+ VW spent two years in the courts trying to suppress expert research showing that thousands of its cars are vulnerable to “keyless” car theft.
+ Etsy brags about “transparency,” then sets up secret offshore tax arrangement in Ireland, via Jesse Drucker.
+ Three years ago, temp worker Duquan “Day” Davis was crushed to death by a palletizer clogged with broken bottles at a Bacardi plant in Jacksonville, Florida. In his memory, worker health and safety advocates are calling for stronger protections for the surge of temporary employees who have entered the work force in recent years.
+ Photos have emerged of lion killer Walter Palmer posing with a massive black bear he illegally slaughtered nine years ago in Wisconsin, for which he was fined for lying to authorities and sentenced to a year of probation.
+ This is how foreign hedge funds evade tough investment rules to play in China’s stock markets.
+ Companies large and small that routinely face regulatory probes – Verizon, Pfizer, Comcast, Herbalife, LifeLock – sponsored the annual gathering of state attorneys general from Western states last month in Maui. Such conferences have been criticized in the past for giving corporate lobbyists and lawyers a chance in a casual setting to “push officials to drop investigations and reach favorable settlements.”
+ Cops in Minnesota cited the popularity of the Mayo Clinic for high-profile patients and other prominent state institutions in their requests for armored tactical vehicles from the Pentagon, according to public documents obtained by Mother Jones.
+ A botched EPA cleanup of an abandoned mine in Colorado “went horribly wrong,” spilling a million gallons of mining waste into a river.
+ Here are the internal documents that prove Uber, one of the stars of the much-hyped sharing economy, actually loses millions of dollars every year (via Gawker).
+ It goes way beyond Cecil: Every year, thousands of animals are slaughtered in wildlife-killing contests across the United States.
+ A psychological firm paid by the city of Baltimore to evaluate troubled cops, including a lieutenant charged in the killing of Freddie Gray, is under investigation for cutting corners in its mental health screenings of officers.
+ These are the frat boys linked to the JPMorgan hack, one of the largest bank hacks in U.S. history: Anthony Murgio was arrested and is out on bail but Josh Aaron’s whereabouts are unknown.
+ Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker was investigated during a 2011 criminal probe into a real estate deal, with one investigator saying there was “probable cause to believe” he committed a felony, according to court documents filed in federal court on Wednesday.
+ The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, details of which remain secret, is set to be finalized this week as negotiators meet in Hawaii. Details on the framework agreement that have been leaked include provisions that seem to allow investors to sue countries in extra-national tribunals, increase intellectual property protections by criminalizing violators and lower privacy protections of personal information. The TPP is also expected to open up bidding for major infrastructure projects to foreign bidders, which should benefit Japan and the U.S..
+ “Sea Slaves: Forced Labor for Cheap Fish” is the next story in Ian Urbina’s devastating series on the dangers and risks faced by those who toil on boats that sail the outlaw ocean. Also, the AP tracked down slave fishermen who were captives of a brutal Southeast Asian trafficking ring.
+ Over 1,000 days after Hurricane Sandy wreaked destruction on the Northeast coast, only 64 homes (out of 15,100 homeowners who sought help) have been finished.
+ The $30 billion global palm-oil industry, booming with demand from the U.S. and China, contributes to Asia’s human trafficking problem, rights advocates tell the Wall Street Journal.
+ The Texas county where Sandra Bland died in custody has a long history of racial tension, including a race riot in the wake of the Civil War and the establishment of a White Man’s Party set up to block black political participation.
+ Uber knows to bring an army (of lobbyists) to a knife fight – the ride-sharing phenomenon which just cut a deal with NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio has a lobbying force bigger than Walmart with 250 lobbyists and 49 lobbying firms. That army of influence allows it to operate with little or no regulation in cities across the country, from Texas (where it spent $945,000) and California ($684,000) to Seattle ($600,000) and Washington, D.C. ($314,000).
+ Amid Apple’s disappointing earnings on Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook lashed out at a research firm that made headlines recently by citing poor sales figures for the Apple Watch. Cook said Slice Intelligence’s finding that Watch sales had fallen by 90% since its launch was “absolutely false” and denied there was a slowdown in sales, telling the WSJ that Watch sales in June were greater than in May or April. It’s not clear if Cook was referring to all sales or just online sales, which is what Slice tracks based on email receipts sent to online shoppers. A spokesperson for Slice told The Reveal that the firm stands by its data.
+ Inside the family feud over the Newman’s Own food empire in the wake of Paul Newman’s death in 2008.
+ Sandra Bland told her jailers that she had tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills after losing a baby in 2014, according to documents obtained by Houston’s KPRC 2. Her family insists that there is “no evidence” of a previous suicide attempt.
+ JPMorgan Chase knew that the feds were investigating the nation’s biggest drug-testing lab… but they didn’t share that info with investors about to lend $1.8 billion to Millennium Health LLC, reports Bloomberg News.
+ You knew this was coming when Tim Hortons merged with Burger King last year – the Canadian coffee shop chain will be offering buyouts to 15 percent of its employees.
+ The new version of Alipay, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s payment service, has features that target rival Tencent’s social networking app WeChat and review site Dianping, according to the China Business News.
+ Get out your handkerchiefs! Though Goldman Sachs’s prop trading group generated $1.8 billion, the highest amount in a year, the firm’s employees saw their pay slide on average to $373, 181, according to the firm’s latest earnings. (Chart via Zero Hedge)
The Malaysian state investment firm at the heart of the corruption scandal involving allegations that $700 million in public funds was funneled into the personal bank accounts of prime minister Najib Razak is audited by Deloitte, one of the Big Four accounting firms.
Now tough questions are being raised over Deloitte’s failure to red-flag the suspicious transactions at IMDB, as well as the fund’s $11.1 billion debt and that some investments have benefited donors to Razak’s political party.
Last year, blue-chip accounting firm KPMG refused to sign off on IMDB’s financials, Nur Jazlan, the chairman of Malaysia’s audit committee told the New York Times. The fund quickly signed up Deloitte, which was considered a good sign by some officials such as Jazlan who said “They wouldn’t sanction the accounts if there was a problem.”
Now, in the wake of all the revelations about problems at the fund, 1MDB and Deloitte are both being probed by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. And officials from both Deloitte and KPMG have both been hauled in to testify over their apparent lack of oversight at parliamentary hearings led by the Public Accounts Committee, where the firms vigorously defended their accounting and auditing.
Opposition lawmakers have alleged that Deloitte failed to report dubious transactions unearthed while auditing 1MBD’s books. Though it seems like a conflict of interest given that the firm is also the subject of a probe, the committee asked Deloitte to expedite its current audit of the fund and to report the results to parliament.
France, which in March 2010 had the greatest exposure (€52 billion) to the Greek debt crisis, has managed to use the massive bailout of Greece to offload its own junk debt onto its neighbors and imperil their economies, according to a fascinating new blog post at the Council on Foreign Relations site.
By May 2010, the IMF and Eurozone had bailed out Greece with €110 billion of loans, which helped the country avoid defaulting on loans it owed to French banks. Since then, France has been able to slash its Greek exposure from 40% to 0.6% while its neighbors, especially Spain and Italy, have seen their exposure skyrocket from virtually nothing to €25 billion and €39 billion, respectively. If Greece had been allowed to default back in 2010, those countries wouldn’t be currently burdened with so much debt.
The chart in this tweet tells the whole story:
As Benn Steil and Dinah Walker succinctly note:
In short, France has managed to use the Greek bailout to offload €8 billion in junk debt onto its neighbors and burden them with tens of billions more in debt they could have avoided had Greece simply been allowed to default in 2010. The upshot is that Italy and Spain are much closer to financial crisis today than they should be.