The situation in North Dakota with the Standing Rock Sioux defending their land to prevent the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is becoming increasingly dire. At the bare minimum you should be aware of what’s happening as a militarized police force is attacking unarmed indigenous people who are protecting their rights and what they hold sacred: land and water. Now is not the time to be willfully ignorant and asleep. Below are just some of the major banks that are funding the theft of indigenous land. This week I am shutting down my #tdbank account and moving my entire life savings to a credit union. I’m tired of pulling levers every four years hoping a savior will stand against the corporate beast they are beholden to. The beast must be bled dry.

In 2012 I filmed this speech by Annawon Weeden (Mashpee Wampanoag) at the National Day of Mourning and I think it still resonates.

#nationaldayofmourning #nodapl #waterislife #hate5six #wellfargo #bnpparibas #suntrust #mizuhobank #citibank #citigroup #tdbank #tdsecurities #creditagricole #intesasanpaolo #ingbank #natixis #bayernlb #bbvasecurities #dnbfirstbank #icbclondon #smbcnikkosecurities (at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe)

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Citigroup acquires EMI


Tuesday February 1, 2011

By Ben Cardew, Music Week.

No music major now remains in British hands following the sale of EMI to US bank Citigroup.

The move immediately opened questions about a possible sell off of parts or the whole of the company.

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Following the acquisition of the debt-laden major, which had been widely expected to take place later this year, Citi announced a recapitalisation of the company. As a result, the company’s debt has been reduced by 65% from £3.4bn to £1.2bn and the company now has in excess of £300m in cash available.

Citi said the new capital structure provided EMI with the financial strength and flexibility to deliver on its strategy to maximise value for its artists and songwriters.

EMI CEO Roger Faxon said this is “an extremely positive step for the company”.

Faxon added, “It has given us one of the most robust balance sheets in the industry with a modest level of debt and substantial liquidity. With that solid footing, we are confident in our ability to drive our business forward.“

However, the move also raised the question of a possible sell off: both BMG Rights and Warner are interested in the company’s recorded music division, home to acts including The Beatles and Pink Floyd. There are also several parties interested in its profitable music publishing business.

A Citigroup insider told Music Week the bank had little interest in keeping hold of EMI as a going concern. He said, “[Citi] has already been in talks with all the relevant majors about selling off the various parts of the company.”

For the moment, however, EMI continues under the same leadership that has helped to improve the day-to-day running of the music major over the past year.

“We have already made great progress in meeting the challenges facing our industry,” said Faxon. “The closer alliance between our two operating divisions is already delivering impressive results on behalf of the creative talent we are privileged to represent. We have a clear vision for the future, a strong and committed management team, and now the right capital and financial structure in place to deliver successful outcomes for artists and songwriters.”

Private equity group Terra Firma bought EMI for £4.2bn in summer 2007 with funding from Citigroup.

However, the company’s stewardship of the music major has been rocky, with several leading artists departing and considerable problems with servicing debts.

Peter Spratt and Tony Lomas of PwC were today (Tuesday) appointed as joint administrators of Maltby Investments Limited (MIL), the holding company of Maltby Acquisitions Ltd, which is parent company to EMI. MAL was then sold to Citi. The swift move means the EMI business was not affected by the administration.

Spratt said, “As a result of a default under MIL’s loan facilities, and the subsequent acceleration of the outstanding debt, Tony Lomas and I were appointed as administrators. Since that appointment, MAL and hence the EMI Group has been sold to Citi.

“This transaction has enabled ownership of the EMI Group to transfer without any disruption. We feel that this represents the best outcome for the EMI Group, its employees, artists and suppliers.”

Bloomberg: Banks scored sneaky profits on emergency loans
  • $13 billion earned by banks via roundabout loans source

» How they worked: These banks took advantage of a set of emergency loans from the Federal Reserve distributed between August 2007 and April 2010. Bloomberg Markets magazine did the math on the numbers and figured out that, by looking at the companies’ net interest margin, you could see how the companies took advantage of the below-market rates they got on the loans to earn a profit. The companies that scored the biggest paydays? Citigroup, which earned $1.8 billion, and Bank of America, which earned $1.5 billion.

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Women in Pizza: Jen Wright

**In celebration of Women’s History Month, I’ll be posting about women in the pizza community every few days this month. The pizza biz is pretty male-dominated, so let’s take this opportunity to throw the spotlight onto some of the women who are doing amazing work in the pizza world. 

Jen Wright is the co-founder and president of GreenBox, the pizza box that just might save the planet. Beyond being a 100% recycled box (not terribly uncommon), the GreenBox has a secondary use. The lid breaks apart to form four plates and the base folds into itself to form a storage container for leftover slices. It’s absolutely brilliant!

Although she definitely loves pizza, Jen’s true background is in business. The economic downturn of 2008 pushed her out of her gig at Citigroup and onto the Columbia Business School campus, where she earned her MBA. By the end of 2009, she formed Ecovention, the original name of the umbrella company that produces the GreenBox, with Ned Kensing and the box’s inventor William Walsh.

The team developed the product, which Jen presented on the TV show Shark Tank. The box has inspired several copycats, but GreenBox remains the clear leader in pizza box innovation in terms of reusability and marketing capabilities. With Jen Wright at the helm, it’s likely you’ll be seeing way more GreenBoxes at your local pizzeria and fewer big pizza boxes shoved into trash cans.  

Citigroup literally wrote part of the spending bill that eases up on banks

As Mother Jones reports, at the very end of the negotiation process of the bill — which must pass in order to fund government operations in 2016 — members of Congress slipped in language that was written “almost entirely” by Citigroup lobbyists to allow big banks to engage in more risky trading with taxpayer-backed money.

As you can see, the language in the bill is almost exactly the same as a draft written by Citigroup’s lobbyists.
News Citigroup doesn't want you to hear

CITIGROUP is lucky that Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed when he was. The Libyan leader’s death diverted attention from a lethal article involving Citigroup that deserved more attention because it helps to explain why many average Americans have expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The news was that Citigroup had to pay a $285 million fine to settle a case in which, with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.

It doesn’t get any more immoral than this. As the Securities and Exchange Commission civil complaint noted, in 2007, Citigroup exercised “significant influence” over choosing $500 million of the $1 billion worth of assets in the deal, and the global bank deliberately chose collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s, built from mortgage loans almost sure to fail. According to The Wall Street Journal, the S.E.C. complaint quoted one unnamed C.D.O. trader outside Citigroup as describing the portfolio as resembling something your dog leaves on your neighbor’s lawn. “The deal became largely worthless within months of its creation,” The Journal added. “As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.”

I think what we should probably do is go and split up investment banking from (consumer) banking. Have banks be deposit-takers; have banks make commercial loans and real estate loans; and have banks do something that’s not gonna risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not gonna be too big to fail.

Former Citigroup chairman and CEO SANFORD WEILL, appearing on CNBC to suggest that banks should separate their investment and consumer businesses altogether to help prevent a repeat of Wall Street’s financial collapse.

Everyone’s surprised, since Weill and his ilk gave us “too big to fail” in the first place.  And, as Jon Stewart pointed out on tonight’s Daily Show, it started with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act – which mandated separation of commercial and investment banks – in 1999… a repeal Weill pushed for.


The Significance of Citigroup's Shareholder Revolt

The shareholders of Wall Street giant Citigroup are out to prove that corporate democracy isn’t an oxymoron. They’ve said no to the exorbitant $15 million pay package of Citi’s CEO Vikram Pandit, as well as to the giant pay packages of Citi’s four other top executives.

The vote, at Citigroup’s annual meeting in Dallas Tuesday, isn’t binding on Citigroup. But it’s a warning shot across the bow of every corporate boardroom in America.

Shareholders aren’t happy about executive pay.

And why should they be? CEO pay at large publicly-held corporations is now typically 300 times the pay of the average American worker. It was 40 times average worker pay in the 1960s and has steadily crept upward since then as corporations have morphed into “winner-take-all” contraptions that reward their top executives with boundless beneficence and perks while slicing the jobs, wages, and benefits of almost everyone else.

Meanwhile, too many of these same corporations have failed to deliver for their shareholders. Citigroup, for example, has had the worst stock performance among all large banks for the last decade but ranked among the highest in executive pay. 

The real news here is new-found activism among institutional investors – especially the managers of pension funds and mutual funds. They’re the ones who fired the warning shot Tuesday.

Institutional investors are catching on to a truth they should have understood years ago: When executive pay goes through the roof, there’s less money left for everyone else who owns shares of the company.

For too long, most fund managers played the game passively and obediently. Some have been too cozy with top corporate management, forgetting their fiduciary duty to their own investors. How else do you explain the abject failure of fund managers to police Wall Street as it careened toward the abyss in 2008? Or to adequately oversee executives, such as the Enron criminals, who were looting their companies in the years before 2002?

The new Dodd-Frank law, much of which is being eviscerated by Wall Street’s lawyers and lobbyists, at least requires that public companies give shareholders a say on pay. As a practical matter, this gives institutional investors the chance to speak clearly and openly about the scandal of unbridled executive compensation. 

Two key questions for the future: Will institutional investors keep the pressure on? And will CEOs and boards of directors get the message? 

Big Bank Profile: Citigroup

Federal taxpayer bailout received:                           $341.1 billion

Lobbying fees in 9 months after bailout:                     $4.9 million

Campaign contributions in 2008 federal elections:         $5.6 million

Profits for 1998-2008:                                         $145.8 billion

Profits for the first half of 2009:                              $5.9 billion

Bank fees for first half of 2009:                               $326 million

Change in bank account fees (2003-08):                     +22.0%

Credit card income for first half of 2009:                    $5.2 billion

Percent of first half 2009 profit from fees & credit cards:  95%

Median Citibank teller wage:                                   $12.44/hour

2008 CEO Vikram Pandit pay:                      $10.8 million (414x teller wage)

2008 bonus pool:                                                $5.3 billion

First half 2009 bonus and compensation pool:               $12.8 billion

Bonuses (top 5 execs) last 10 years:                           $388.1 million

Effective tax rate in 2008:                          38.9% in 2008; -321.9% in 2007

Offshore subsidiaries in tax havens:                            427

Citigroup shutting down prop trading unit -CFO

Banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have already unwound similar businesses in preparation for stricter government regulation under the Volcker Rule.The Volcker Rule, which goes into effect next year, is aiming to prevent banks from making risky trades by prohibiting short-term trading for their own profit.Citi spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said Citi’s Equity Principal Strategies unit, is a “de minimis part of Citi’s overall trading operation.”“As it does not fit with Citi’s business model under the impending Volcker rule, it is in the process of being wound down,” Romero-Apsilos said in an emailed statement.

A federal judge in New York on Monday threw out a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup over a 2007 mortgage derivatives deal, saying that the S.E.C.’s policy of settling cases by allowing a company to neither admit nor deny the agency’s allegations did not satisfy the law.

The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled that the S.E.C.’s $285 million settlement, announced last month, is “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest” because it does not provide the court with evidence on which to judge the settlement.

The ruling could throw the S.E.C.’s enforcement efforts into chaos, because a majority of the fraud cases and other actions that the agency brings against Wall Street firms are settled out of court, most often with a condition that the defendant does not admit that it violated the law while also promising not to deny it.

That condition gives a company or individual an advantage in subsequent civil litigation for damages, because cases in which no facts are established cannot be used in evidence in other cases, like shareholder lawsuits seeking recovery of losses or damages.

The S.E.C.’s policy — “hallowed by history, but not by reason,” Judge Rakoff wrote — creates substantial potential for abuse, the judge said, because “it asks the court to employ its power and assert its authority when it does not know the facts.”

The S.E.C. did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the judge’s decision, which was released Monday morning. A Citigroup spokesman said the company was studying the decision and had no immediate comment.


The New York Times, “Judge Blocks Citigroup Settlement With S.E.C.”

“…the S.E.C.’s policy of settling cases by allowing a company to neither admit nor deny the agency’s allegations did not satisfy the law.”

Fucking A.

Citigroup settles civil fraud complaint over derivatives scheme
  • $285 million payout by Citigroup over fraud complaint source

» A tidy little sum: It’s being reported that Citigroup has agreed to the above settlement, which would bring to an end a civil fraud complaint filed by some of their investors. The story is, as it happens, quite similar to what Goldman Sachs was found to have done (Goldman shelled out $550 million in that case). Citigroup helped structure investment portfolios for their clients without telling them that the bank itself was selecting the assets while betting against their success. In simple terms, a conflict of interest, and one that netted the company nearly $1 billion dollars. That figure, also, says something about the problem of mega-corporations buying out of legal trouble; namely, the amount it costs to satisfy a plaintiff is nearly never enough to such a company to truly dissuade the behavior.

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Ex-Citigroup VP Admits Embezzling Over $22 Million

Gary Foster, 35, pleaded guilty to bank fraud, admitting that he took the money between 2003 and 2010. He appeared in U.S. district court in Brooklyn before Judge Eric Vitaliano.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Yaeger said the government will request a prison sentence of eight to 10 years. Foster will remain free on $800,000 bail until he is sentenced.