Article: Foreign national paid for private planes that took runaway Texas Democrats to Washington

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Foreign national paid for private planes that took runaway Texas Democrats to Washington

WorldTribune, 14 July 2021

Election integrity would seem to be a bi-partisan joke. Even in Texas.

“If they (Democrats) felt like walking out was representing their districts, I was not going to force them to vote on a piece of legislation that was offensive to their district.”

That’s how freshman Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan responded to questions surrounding the Texas Democrats’ latest attempt to delay passage of a voter integrity bill by flying to Washington D.C., the Corpus Christi Caller Times reports. Continue reading “Article: Foreign national paid for private planes that took runaway Texas Democrats to Washington”

Article: China Resident Indicted For Laundering Millions Of Fraud Proceeds Through Big Island Properties

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China Resident Indicted For Laundering Millions Of Fraud Proceeds Through Big Island Properties

Department of Justice, 14 June 2021

HONOLULU – A federal grand jury returned an indictment on June 10, 2021, charging Yao Zhungjun, 50, of Beijing, China, a former project manager at J.R. Simplot Company, an entity operating out of China, which had acquired the Jacklin Seed Company, a producer and marketer of grass seed and turfgrass based in Liberty Lake, Washington, with conspiracy to commit money laundering as part of multiple schemes to defraud Simplot, and route the proceeds through real estate developments in Hawaii.

Judith A. Philips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to the indictment, Yao solicited grass seed orders at artificially inflated prices from Chinese customers and then negotiated kickback payments from those customers in exchange for rebate payments from Simplot. Christopher Claypool, Jacklin’s general manager, approved and Yao collected millions of dollars in kickbacks from just one Chinese grass seed distributor, Beijing Oasis, on more than $10 million in rebates Simplot paid to Beijing Oasis. Continue reading “Article: China Resident Indicted For Laundering Millions Of Fraud Proceeds Through Big Island Properties”

Article: Vatican financial crime charges are due to lack of experience

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Vatican financial crime charges are due to lack of experience

Anna Fero, 09 June 2021

On May 17, 2021, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Climate Commitment Act. The legislation creates a market-based, economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state. The legislation includes provisions ordering the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) to “consider opportunities to implement the [cap-and-trade] program in a manner that allows linking the state’s program with those of other jurisdictions.”

Until now, California has been the only state with a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. California’s program began operation in 2013, and has been linked with Québec’s cap-and-trade system since 2014. Now, Washington’s new cap-and-trade legislation paves the way for a Washington-California linkage agreement. Continue reading “Article: Vatican financial crime charges are due to lack of experience”

Article: Traders Shouldn’t Get Prison Time in Spoofing Case, Probation Office Says

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Traders Shouldn’t Get Prison Time in Spoofing Case, Probation Office Says

Dave Michaels, 25 May 2021

WASHINGTON—Two former Deutsche Bank traders convicted of manipulating precious-metals prices shouldn’t go to prison, federal probation officers recommended, sparking a backlash from prosecutors who sought terms of almost five years or more.

A federal jury in September convicted James Vorley and Cedric Chanu of wire fraud after a two-week trial over their trading of gold and silver on futures exchanges operated by CME Group Inc. Prosecutors alleged the pair engaged in spoofing, a type of rapid-fire market manipulation that traders and regulators say was once rampant in futures markets. Continue reading “Article: Traders Shouldn’t Get Prison Time in Spoofing Case, Probation Office Says”

Article: Will ‘Global Britain’ clamp down on money laundering?

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Will ‘Global Britain’ clamp down on money laundering?

Tom Burgis, 28 April 2021

In March 2014, a few days after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Crimea, a British official arriving for a meeting of the UK’s National Security Council failed to shield his notes from the Downing Street photographers. Any response to the Kremlin’s aggression should not, the notes read, “close London’s financial centre to Russians”. The government subsequently explained that it “wanted to target action against Moscow and not damage British interests”.

Seven years on, the assessment is very different. Last year’s report on Russia by parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee — eventually published after a contentious delay — found that the warm British welcome for Russian money “offered ideal mechanisms by which illicit finance could be recycled through what has been referred to as the London ‘laundromat’”. Continue reading “Article: Will ‘Global Britain’ clamp down on money laundering?”

Article: Currency control is not black and white

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Currency control is not black and white

SCMP Editorial, 18 April 2021

There are myriad ways for a government to affect the direction and value of its national currency. Some are labelled currency manipulation; others not. It depends on one’s definitions. Those of the United States Treasury mean the country cannot engage in such manipulation, an alleged sin only other economies can commit. Therefore it sits in judgment of others and threatens sanctions against those who allegedly game the global “rules-based” trade system.

However, spending trillions of US dollars on bond buying – also known as quantitative easing – for more than a decade and on economic relief packages to support growth and encourage inflation have achieved the same or similar results as manipulation. They have already caused significant depreciation of the US dollar against most major currencies and the slide is expected to continue. It is doubly ironic that in the middle of a trade and ideological war between the world’s two superpowers, Washington has, in its wisdom, declined to label mainland China as a currency manipulator but added friendly Taiwan to the watch list. The political nature of the exercise was exposed when the US Treasury, under former president Donald Trump, designated China as a manipulator in mid-2019, despite not meeting its full criteria, and then abruptly lifted the label five months later as a concession in a trade deal. Continue reading “Article: Currency control is not black and white”

Article: US Treasury says no major trading partner manipulates currency

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US Treasury says no major trading partner manipulates currency

Xinhua, 17 April 2021

WASHINGTON — The US Treasury Department on Friday said that no major trading partner of the United States meets the criteria as a currency manipulator, but Vietnam, Switzerland and China’s Taiwan will be under enhanced monitoring for their currency practices.

In its semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States, the Treasury Department concluded that Vietnam, Switzerland and Taiwan met all three criteria for enhanced currency analysis under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 during the four quarters through December 2020. Continue reading “Article: US Treasury says no major trading partner manipulates currency”

Article: Switzerland’s SNB Still Ready for Forex Intervention as U.S. Drops Manipulator Tag

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Switzerland’s SNB Still Ready for Forex Intervention as U.S. Drops Manipulator Tag

John Revill, 16 April 2021

ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank (SNB) said on Friday it remained ready to intervene in foreign exchange markets, after the U.S. Treasury Department dropped its currency manipulator label for the country even though it met criteria for the designation.

The Swiss central bank noted the U.S. Treasury Department did not use the term currency manipulator in a new report, adding its foreign exchange purchases were not intended to alter Swiss balance of payments or unfairly help the Swiss economy.

“The SNB’s position is therefore clear: Switzerland does not engage in any currency manipulation,” the SNB said. Continue reading “Article: Switzerland’s SNB Still Ready for Forex Intervention as U.S. Drops Manipulator Tag”

Article: Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests

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Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests

DANIEL L DAVIS, 11 April 2021

Being “tough on China” is politically popular in Washington these days, and Biden has come out of the gate swinging against Beijing. But “being tough” isn’t a policy and reflexively applying it to China doesn’t serve U.S. interests. A logical and realistic approach to Beijing, however, can.

Obama’s “pivot to Asia” in 2011 opened a new chapter in Sino-American relations and turned an always challenging relationship even more tense. From the beginning of his administration, Trump characterized China in starkly adversarial terms, calculating domestic political advantage in starting a trade war. In the early months of the Biden term, it appears the new president has chosen to accelerate this deterioration in relations. Continue reading “Article: Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests”

Article: Matt Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign as Pressure Mounts

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Matt Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign as Pressure Mounts

Siobhan Hughes and Sadie Gurman, 02 April 2021

WASHINGTON—Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) on Friday said he wouldn’t resign in the face of rising pressure over reports that the FBI has been investigating him since last summer, in part over whether he broke federal sex-trafficking laws.

“Of course not,” Mr. Gaetz said in a text message Friday, addressing whether he would leave office. He declined to say more, citing Good Friday. His lawyer also said Mr. Gaetz wouldn’t step down.

With the House in recess, members have been largely silent about Mr. Gaetz since Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) earlier in the week referred to “serious implications” in connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry. But in the state capital of Tallahassee, Republicans were already discussing who would replace Mr. Gaetz, people familiar with the conversations said. Continue reading “Article: Matt Gaetz Says He Won’t Resign as Pressure Mounts”

Article: U.S. trade chief voices concern to Vietnam over currency practices

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U.S. trade chief voices concern to Vietnam over currency practices

Eric Beech, 01 April 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in a call on Thursday with Vietnam’s minister of industry and trade, highlighted U.S. concerns about Vietnam’s currency practices, a USTR statement said.

Tai and the Vietnamese minister Tran Tuan Anh also “discussed U.S. concerns on illegal timber practices, digital trade and agriculture,” the statement said.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade in a statement on Friday said Vietnam and the United States “will continue to actively cooperate to comprehensively address the concerns to maintain a stable trade relation.” Continue reading “Article: U.S. trade chief voices concern to Vietnam over currency practices”

Article: WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam

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WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam

KRISTIN M. KRAEMER, 31 March 2021

The president of one of the largest agricultural operations in Washington state has admitted concocting a scheme to defraud Tyson Foods and another company out of more than $244 million.

Cody A. Easterday, 49, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in a case that federal prosecutors are calling a “ghost-cattle scam.”

Easterday, who’s also chief executive officer of Easterday Ranches Inc., charged the two companies under various agreements for the costs of buying and feeding 200,000 cattle, when those cattle did not actually exist, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. Continue reading “Article: WA rancher Easterday pleads guilty to stealing $244M in ‘ghost cattle’ scam”

Article: CFTC hits former fuel-oil trader with $100,000 penalty for market manipulation

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CFTC hits former fuel-oil trader with $100,000 penalty for market manipulation

Reuters, 25 March 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has settled charges against a former fuel oil trader for market manipulation, the regulator said in a statement on Thursday.

Emilio José Heredia Collado admitted to manipulating, and attempting to manipulate, a U.S. fuel oil benchmark. The CFTC hit Heredia with a $100,000 civil penalty and permanently banned him from trading commodity interests, the statement said.

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Article: North Korean appears in U.S. court on sanctions-evasion money-laundering charges

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North Korean appears in U.S. court on sanctions-evasion money-laundering charges

David Brunnstrom and Mark Hosenball, 22 March 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A North Korean businessman accused by the United States of laundering money to circumvent U.S. and U.N. sanctions intended to curb his country’s nuclear weapons program appeared in a U.S. court on Monday after extradition from Malaysia.

The U.S. Justice Department said Mun Chol Myong, who it said was affiliated with North Korea’s primary intelligence organization, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, was the first North Korean ever extradited to the United States.

It said Mun appeared in federal court in Washington, where he was indicted in May 2019 on six counts of money laundering, including conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mun was arrested in Malaysia in 2019 after the United States accused him of laundering funds through front companies and issuing fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to North Korea. He denied the allegations, saying they were politically motivated.

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Article: U.S. commodities regulator monitoring silver markets activity -acting chairman

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U.S. commodities regulator monitoring silver markets activity -acting chairman

Lisa Lambert, 02 February 2021

WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. commodities regulator is closely monitoring recent activity in the silver markets and working with fellow regulators to address any potential from the moves, said its acting chairman, Rostin Behnam, in a statement released on Monday.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission “is communicating with fellow regulators, the exchanges, and stakeholders to address any potential threats to the integrity of the derivatives markets for silver, and remains vigilant in surveilling these markets for fraud and manipulation,” Behnam said.

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