student, the DNA could have gotten onto her device at school, and that person could later have become involved with Occupy Wall Street, sources said.
The CD player and the chain could also have been touched by the same cop, who had some connection to the murder scene and the chain, sources said. The origin of the chain has not yet been determined.
Whoever the person is, he has not been arrested previously, and has not shown up in any criminal DNA database.
Should the person be ID’d, investigators do want to talk to him, sources said.

Anyone in the subway that day could have touched the chain and left DNA. What is interesting is that they did DNA testing on items left from a protest action.

[December 20]Jamie Dimon, the highest-paid chief executive officer among the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks, turned a question at an investors’ conference in New York this month into an occasion to defend wealth.
“Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO told an audience member who asked about hostility toward bankers. “Sometimes there’s a bad apple, yet we denigrate the whole.”

Jamie Dimon’s Next JP Morgan Nightmare
Dimon, 55, whose 2010 compensation was $23 million, joined billionaires including hedge-fund manager John Paulson and Home Depot Inc. (HD) co-founder Bernard Marcus in using speeches, open letters and television appearances to defend themselves and the richest 1 percent of the population targeted by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.


ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, in his official capacity
as Chairman of the House Committee on
Oversight and Reform

“Regarding the House Oversight Committee’s request for the Trump Organization’s financial records from its accounting firm Mazars USA LLP. Mr. Cox opines that short of a subpoena, the firm is unlikely to comply with a letter request from the committee. Under state statutes and regulations, accountants have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of client confidential information. Mr. Cox states that there are certain exceptions under the AICPA’s ethics rules where an accountant can turn over records in response to a subpoena or documents that are already publicly available.”

Mazars, through its outside counsel, wrote back to Chairman Cummings on March 27.
Mazars informed Chairman Cummings that it “cannot voluntarily turn over the documents….Despite the Ranking Members’ objections, Chairman Cummings issued the subpoena to Mazars”


a pitiful and infuriating end during Avengers: Endgame. ROSIE KNIGHT

a hasty exit for a long-sidelined heroine who has for years deserved better. by LAURA BRADLEY

it was a hasty exit for a long-sidelined heroine who has for years deserved better.
Even more insultingly, the only continuous Avenger who still hasn’t gotten her own movie—though one’s been promised for years and may yet happen—gets a fraction of the mourning that Tony Stark enjoys. Black Widow gets a single mention. Her disappearance from the movie couldn’t have been more abrupt if Scarlett Johansson had magically vanished from the set midway through shooting. INKOO KANG

Marvel has come disappointingly late to being an inclusive franchise, and their steps are still baby steps, but Black Widow’s death feels even more regressive. Hemal Jhaveri

its callous handling of Black Widow stands out. It’s a sad end to one of the MCU’s eternally underserved characters. Alex Leadbeater

Between Infinity War and Endgame, it’s well established that when someone is sacrificed on Vormir for the Soul Stone, that person stays dead. Black Widow and Hawkeye fought to sacrifice themselves for the Soul Stone, but eventually Black Widow “won” that battle and gave her life to get the stone for the rest of the team. It’s then established that the stones don’t work in bringing people back from the dead, or at least not someone who died to get the Soul Stone on Vormir. MATT GOLDBERG

The Role of Women in the Art of Ancient Greece
Including Amazons, Goddesses, Nymphs, and Archaic Females from Mycenaen and Minoan Cultures


his two new female attorneys, Marianne Bertuna, New York Law School, and Diana Fabi Samson, Villanova University School of Law

Harvey Weinstein’s sex assault trial delayed, is now set for Sept. 9. Weinstein lawyer Marianne Bertuna argued that news coverage could influence potential jurors and that “the court cannot be complicit with the press in denying the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

[June 11 2010 opens film in China ]

John Cusack, Chow Yun-Fat

Shanghai, John Cusack, Chow Yun-Fat

“Shanghai” is the first fruit of a $285 million Weinstein Co. fund announced in August 2007, which planned to produce two dozen films over six years.

The film screens Friday in Hong Kong and at the Shanghai International Film Festival on June 13.


The story of an American spy who arrives in Shanghai during the winter of 1941 to discover his friend has been killed. Driven to investigate the murder, he is drawn into an ever increasing web of mystery, conspiracy and deceit.

John Cusack, Chow Yun-Fat


June 26, 2018 brussels – The Public Prosecution Service appeals against the acquittal last month of eighteen suspects of the diamond robbery at Brussels airport in 2013.


Brinks of Belgium truck robbed

BRUSSELS — Five years after a brazen multimillion-dollar diamond heist on the tarmac of Brussels Airport, the Brussels Criminal Court on Thursday, May 17, cited a lack of evidence as it acquitted 18 suspects in the case.“They made a very wide sweep. They focused on some famous names,” said defence lawyer Nathalie Gallant, who claimed the investigators “worked with blinkers” on. She said the verdicts were not a surprise to those in the courtroom.
In its judgment, the Brussels court found that “the elements are not sufficiently precise and concordant to establish the guilt of the defendants,” . It lifted all confiscations of their property which had been seized as a precautionary measure. “The Brussels Criminal Court drew conclusions on a case that began with rumors,” said one of the defense lawyers, Pierre Monville,

 ‘Dr. Fantástico’ 6 minutes yields $5M in Brink robbery at Brazil airport   ]

Criminals stormed into the apron of the International Airport of Viracopos, in Campinas, a city some 100 km from São Paulo, Sunday evening, 9:30 pm local time, said Aeroportos Brasil Viracopos, which controls the airport. The criminals used a Hilux truck

[March 6 ]

brink robbery

The Lufthansa jet landed at Viracopos, Brazil’s largest freight airport, from nearby Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo. The plane was stopping over before flying to Zurich, Switzerland.
The robbers drove a pickup truck plastered with the logo of a local security company into the airport grounds.
Five of the robbers held up guards from the security company Brinks, loaded the money on the truck and drove off, according to Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.
The heist lasted six minutes and none of the guards were hurt.

earlier Brink Antwerp diamond robbery

[May 15 2015 Cannes robbery yields $20066375.00, €17.5 million (£13 million) worth of jewellery and watches ]


the Cartier jewelery shop on the Croisette in Cannes has been holded up by four armed men who fled with a large amount of jewelry One robber in an old-man mask carrying a pistol burst into a Cartier boutique, letting in two accomplices with scarves around their faces, while a fourth man stood guard outside.
Two employees and a shopper were in the store at the time.
The robbers stuffed jewellery and watches into a leather satchel and jewellery bag. In their rush to make a getaway, they dropped several expensive watches onto the pavement, later recovered by the store.
The thieves made off in a Mercedes reported stolen in March that was later found burned out in a residential part of the town.
The Cartier store lies next to the luxury Carlton hotel – the scene of another daring jewellery raid in July 2013 that saw a lone thief make off with more than €140 million of gems, after breaking into the hotel through a door on the ground floor.

[March 13 Hatton Garden, London: USD $ 298, 570,000.00 in jewels and gold stolen]

Daily Mirror scoop

London Diamond Bourse (LDB) stated that the value of stolen goods has not yet been confirmed, so it will not fuel media speculation by commenting in that respect. London’s media has placed the value of stolen goods at anywhere from $50 million to $300 million.

We are currently one of London’s most successful and leading safe deposit company aiming to provide our clients a secure and cost-effective solution to store and protect important and irreplaceable personal belongings

We are currently one of London’s most successful and leading safe deposit company aiming to provide our clients a secure and cost-effective solution to store and protect important and irreplaceable personal belongings

Over the Easter weekend. burglars used heavy equipment to break into a vault used mainly by jewellers and gold dealers, Hatton Garden Safe Deposit. “The amount of money and the goods that are taken is never fully revealed… and there’s a good chance that not everybody would declare.
“I would not be surprised, given where this one is in Hatton Garden, if £200m is around about the amount stolen.”
In 2003 jewellery, cash and valuables worth an estimated £1.5m were stolen when a criminal, posing as a customer, emptied a number of boxes at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company

jewel robbery.

[March 14 9525150 Dollar jewel hijack on French highway]

Just after midnight two trucks were passing through a motorway toll at Avallon, in Burgundy, when they were targeted. Four cars surrounded the lorries – laden with valuable goods – as up to 15 robbers wearing balaclavas and brandishing automatic weapons jumped out.
“The trucks were full of jewels and other valuable goods,” said a judicial source involved in the investigation. “They were driven away along with the four cars being used by the robbers.” [March 14 Difficult, however, to know what the robbers can concretely collect for the loot. “The ratio rarely exceeds 40% of the value for concealment. It is rather on the order of 20%. In all cases, in my opinion, having regard to the manner in which the robbery took place, we will not find the loot. »

[May 39 2014 Diamond heisters were expecting to find a large cash shipment instead of diamonds and were unprepared to deal with what they found]

the men were expecting to find a large cash shipment instead of diamonds and were unprepared to deal with what they found

the men were expecting to find a large cash shipment instead of diamonds and were unprepared to deal with what they found

Authorities in Morocco have reported the arrest of four men wanted in connection with a number of armed robberies, including the diamond robbery that took place at Brussels Airport in February of last year.

The four are wanted for “attempted murder, armed robbery at goods transport warehouses, a major jewel theft at a European airport and an armed attack on a Belgian hospital with the intention of helping a prisoner escape.
[January 3 2014]The man thought to be the brains behind the operation, Frenchman Marc Bertoldi, was released on bail last month. No trace of the stolen diamonds has been found, and investigators have speculated that the men were expecting to find a large cash shipment instead of diamonds and were unprepared to deal with what they found.

The latest suspect is a 43-year-old man identified only as Nordine A. He was arrested on 13 December but released after questioning and after giving a DNA sample. He was arrested a second time on 23 December and formally imprisoned the next day, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said. The prosecutor would not confirm that the arrest was related to DNA evidence found at the scene of the robbery.
The robbery at Zaventem took place on 18 February 2013, when eight armed and masked men in police uniforms attacked a Swiss airlines flight.

[July 26 2013]

Marc Bertoldi, the 'criminal mastermind' behind the heist

The grouinds for arrest were based “on anything,” according to his Metz lawyer , M e Olivier Rondu. Or more precisely a document fifty pages in which the Moroccan authorities say they have captured a conversation between Marc Bertoldi and his wife established in Casablanca. After connecting on his cell on 18 and 19 February, the masteremind said he had made a big hit, and if she was watching TV she would understand

Marc Bertoldi, the criminal mastermind behind the heist of at least tens of millions of dollars worth of rough diamonds from an airport in Belgium, has been deported to that country to stand trial. The 43-year-old suspect has a lengthy criminal record. Bertoldi is a French citizen and he was captured in France. Bertoldi admitted that he had sold some of the loot. However, he said he did not participate in the robbery. According to a report from Moroccan intelligence services, he called his wife to tell her to watch the news, saying he had done something big. Dimitri de Beco, his lawyer said that his phone had been left off for two days before the robbery, “This report not, more than five pages and is not signed . The Moroccan intelligence report is that he said to his wife, one day before the robbery, he would not be reachable. “these claims are questionable because Moroccan intelligence services do not specify how or where they got this information.”
Moreover, “the investigators of the Belgian police, who went to Casablanca as part of a commission, had never heard of this report,” says the lawyer, who said that “this information can not under no circumstances be used to keep my client in jail.” The judge Marc Bertoldi ruled that Bertoldi is suspected of being the author or, at least, to have participated in the spectacular robbery.

[May 8]

Brink's of Belgium truck robbed of lots of diamonds

Brink’s of Belgium truck robbed of lots of diamonds

Police in Belgium, Switzerland and France have arrested 31 people in connection with one of the world’s largest robberies of diamonds.

Belgian prosecutors say they have recovered large sums of money and some of the diamonds that were taken in a raid at Brussels airport in February.

Query: why was Brink’s the shipper for a portion of the diamonds going from Antwerp to Switzerland [not the other way around]? Exports of rough diamonds in February fell to 7.49 million carats from 9.10 million carats last year, while declining to US$1.12 billion from US$1.16 billion last year. Global miners such as De Beers and Rio take the entire quantity of rough diamonds directly to major hubs like Belgium, assort them and sell to global processors, to avoid taxes.
Brink’s of Belgium, whose truck was robbed on the airport tarmac of lots of diamonds, has a nasty legal battle with its unions ongoing. An inside job seems likely. They took 120 parcels of diamonds weighing 22lbs . They were uncut, with no certificate. “The perpetrators knew very clearly, ” said Caroline Wolf.

Faced with a complicated labor dispute in 2010, Brink’s cut its losses. Brink’s of Belgium, the cash-delivery business, declared bankruptcy. Its workers were laid off without severance. Brink’s moved management to the Netherlands, while keeping the lucrative Antwerp-based jewelry-delivery business. “We didn’t have a choice, we were losing too much money,” said Mr. Candel.

The unions filed suit in a Belgian court challenging the change in job status and lack of severance. “Brink’s acted as if we wouldn’t be vigilant, but we have lawyers,” said Valerie Van Waregem, a delegate for the socialist union.

Labor experts say Brink’s probably erred in not negotiating a compromise with unions over severance, something that is required in the event of bankruptcy by a 2008 EU directive. “We never refused a dialogue with the unions,” said Mr. Candel. “They refused to work.”

In Europe, “one cannot do what one would be able to do in the United States with a bankruptcy,” said Thomas Kohler, a professor of labor law at Boston College. “In U.S. law, employees are unsecured creditors. It’s a very different situation in Europe.”

The insurance for air transport – handled sometimes by airlines themselves or external insurance companies – is usually relatively cheap because it’s considered to be the safest way of transporting small high value items, logistics experts say.

Exports of rough diamonds in February fell to 7.49 million carats from 9.10 million carats last year, while declining to US$1.12 billion from US$1.16 billion last year. Global miners such as De Beers and Rio take the entire quantity of rough diamonds directly to major hubs like Belgium, assort them and sell to global processors, to avoid taxes.
Brink’s Co., a provider of armored cars to transport valuables, said a diamond robbery at Brussels airport will have a “significant impact” on first-quarter earnings.
A portion of the gems stolen two days ago was being shipped by Brink’s, the Richmond, Virgina-based company said today in a statement.
“The total loss exposure has not been verified, and the loss exposure for Brink’s has not been disclosed,” the company said. Brink’s “has a longstanding insurance program in place to cover its losses.”
Brink’s said that while the loss will hurt first-quarter earnings, the robbery won’t “materially affect” it’s full- year profit forecast.

But a robbery of this size also catches the eyes of people who study the illegal diamond trade. A decade ago, concern over so-called “blood diamonds,” which are diamonds mined in conflict zones, led to industry participation in a regulatory process designed to clarify a precious stone’s place of origin. The goal was to make it harder to use illegal diamond sales to finance armed conflicts.
In effect since 2003, the Kimberley Process is a voluntary system that combines compliance from industry, government, and non-government monitors. This morning’s stolen diamonds should fall under the Kimberly Process rules, which cover “rough” or uncut diamonds, not finished ones. This morning’s stolen diamonds were rough.
If they were going from Belgium to Switzerland, and they were rough, they would have needed a Kimberley certificate

Unicredit SpA’s German unit’s guilty pleas are connected to violations of U.S. sanctions programs, including those related to IRISL, the state-owned Iranian shipping company sanctioned over weapons of mass destruction, authorities said.

UniCredit’s German unit went to “great lengths” to help the Iranian shipping company evade sanctions and access the U.S. financial system, said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski.

[November 7 2018 new sanctions go into force ]

Screenshot 2018-11-07 at 10.32.07 AM - Edited


U.S. Treasury Department has published a new list of blacklisted Iranian entities. According to vessel-tracking services, the Iranian-owned fleet has “gone dark” and turned off its AIS transponders. As eight American trading partners have waivers to permit continued imports of Iranian crude, and a small number of other buyers will likely attempt to evade the sanctions regime, a subset of NITC’s vessels will likely have cargoes and commercial voyages for the foreseeable future. Iran has resumed the practice of renaming and transferring ownership of its vessels in order to keep its commerce flowing, as it did during the previous round of sanctions. Four ships on the new blacklist recently underwent name changes and partial ownership changes, but are still IRISL property. “The global maritime industry should be on alert for Iran’s use of such tactics and make every effort to thwart Iran’s use of their jurisdictions to create front companies; to revoke their flags from IRISL and NITC vessels; and to deny other means that enable Iran to conceal its interest in the vessels,” Treasury warned.

[August 20 2018   China to keep buying Iranian crude despite U.S. sanctions   ]

Image result for National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC)

Chinese buyers of Iranian oil are starting to shift their cargoes to vessels owned by National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC), Iran used a similar system between 2012 and 2016 to circumvent Western-led sanctions which were effective in curtailing exports because of a lack of insurance for the shipments.

It was not immediately clear how Iran would provide insurance for the Chinese oil purchases, worth some $1.5 billion a month. Insurance usually includes cover for the oil cargoes, third-party liability and pollution.
A ban on Iranian oil purchases will start in November. Insurers, which are mainly U.S. or European based, have already begun winding down their Iranian business to comply with the sanctions.

[August 19 Blacklist for Iran from Financiers? ]


Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental organization which underpins regimes combating money laundering and terrorist financing. It hopes it will be removed from a blacklist that makes some foreign investors reluctant to deal with it. Resistance to compliance with FATF standards argues it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanons Hezbollah

In June, FATF said Iran had until October to complete the reforms or face consequences that could further deter investors from the country, which has already been hit by the return of U.S. sanctions.

We expect Iran to enact amendments to its AML and CFT laws and ratify the Palermo and TF Conventions in full compliance with the FATF Standards by October 2018, otherwise, the FATF will decide upon appropriate and necessary actions at that time. [anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT)] [money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML/FT)] [United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC)-Palermo]



Offshore banks in Puerto Rico are able to open accounts with the Fed since the island is a U.S. territory. That gives them a competitive advantage over other offshore banking jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands, which have to access the U.S. financial system through expensive third-party correspondent banks. Sixteen of Puerto Rico’s 80 offshore banking and financial services firms are owned by Venezuelan individuals or companies, according to corporate registry records, and directors’ LinkedIn pages and personal websites. In July of 2018 DOJ charged Uruguayan national Marcelo Gutierrez with allegedly conspiring to launder funds embezzled from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA through a “bank in Puerto Rico” that he owned [Vestin Bank International], according to criminal investigation filings in Florida federal court. In February 2019, the FBI raided Puerto Rican offshore bank Banco San Juan International (BSJI) as part of a probe of money laundering and evasion of Venezuela-related sanctions. In 2016, BSJI reached a $300 million credit agreement with PDVSA, according to PDVSA’s financial statements from that year.