Morning reading. 25 stories.
Artur Baptista faces prosecution after faking his 'career' as a famous economist.
As an ex-presidential consultant, a former adviser to the World Bank, a financial researcher for the United Nations and a professor in the US, Artur Baptista da Silva's outspoken attacks on Portugal's austerity cuts made the bespectacled 61-year-old one of the country's leading media pundits last year.
The only problem was that Mr Baptista da Silva is none of the above. He turned out to be a convicted forger with fake credentials and, following his spectacular hoodwinking of Portuguese society, he could soon face fraud charges.
Yet in the country's jails, Mr Baptista da Silva's sudden appearance among the intellectual elite caused amazement among his former cellmates. A colleague from his old school, lawyer Ricardo Sa Fernandes, who had come across Mr Baptista da Silva behind bars by chance when visiting one of his clients, told Visao magazine that when he saw the convicted fraudster on TV he was "staggered by his ability to put his past life behind him."
Colombian Drug Trafficker In HSBC Case Faces 18 Years In Federal Prison, Bankers Will Pay Fines Instead
Drug cartels sold narcotics in the United States and routed the cash to Mexico, often using couriers to smuggle it across the border. That cash would then be put into bank accounts at HSBC's Mexico unit, where large deposits could be made without arousing suspicion, according to U.S. Department of Justice documents.
In one filing, U.S. prosecutors said, Chaparro and others allegedly utilized accounts at HSBC Mexico to deposit "drug dollars and then wire those funds to ... businesses located in the United States and elsewhere. The funds were then used to purchase consumer goods, which were exported to South America and resold to generate 'clean' cash."
In a typical transaction, a middleman in a drug cartel would offer to deliver consumer goods, such as computers or washing machines, to Colombian businesses on favorable terms. Another person in the United States would buy the goods from firms using funds from drug trafficking, and fulfill those orders. The situation was so bad, according to the Department of Justice, that in 2008, the head of HSBC's Mexican operations was told by Mexican regulators that a local drug lord described the bank as "the place to launder money."
Chaparro, who was arrested in Colombia in 2010 and extradited to the United States in 2011, pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy count in May and is awaiting sentencing in a federal detention center in Brooklyn. "He is contrite, regretful and ashamed about his crimes. He wants to serve his time and rejoin his family. He understands that a prison term could prevent that from happening for many years."
Under federal guidelines, he could face 15 to 18 years in prison.
An HSBC spokesman declined comment.
I did a double take Wednesday, when I noticed a pair of new suits by Lehman Brothers Holdings in federal court in Colorado. The complaints, which are almost identical, claim that the mortgage originator Universal American Mortgage breached representations and warranties about loans it sold to Lehman, which subsequently suffered losses as a result of those breaches. But here's the thing: Each suit addresses only one supposedly deficient loan!
The Lehman complaints each also contained a curious paragraph, noting that the claims at issue were previously asserted as counts in an eight-loan put-back case Lehman was litigating in federal court in Miami. The judge in that case, Lehman said, had decided after a pretrial conference last week that "each loan must be filed separately, rather than joined within one action."
Coach Saves Day - 2 Students Saved After 70-Year Old Coach Shoots Attackers
Grandpa was packing heat.
Photos by William Banzai7 and Jonas Ekstromer / Scanpix Sweden via Reuters