Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
Och-Ziff’s Sprawling Africa Bribery Network Laid Out by U.S. (Bloomberg) Hedge fund founder Dan Och overruled his own lawyers and compliance officers when they raised warnings about a potentially corrupt partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Then the firm booked a series of bribes there as investments. Those actions are part of a multiyear bribery conspiracy across Africa that benefited Och’s firm, Och-Ziff Capital Management LP, U.S. authorities said Thursday. The prosecution included regulatory sanctions against Och and another executive, a guilty plea by an Och-Ziff unit and $415 million in fines and penalties. It also broke new ground: Och-Ziff became the first hedge fund to be criminally sanctioned by the U.S. in an emerging-economy bribery scheme. Econintersect: Is the U.S. running a protection racket or will they convict these criminals?
Quote of the Day(Twitter) Henry Ford was an uneducated man so that gave him an advantage in learning how things really work.
EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis(Walter Kurtz, Sober Look, The Daily Shot) The EUR/USD cross-currency basis is widening again, suggesting that dollar funding is tightening for European banks.
Brexit divorce lawyers eye up EU’s wine list (Financial Times) Britain is planning to claim a share of the EU’s 42,000-bottle cellar of wine, cognac and other spirits, its art collection and its €8.7bn property portfolio as the government gears up to haggle over Brexit with Brussels. As in any divorce, untangling EU-UK financial affairs is expected to be one of the most difficult part of the negotiations. Any exit deal must settle complex liabilities including the UK share of guarantees on €60bn of Eurocrat pensions and almost €20bn of European Investment Bank loans. As it seeks to minimize any financial hit, Britain is eyeing the other side of the EU’s balance sheet, which includes assets ranging from land and office space to dozens of space satellites, the European Parliament’s art collection, the wine and spirits stock - and Margaret Thatcher’s old Conservative party citadel in Westminster.
Greece’s Least Wanted Man Lives in Maryland (Bloomberg) Andreas Georgiou fixed the country’s fake stats, now he faces criminal charges. For 21 years, Andreas Georgiou worked in relative obscurity as an economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington. When the European debt crisis hit and his home country of Greece began teetering toward bankruptcy, Georgiou felt a patriotic urge to help. In early 2010 he applied online to run a newly created office designed to clean up Greece’s much maligned economic statistics. He got the job, and in August 2010 he moved to Greece for a five-year term as president of the Hellenic Statistical Authority. Six years later, rather than being seen as a hero who helped fix Greece’s broken finances, Georgiou is vilified there. His review of the country’s public accounting exposed years of bogus statistics and along the way made him a target for critics who blame him for the strict austerity measures Greece’s creditors imposed. Last year, Georgiou, 55, moved back to suburban Maryland and now faces a variety of civil and criminal charges in Greece, including one that could put him in prison for life. What for? For being honest. Here's the scoop:
Georgiou uncovered lots of problems: Payment obligations weren’t being counted; social security payouts were being improperly calculated; interest on government bonds had been misstated. He required 17 government-owned entities, including railways, bus companies, and the state-run TV network, all of which were losing money, to be put on the books. That alone added €18.2 billion ($20 billion) to Greece’s debt.
Eventually, Georgiou restated Greece’s 2009 budget deficit to 15.4 percent of gross domestic product, 1.8 percentage points higher than the ratio the country used in negotiating its first bailout with the European Union and the IMF. Politicians claimed Georgiou had inflated Greece’s deficit so creditors could impose tougher austerity measures such as pension cuts and tax increases. Georgiou says the EU’s statistical arm consistently endorsed his numbers, after years of calling into question Greece’s stats.
China paper says U.S., South Korea will 'pay the price' for planned missile system (Reuters) The United States and South Korea are destined to "pay the price" for their decision to deploy an advanced missile defense system which will inevitably prompt a "counter attack", China's top newspaper said on Saturday. Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high this year, beginning with North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January, which was followed by a satellite launch, a string of tests of various missiles, and its fifth and largest nuclear test last month. In July, South Korea agreed with the United States to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to protect against any North Korean threats.
China official manufacturing PMI shows factory activity continued apace in September (CNBC) Activity in China's manufacturing sector expanded again in September, an official survey showed on Saturday, which may indicate that recent positive momentum can be sustained. The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 50.4 in September, identical with the previous month's level. A reading above 50.0 shows growth on a monthly basis. September's 50.4 reading matched the prediction of a Reuters poll. After a significant pick-up in March, China's official PMI slipped, falling below 50 in July before showing expansion in August.
Independence banners hung at HK universities in defiance of China: media (Reuters) Around a dozen Hong Kong universities draped large banners calling for the city's independence on China's National Day, defying authorities with demands for the Chinese controlled territory to split with mainland China. Large banners reading "Hong Kong independence" were strung up across the financial city on Saturday, local broadcaster RTHK reported. The statement said it was not clear who put up the large red and white banners but before lunchtime, the banners at Baptist University and City University in Kowloon Tong had already been removed.
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