Inner City Press' Bank Beat Reporter

  

     Welcome to Inner City Press’ Bank Beat.  We aim to scrutinize the industry, from high to low. Our other Reporters cover Community Reinvestment, the Federal Reserve, and other beats.   ICP has published a (double) book about the Bank Beat-relevant topic of predatory lending - click here for sample chapters, an interactive map, and ordering information. The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters." See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of 'Predatory Bender']," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. The Pittsburgh City Paper says the 100-page afterword makes the "indispensable point that predatory lending is now being aggressively exported to the rest of the globe." Click here for that review; click here to Search This Site. Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere, which include bank-related topics.

Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere. Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations. New: Follow us on TWITTER   BloggingHeads.tv  Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.  Until next time, for or with more information, contact us.

June 17, 2024

In Hwang Trial For Archegos $34B Meltdown Halligan Says Bank of America Witness Too Late

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 14 –  In the wake of the Archegos meltdown, the other shoe dropped on April 27, when the US Attorney for the SDNY unsealed and indictment charging Bill Hwang Patrick Halligan, Archegos’s CFO with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud offenses.   

 Inner City Press went to the SDNY press conference to ask, What about Credit Suisse and Nomura and people in those banks? What about the massive family office loophope to the Investment Advisors Act of 1940? This has come up in the OneCoin fraud case, on which the Office used perjured testimony and now agrees to delay after delay.

 Damian William referred obliquely to Hwang doing it in the dark, but otherwise the issue - which is addressed by a pending bill in Congress - did not come up. Nor did Lisa Monaco, present in New York for the presser, address it.

On June 1, newly assigned District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein held a conference in the case. Inner City Press attended and live tweet it here (and asked defense counsel a question later, here). Thread here.

And after, stand-up here, short Q&A here.

On June 20, 2023  Judge Hellerstein  pushed the trial back: "Trial in the above-captioned criminal matter, by request of all parties, is adjourned from January 9, 2024 to February 20, 2024 at 10:00 a.m., in Courtroom 14D. The Final Pretrial Conference will be held on February 14, 2024 at 2:30 p.m. Time is excluded in the interest of justice from January 9, 2024 to February 20, 2024 pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161. SO ORDERED (Signed by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on 6/20/2023)."

On July 27, Hwang wrote in seeking approval of subpoenas to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of Montreal, Credit Suisse, UBS, Nomura, MUFG, Mizuho, Macquarie, Jeffries and Deutsche Bank, to show he did not "use his lawfully executed swaps to artificially impact the prices of the underlying stocks."

Jump cut to November 14, 2023 when Judge Hellerstein held an oral argument on the subpoena requests. Inner City Press attended, in mask, and tweeted, threadette:

Hwang is here at defense table, with COVID mask and foyr lawyers at table, one behind. 

Judge Hellerstein: Manipulation for manipulation is meaningless. How was it intended to make money? When? There are many different ways to hedge. I'd like to see them narrowed

 Berke: Your Honor, you've done a lot of cases, but this is the 1st one in which DOJ is charging manipulation of swaps

Judge: It's hard to defend against manipulation. Mr Berke deserves a discussion. US v Nixon provides the boundary.

Berke: Thank you

  And well he might say that - it seemed the defense won this round. He mocked what he called the prosecution's theory of "pump and brag," that Hwang did it to brag he'd built a family office into a major firm.

On January 3, 2024, still mostly masked, Judge Hellerstein said the proposed experts are qualified, that sufficient notice is the issue. He said he will follow Judge Jed Rakoff's decision in US v. Mrabet, which Inner City Press also covered.  At the end Judge Hellerstein said, with a laugh, Don't settle this case, I want to try it.

More details on Substack here

On May 1, 2024, the US Attorney's Office wrote in to specify that at trial they intend to put forward evidence about Archegos' predecessor Tiger Asia, including that the SEC banned Hwang from acting, among other things, as an investment adviser.

On May 6, Halligan's counsel wrote in that the evidence should not be admitted at trial, as little of it involves Halligan but he would be prejudiced by it.

On May 15 in the trial, Mr. Marks of Operations testified about reports only to Bill and Patrick, then Mr. Jones about flying from Dallas amid the meltdown. Thread here

On May 21, the US insisted that evidence of Hwang's "decision not to reimburse employees for lost deferred compensation" should remain in evidence before the jury."

Full letter on Patreon here.

On May 22, Inner City Press live tweeted cross examination of cooperator Becker, here. In the midst of it, an announcement by Judge Hellerstein of the birth of a baby, and applause in the courtroom (it's in the thread).

On May 23, Becker continued - from the thread:

Becker is asked about his message, "Whatevs, we'll just roll with it."

Counsel: Turning to your lost vacation days, Mr. Becker, you felt you had never worked harder than at Archegos, isn't that true? Becker: Yes.

Counsel: You had 3 weeks of vacation - couldn't carry it over and you were angry, right? Becker: Correct.

Halligan's lawyer: You didn't want Mr. Halligan involved in your project, did you? He called you careless-

Judge Hellerstein: Haven't we gone over this? It's done. Finished. Halligan's lawyer: You felt he didn't show appreciation Judge Hellerstein: Move on

 Now re-direct: AUSA: Mr. Becker, Mr. Berke didn't show you this sheet, did he? Objection! Overruled. Becker: He didn't.

 AUSA: You were asked some questions about conversations with Mr. Halligan. Why was it so frantic? Let me off this March 23 chat, 3745

 Judge Hellerstein: Jurors, have a good weekend. [Jurors leave] Defense: Can we discuss schedule for next week? Judge: Tues and Wed 10 to 5. Can't say about Thursday. Government, how are we doing?

AUSA: We expected Becker 1 week, on schedule

Judge Hellerstein: Done in 2 weeks? AUSA: That's aggressive.  Adjourned.

On May 28, the US Attorney's Office filed a letter seeking permission in advance to ask "what if you had known" questions of the type blessed by the 2d Circuit in US v. Cuti (2013), starting with Bank of Montreal's Joseph Boccuzzi on May 29. Letter on Patreon here

May 29 ended with a dispute about a government chart, long and short positions, which Hwang's lawyer Berke called argumentative, from the thread:

Judge Hellerstein: How do you proposed to change your chart before showing it to the jury? The title should change.


AUSA: I can pass up copies. Judge: Just say, Portion of the portfolio. Why do you have to say "long"? AUSA: Achegos has a short portfolio too

 Hwang's lawyer: This was, it's argumentative and misleading. AUSA: We can work on something...

Judge Hellerstein: Let's do it now. I have both of you, and I've already canceled my appointment...

On May 30, the US Attorney's Office filed opposition to Hwang's bid to strike testimony of UBS's Christ Salcedo...

On June 5, Inner City Press live tweeted, thread

On June 6, government expert testified about, among other things, dark pools, thread

On June 10, cooperation William Tomita began on the stand, from thread:

Tomita: Yes. They were traders, executing the trades on behalf of Bill. Bill would yell at me, Don't list to Andy, you answer to me

On June 11, Tomita continues. From thread:

Judge: Who picked the stocks? Tomita: We chose stocks that were less liquid, so we could move the stock to the firm limit. Judge: Who set the firm limit?

Tomita: Bill did. Judge: Did you always reach that limit? Tomita: Not always. But we tried. Judge: Were there conversations if you didn't reach the firm limit?

Tomita: He would yell at us... Sometimes he didn't need to vocalize it, we could see his expression and body movement on the Zoom. So we would try to get the price to move as quickly as possible

On June 14 to start the trial day after a two day hiatus, counsel for Halligan complained about Bank of America witness / issue, thread:

"OK - now in US v. Hwang of Archegos, before jury comes in after two days off, AUSA is proffering what a Bank of America witness would say.

Defense: Juror Number 8 is an employee of Bank of America. We were not aware of this during voir dire. Mr. Halligan's right to a fair and impartial jury is being undermined. The jurors have heard evidence for five years, and now this. Judge: Is GX 148 admissible?

AUSA: On page 248 of the voir dire, it was said Bank of America could come up in the trial, so there is no issue.

Halligan's lawyer: We were not on notice they would claim Bank of America was lied to. And his colleague will be on the jury.

And so it goes. Watch this site.

June 10, 2024

After Allianz Global Investors US Pled Guilty Now Tournant Also Pleads Before Sept Trial

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 7–  A scandal of Allianz that has been brewing since the collapse of its investment funds as COVID set has given rise to guilty pleas of two cooperators, and the indictment of Gregoire Tournant, by Southern District of New York prosecutors on May 17, 2022.

Jump cut to January 9, 2024 when Chief Judge Laura Taylor Swain held a conference. Inner City Press was there. After lengthy arguments about the timing of defense expert disclosures, and disclosures of what witnesses would say, Chief Judge Swain set an April conference, saying that the September 23 trial date will remain firm regardless. The final pre-trial conference, no matter before what judge, was set for September 12 at 3 pm.

On June 6, 2024, Tournant pled guilty. Inner City Press was there, thread:

He is 57; his lawyer asks if he can allocute from lectern to hold himself up.

Judge: Have you taken medications in the past 24 hours? Tournant (stuttering heavily) Y-y-yes. Judge: Do you wish to plead guilty? Tournant: Y-y-yes.

 Judge: Do you agree the loss amount was $3.2 billion? Defense: Only as a factual matter... Judge: You won't appeal any sentence of 120 months or less? Tournant: Y-y-yes.

 Tournant: I provided altered and misleading reports to investors, from Allianz in Manhattan. AUSA: There are 2 cooperating witnesses. Judge: I accept your guilty plea.

Judge: Sentencing will be Oct 24 at 11 am.

June 3, 2024

In SDNY Trial of Hwang For Archegos $34B Meltdown US Insists UBS Salcedo Stay In

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 30 –  In the wake of the Archegos meltdown, the other shoe dropped on April 27, when the US Attorney for the SDNY unsealed and indictment charging Bill Hwang Patrick Halligan, Archegos’s CFO with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud offenses.   

 Inner City Press went to the SDNY press conference to ask, What about Credit Suisse and Nomura and people in those banks? What about the massive family office loophope to the Investment Advisors Act of 1940? This has come up in the OneCoin fraud case, on which the Office used perjured testimony and now agrees to delay after delay.

 Damian William referred obliquely to Hwang doing it in the dark, but otherwise the issue - which is addressed by a pending bill in Congress - did not come up. Nor did Lisa Monaco, present in New York for the presser, address it.

On June 1, newly assigned District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein held a conference in the case. Inner City Press attended and live tweet it here (and asked defense counsel a question later, here). Thread here.

And after, stand-up here, short Q&A here.

On June 20, 2023  Judge Hellerstein  pushed the trial back: "Trial in the above-captioned criminal matter, by request of all parties, is adjourned from January 9, 2024 to February 20, 2024 at 10:00 a.m., in Courtroom 14D. The Final Pretrial Conference will be held on February 14, 2024 at 2:30 p.m. Time is excluded in the interest of justice from January 9, 2024 to February 20, 2024 pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161. SO ORDERED (Signed by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on 6/20/2023)."

On July 27, Hwang wrote in seeking approval of subpoenas to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of Montreal, Credit Suisse, UBS, Nomura, MUFG, Mizuho, Macquarie, Jeffries and Deutsche Bank, to show he did not "use his lawfully executed swaps to artificially impact the prices of the underlying stocks."

Jump cut to November 14, 2023 when Judge Hellerstein held an oral argument on the subpoena requests. Inner City Press attended, in mask, and tweeted, threadette:

Hwang is here at defense table, with COVID mask and foyr lawyers at table, one behind. 

Judge Hellerstein: Manipulation for manipulation is meaningless. How was it intended to make money? When? There are many different ways to hedge. I'd like to see them narrowed

 Berke: Your Honor, you've done a lot of cases, but this is the 1st one in which DOJ is charging manipulation of swaps

Judge: It's hard to defend against manipulation. Mr Berke deserves a discussion. US v Nixon provides the boundary.

Berke: Thank you

  And well he might say that - it seemed the defense won this round. He mocked what he called the prosecution's theory of "pump and brag," that Hwang did it to brag he'd built a family office into a major firm.

On January 3, 2024, still mostly masked, Judge Hellerstein said the proposed experts are qualified, that sufficient notice is the issue. He said he will follow Judge Jed Rakoff's decision in US v. Mrabet, which Inner City Press also covered.  At the end Judge Hellerstein said, with a laugh, Don't settle this case, I want to try it.

More details on Substack here

On May 1, 2024, the US Attorney's Office wrote in to specify that at trial they intend to put forward evidence about Archegos' predecessor Tiger Asia, including that the SEC banned Hwang from acting, among other things, as an investment adviser.

On May 6, Halligan's counsel wrote in that the evidence should not be admitted at trial, as little of it involves Halligan but he would be prejudiced by it.

On May 15 in the trial, Mr. Marks of Operations testified about reports only to Bill and Patrick, then Mr. Jones about flying from Dallas amid the meltdown. Thread here

On May 21, the US insisted that evidence of Hwang's "decision not to reimburse employees for lost deferred compensation" should remain in evidence before the jury."

Full letter on Patreon here.

On May 22, Inner City Press live tweeted cross examination of cooperator Becker, here. In the midst of it, an announcement by Judge Hellerstein of the birth of a baby, and applause in the courtroom (it's in the thread).

On May 23, Becker continued - from the thread:

Becker is asked about his message, "Whatevs, we'll just roll with it."

Counsel: Turning to your lost vacation days, Mr. Becker, you felt you had never worked harder than at Archegos, isn't that true? Becker: Yes.

Counsel: You had 3 weeks of vacation - couldn't carry it over and you were angry, right? Becker: Correct.

Halligan's lawyer: You didn't want Mr. Halligan involved in your project, did you? He called you careless-

Judge Hellerstein: Haven't we gone over this? It's done. Finished. Halligan's lawyer: You felt he didn't show appreciation Judge Hellerstein: Move on

 Now re-direct: AUSA: Mr. Becker, Mr. Berke didn't show you this sheet, did he? Objection! Overruled. Becker: He didn't.

 AUSA: You were asked some questions about conversations with Mr. Halligan. Why was it so frantic? Let me off this March 23 chat, 3745

 Judge Hellerstein: Jurors, have a good weekend. [Jurors leave] Defense: Can we discuss schedule for next week? Judge: Tues and Wed 10 to 5. Can't say about Thursday. Government, how are we doing?

AUSA: We expected Becker 1 week, on schedule

Judge Hellerstein: Done in 2 weeks? AUSA: That's aggressive.  Adjourned.

On May 28, the US Attorney's Office filed a letter seeking permission in advance to ask "what if you had known" questions of the type blessed by the 2d Circuit in US v. Cuti (2013), starting with Bank of Montreal's Joseph Boccuzzi on May 29. Letter on Patreon here

May 29 ended with a dispute about a government chart, long and short positions, which Hwang's lawyer Berke called argumentative, from the thread:

Judge Hellerstein: How do you proposed to change your chart before showing it to the jury? The title should change.


AUSA: I can pass up copies. Judge: Just say, Portion of the portfolio. Why do you have to say "long"? AUSA: Achegos has a short portfolio too

 Hwang's lawyer: This was, it's argumentative and misleading. AUSA: We can work on something...

Judge Hellerstein: Let's do it now. I have both of you, and I've already canceled my appointment...

On May 30, the US Attorney's Office filed opposition to Hwang's bid to strike testimony of UBS's Christ Salcedo: "notwithstanding the defendant’s characterization of Mr. Salcedo’s testimony (Dkt. 208 at 3), no reasonable juror could have understood Mr. Salcedo to be offering an expert opinion on what the defendant intended through his trading. The Government did not elicit, and Mr. Salcedo did not provide, testimony about any mental process of the defendant or any expert opinion of any sort. To the contrary, Mr. Salcedo described his own and UBS’s processes and considerations at the time. Mr. Salcedo’s use of a term from the industry in which he was and remains employed, such as “corner the market,” to convey the importance of the representations at the time did not convert his testimony into expert testimony." Full filing on Patreon here.

And so it goes. Watch this site.


May 27, 2024

In SDNY Trial of Hwang For Archegos $34B Meltdown Becker On Lost Sick Days 2+ Weeks

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 23 –  In the wake of the Archegos meltdown, the other shoe dropped on April 27, when the US Attorney for the SDNY unsealed and indictment charging Bill Hwang Patrick Halligan, Archegos’s CFO with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud offenses.   

 Inner City Press went to the SDNY press conference to ask, What about Credit Suisse and Nomura and people in those banks? What about the massive family office loophope to the Investment Advisors Act of 1940? This has come up in the OneCoin fraud case, on which the Office used perjured testimony and now agrees to delay after delay.

 Damian William referred obliquely to Hwang doing it in the dark, but otherwise the issue - which is addressed by a pending bill in Congress - did not come up. Nor did Lisa Monaco, present in New York for the presser, address it.

On June 1, newly assigned District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein held a conference in the case. Inner City Press attended and live tweet it here (and asked defense counsel a question later, here). Thread here.

And after, stand-up here, short Q&A here.

On June 20, 2023  Judge Hellerstein  pushed the trial back: "Trial in the above-captioned criminal matter, by request of all parties, is adjourned from January 9, 2024 to February 20, 2024 at 10:00 a.m., in Courtroom 14D. The Final Pretrial Conference will be held on February 14, 2024 at 2:30 p.m. Time is excluded in the interest of justice from January 9, 2024 to February 20, 2024 pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161. SO ORDERED (Signed by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on 6/20/2023)."

On July 27, Hwang wrote in seeking approval of subpoenas to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of Montreal, Credit Suisse, UBS, Nomura, MUFG, Mizuho, Macquarie, Jeffries and Deutsche Bank, to show he did not "use his lawfully executed swaps to artificially impact the prices of the underlying stocks."

Jump cut to November 14, 2023 when Judge Hellerstein held an oral argument on the subpoena requests. Inner City Press attended, in mask, and tweeted, threadette:

Hwang is here at defense table, with COVID mask and foyr lawyers at table, one behind. 

Judge Hellerstein: Manipulation for manipulation is meaningless. How was it intended to make money? When? There are many different ways to hedge. I'd like to see them narrowed

 Berke: Your Honor, you've done a lot of cases, but this is the 1st one in which DOJ is charging manipulation of swaps

Judge: It's hard to defend against manipulation. Mr Berke deserves a discussion. US v Nixon provides the boundary.

Berke: Thank you

  And well he might say that - it seemed the defense won this round. He mocked what he called the prosecution's theory of "pump and brag," that Hwang did it to brag he'd built a family office into a major firm.

On January 3, 2024, still mostly masked, Judge Hellerstein said the proposed experts are qualified, that sufficient notice is the issue. He said he will follow Judge Jed Rakoff's decision in US v. Mrabet, which Inner City Press also covered.  At the end Judge Hellerstein said, with a laugh, Don't settle this case, I want to try it.

More details on Substack here

On May 1, 2024, the US Attorney's Office wrote in to specify that at trial they intend to put forward evidence about Archegos' predecessor Tiger Asia, including that the SEC banned Hwang from acting, among other things, as an investment adviser.

On May 6, Halligan's counsel wrote in that the evidence should not be admitted at trial, as little of it involves Halligan but he would be prejudiced by it.

On May 15 in the trial, Mr. Marks of Operations testified about reports only to Bill and Patrick, then Mr. Jones about flying from Dallas amid the meltdown. Thread here

On May 21, the US insisted that evidence of Hwang's "decision not to reimburse employees for lost deferred compensation" should remain in evidence before the jury."

Full letter on Patreon here.

On May 22, Inner City Press live tweeted cross examination of cooperator Becker, here. In the midst of it, an announcement by Judge Hellerstein of the birth of a baby, and applause in the courtroom (it's in the thread).

On May 23, Becker continued - from the thread:

Becker is asked about his message, "Whatevs, we'll just roll with it."

Counsel: Turning to your lost vacation days, Mr. Becker, you felt you had never worked harder than at Archegos, isn't that true? Becker: Yes.

Counsel: You had 3 weeks of vacation - couldn't carry it over and you were angry, right? Becker: Correct.

Halligan's lawyer: You didn't want Mr. Halligan involved in your project, did you? He called you careless-

Judge Hellerstein: Haven't we gone over this? It's done. Finished. Halligan's lawyer: You felt he didn't show appreciation Judge Hellerstein: Move on

 Now re-direct: AUSA: Mr. Becker, Mr. Berke didn't show you this sheet, did he? Objection! Overruled. Becker: He didn't.

 AUSA: You were asked some questions about conversations with Mr. Halligan. Why was it so frantic? Let me off this March 23 chat, 3745

 Judge Hellerstein: Jurors, have a good weekend. [Jurors leave] Defense: Can we discuss schedule for next week? Judge: Tues and Wed 10 to 5. Can't say about Thursday. Government, how are we doing?

AUSA: We expected Becker 1 week, on schedule

Judge Hellerstein: Done in 2 weeks? AUSA: That's aggressive.  Adjourned.

Watch this site.

Back on March 21, 2023 Judge Hellerstein held an hour and a half proceeding in which he denied more than a dozen motions by Team Hwang. Inner City Press was there and live tweeted, thread here.

More including on Halligan on Substack here.

  Later  - after re-up of book and talk to NYU Journalism School, here and here - in the SDNY Magistrate a defendant was detained until trial, charged as a felon in possession. We'll have more, much more, on this.

May 20, 2024

As Jane Street Sues Millennium Must List Trade Secrets by May 13 Then Discovery to November

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 16 – Jane Street Group LLC sued Millennium Management, Douglas Schadewald and Daniel Spottiswood, for allegedly taking trade secrets from them.   On April 19 there is scheduled a court hearing on Jane Street's request for a temporary restraining order, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. 

  Judge Engelmayer on April 17 granted a motion to seal; this was followed on April 18 by not fewer than seven "selected parties" only letters.

It is said that some or all of the April 18 proceeding may be sealed. Previously, Inner City Press petitioned Judge Engelmayer in a trial with an undercover witness and an audio feed was made available in another courtroom, on the 5th floor of 40 Foley Square / 40 Centre Street. 

 Should this civil case be more secret?

How should notice of a possible sealed proceeding be given? Alongside a trial in 100 Centre Street, Inner City Press has had its eye on this case.

We can report that Jane Street's bid to seal the courtroom was denied. Then its application for a TRO was denied, no sufficient showing of irreparable harm.

On May 16, this: "ORDER, The Court requires Jane Street to provide a detailed identification of all alleged trade secrets upon which it relies in numbered form and with reasonable particularity by May 23, 2024, at 5 p.m., per the procedure for identification of trade secrets set out in the Federal Judicial Center's Trade Secret Case Management Judicial Guide, sections 4.4 to 4.7. The parties are directed to file a proposed case management plan by May 21, 2024, pursuant to which fact discovery concludes at the end of September 2024, and expert discovery in mid-November 2024.The Court schedules a case management conference for December 13, 2024."

It is Jane Street Group, LLC v. Millennium Management LLC et al., 24-cv-2783 (Engelmayer)

***

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May 13, 2024

Republic Bank Failed with Disparate Record FDIC Gave to Fulton Over OZK and Flushing

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 10 –  There was a bank board of directors fight and lawsuit in Philadelphia - but otherwise unreported was the disparate lending records of the institution as issue, Republic Bank, subsidiary of Republic Bancorp.

And now the bank has failed - and been given to Fulton Financial, which as Inner City Press reported commented trying to separately fair lending from the Community Reinvestment Act:

"Fulton Financial, on which ICP has previously commented, perhaps understandably given its lending record urges 'De-couple CRA from Fair Lending... CRA and Fair Lending have complementary but different social and policy objectives. CRA ratings should not be downgraded based on the results of a bank's fair lending performance and exam results.'"

  Then the FDIC to its credit release the names of other bidders, including Bank OZK, Little Rock, AR BankUnited, N.A., Miami Lakes, FL and Flushing Bank, Uniondale, NY. But it seems clear CRA was not considered at all. We'll ahve more on this.

May 6, 2024
Republic Bank Fails with Disparate Record in PA and NJ Given to Fulton With Narrow CRA

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 28 –  There was a bank board of directors fight and lawsuit in Philadelphia - but otherwise unreported was the disparate lending records of the institution as issue, Republic Bank, subsidiary of Republic Bancorp.

And now the bank has failed - and been given to Fulton Financial, which as Inner City Press reported commented trying to separately fair lending from the Community Reinvestment Act:

"Fulton Financial, on which ICP has previously commented, perhaps understandably given its lending record urges 'De-couple CRA from Fair Lending... CRA and Fair Lending have complementary but different social and policy objectives. CRA ratings should not be downgraded based on the results of a bank's fair lending performance and exam results.'"

Now see to what that view would expand to:

 In Pennsylvania in 2020 Republic Bank made 613 mortgage loans to whites and only 14 to African Americans.

  In New Jersey, insurgent George E. Norcross III's stomping grounds - literally - Republic Bank in 2020 made 1662 mortgage loans to whites and only 67 to African Americans, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data reseach by Fair Finance Watch finds.  

Meanwhile in the court case, reviewed by SDNY-based Inner City Press:  "Defendant Republic First Bancorp Inc. (“FRBK”), it is hereby ORDERED that:

 1. The Parties are required to maintain the status quo ... The Court may modify Paragraph 3 of this Order at the request of any party for good cause shown, following notice to all other Parties." The order doesn't mention George Norcross - but the story does. We'll have more on this.     

The case is HILL v. COHEN (E.D. Pa. 2022), 22-cv-01924 (District Judge Paul Steven Diamond)



April 29, 2024 In In the Trump trial in lower Manhattan hattan which Inner City Press is covering (book here), on April 26 a witness previously from First Republic, now at Flagstar, testified as to how First Republic quickly opened accounts for Michael Cohen's LLCs. It's too's too late to call compliance on First Republic - but Chase? April 22, 2024 As Jane Street Sues Millennium Its Request to Seal Courtroom then Request for TRO Denied

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 18 – Jane Street Group LLC sued Millennium Management, Douglas Schadewald and Daniel Spottiswood, for allegedly taking trade secrets from them.   On April 19 there is scheduled a court hearing on Jane Street's request for a temporary restraining order, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. 

  Judge Engelmayer on April 17 granted a motion to seal; this was followed on April 18 by not fewer than seven "selected parties" only letters.

It is said that some or all of the April 18 proceeding may be sealed. Previously, Inner City Press petitioned Judge Engelmayer in a trial with an undercover witness and an audio feed was made available in another courtroom, on the 5th floor of 40 Foley Square / 40 Centre Street. 

 Should this civil case be more secret?

How should notice of a possible sealed proceeding be given? Alongside a trial in 100 Centre Street, Inner City Press has had its eye on this case.

We can report that Jane Street's bid to seal the courtroom was denied. Then its application for a TRO was denied, no sufficient showing of irreparable harm. (H/T FT) Next up, July 15. Watch this site.

April 15, 2024 Turkey Halkbank Not Immune 2d Cir Decided DOJ Wants to Stay & Consolidate Civil Case

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 8 – Turkey's Halkbank has officially given up its strategy of refusing to official appear in the US criminal case against it, and on February 25, 2020 appeared and agreed to be indicted. Inner City Press live tweeted it here and below.

 On April 12, 2021 with the case stayed pending appeal, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit heard the arguments. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here: [& fast podcast here]

On October 22, 2021, the Second Circuit ruled that Halkbank is NOT immune.

On December 21, Halkbank filed more than 30 pages with the Second Circuit, seeking a stay pending appealing to Supreme Court. Full filing on Patreon here.

Halkbank was indicted for Iran sanctions violations and money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Jump cut to April 8, 2024 when DOJ in a civil case filed a motion to intervene in and stay, and a request to move the civil case to Judge Berman with the criminal case, in Hughes, et al. v. Halkbank, et all, 23-cv-6481.  In that case, 151 Americans are suing for death or injuries by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan from 2012 to 2020 and in Syria 2012 to 2013. The US Attorney's Office writes that it relies on the factual allegations in US v. Zarrab and facts adduced at the trial of Attila.

April 8, 2024 letter on Patreon here

The criminal case is US v. Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S., 15-cr-867 (Berman)

The civil case in which DOJ has moved to intervene, stay and consolidate is
Hughes, et al. v. Halkbank, et all, 23-cv-6481 (Vyskocil)


April 8, 2024 On Crypto Inner City Press at IMF Asks of El Salvador Bitcoin Risk Called Key Element Here

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Substack

IMF, April 4 – On Bitcoin and El Salvador, Inner City Press at the International Monetary Fund on April 4 asked Spokesperson Julie Kozack about any linkage between an IMF program and reversing the legal tender status of Bitcoin there.

  Ms. Kozack praised some developments in El Salvador, but said that addressing the risks of Bitcoin are a "key element." Inner City Press also asked about Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and, full circle, Sri Lanka. From the IMF transcript, on El Salvador and Bitcoin:

Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press: "on El Salvador, some are saying that a program there is in some way linked to possibly removing bitcoin as legal tender status.  I don't know if that's the case.  And just generally, what can you say about El Salvador's progress and possible program?"

IMF Spokesperson Kozack: "IMF staff continue to engage constructively with the Salvadorian authorities with the objective of reaching an agreement on an IMF supported program.  Discussions are focused on policies to strengthen fiscal and external sustainability and to boost productivity growth and strengthen economic governance. 

Addressing risks arising from Bitcoin is a key element of our discussions with the authorities.

With respect to very recent developments, real GDP growth strengthened in 2023, driven by tourism and construction, and this happened on the back of robust remittances and a much-improved security situation.  Inflation came down, the current account deficit narrowed, and this was supported in part by lower global commodity prices.  With respect to fiscal policy, it was somewhat accommodative last year, driven by higher pension spending and public investment, although efforts were made to contain current expenditures and to regularize spending arrears."

April 1, 2024 FinTech Current Accused of Discrimination Is Sued for Firing Mitura as Cancer Docs Sought

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 23 – The fintech Current has been sued for discrimination by former employee Isabelle Mitura. On March 22, 2024 the parties were before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie E. Caproni. Inner City Press was there, the only media in the courtroom. 

 The complaint alleges that Finco Services / Current "Head of People" Sergiyenko  described Mitura as "an old Asian woman with no kids" to CEO Stuart Sopp, "who expressed frustration at having to interview too many Indians for the Chief Risk Officer position." 

 While Mitura took leave after a breast cancer diagnosis, her job was given to a replacement who "had built relationships within the company while she was on leave" - and she was terminated. 

 Now Current's lawyers want all of her oncology records. Judge Caproni said they can get some, but not all. Fact discovery closes on July 19, with another conference on July 26 at 10 am.

 The case is Mitura v. Finco Services, Inc., et al., 23-cv-2879 (Caproni)

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March 25, 2024 Capital One Should Discover Merger Dead amid Stealth Application Inner City Press FOIAs Fed

by Matthew R. Lee

SOUTH BRONX, March 22 – Capital One has applied to buy Discover, in an anticompetitive deal that should be rejected by regulators if they mean what they have been saying. While they applied late March 20, as of 1 pm on March 22 there was no notice of the Federal Reserve's or OCC's websites. Inner City Press submitted second FOIA requests to each agency. Public hearings should be held, not only on antitrust but also lending disparities at both companies. 

  On February 20 Capital One CEO Rich Fairbanks bragged about communications he's had with the regulators, then referred to "customary regulatory approvals." Inner City Press immediately submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the Federal Reserve and OCC for all such communications. Both agencies confirmed receipt.

 But still no records as of March 22, so this:

This is a FOIA request for the entirety of Capital One's applications for regulatory approval of its Discover proposal, including all portions for which Capital One has requested confidential treatment, and all communications by your agency with the banks since February 19. As of March 22 at 1 am, the Fed's most recent H2A is from March 15

 As documented by Fair Finance Watch, Discover Bank in 2022 denied mortgage loans application from African Americans more than twice as frequently as those of whites. 

  Previously, Inner City Press and NCRC challenged Capital One's acquisition of ING Direct, see here.This time, given the antitrust enforcement claims being made in DC, this proposal should be dead in the water. Watch this site. 

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March 18, 2024 On SBF 40 to 50 Years in Prison Sought by US As He Asks 63 Months Crypto Criminal Book

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 15 – On the US v Sam Bankman-Fried trial, hours after the guilty verdict, a book was published: "Crypto Criminal: The Conviction of Sam Bankman-Fried: As live tweeted and investigated from inside the SDNY courthouse by Matthew Russell Lee," paperback coming (in the morning?) for now, 200 page ebook here.
Soft cover here.

"He did not know then how it or he would turn out. It could have been called, Crypto Houdini. But it wasn't." And a second trial?

 Well, no. Past 6 pm on December 29, 2023 the US Attorney Office wrote to Judge Kaplan "to provide notice to the Court and the defendant that it does not plan to proceed with a second trial in the above-captioned matter." So no evidence and cross examination about the campaign finance and China bribe counts, no getting to the bottom of who took the money. It is known that officials in the Bahamas, whose request to drop these charges DOJ cited in severing them, took SBF's and FTX customers' money.

 SBF's new lawyers Mukasey and Young's sentencing submission was due Feb 27

Past 11 pm on February 27, SBF's memo posited his sentencing guideline at 63 to 78 months and asked for a sentence "that returns Sam promptly to a productive role in society." Memo on Patreon here

On March 15, the US Attorney's Office put in a 100+ page memo, asking for a prison term of 40 to 50 years. US memo on Patreon here.

More on X for Subscribers here, Substack here

We'll have more on this.

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March 11, 2024 On Bank Failures Inner City Press Asked IMF about CRE & NYCB in Wake of Signature Bank

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Substack

SOUTH BRONX / SDNY, March 7 – A year after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, the International Monetary Fund has warned of more trouble, just as NYCB teeters. Inner City Press on March 7 asked the IMF about it, video here.  

 The IMF had said, "the high concentration of CRE [commercial real estate] exposures represents a serious risk to small and large banks amid economic uncertainty and higher interest rates, potentially declining property values, and asset quality deterioration.”

Small banks retain “exceptionally high CRE concentration for which losses could compromise their safety and soundness”, it added. Nearly 33% of US banks have commercial property loan books which are so big versus their capital buffers that they exceed regulatory guidance. So where are the regulators? 

 Inner City Press asked the IMF spokesperson, noting the Mnuchin investment in NYCB (and imposition of Joseph Otting as CEO).

IMF Spokesperson Julie Kozack replied that the risk is real and is being studied, with more to come in the GSFR. Watch this site.

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March 4, 2024 NYCB Was Gifted Signature Bank Barney Frank and Cephas on Board Now CEO Out

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SOUTH BRONX / SDNY, Feb 29 – With no public comment period, New York Community Bank has been handed the 40 branches of Signature Bank, to re-open them as braches of Flagstar, which NYCB bought in a proceeding delayed by fair lending problems.

  Back in April 2021, Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press predicted that the proposed merger of New York Community Bank and Flagstar would flounder, on disparate lending and regulatory evasions. And it was delayed.

  So, a fair lending rogue benefited from a bail out, or a bank with a former NYS Banking Superintendent Derrick Cephas, and Barney Frank, on its board of directors.

 Jump cut to early February 2024 and NYCB's stock price fell by 60%, Valley National down too.

On February 29, NYCB's long time CEO Thomas Cangemi was out and NYCB said it had "identified material weaknesses." Why didn't the regulators identify them, as Fair Finance Watch protested Flagstar, and on Signature? We'll have more on this.
February 26, 2024 Amid Attack on CRA FirstSun HomeStreet Bid Hit on Lending Disparities and Data Breach

by Matthew Russell Lee

SOUTH BRONX, Feb 23 – As US bank regulators talk about working to increase the fairness of the financial system, and closely scrutinizing mergers and the spread of bad practices, banks continue to assume they can combine.

  Before this week's Capital One - Discover proposal, and ABA lawsuit against the Community Reinvestment Act regulation, there was  FirstSun Capital Bancorp of Denver and Dallas saying it will merge with Homestreet, Inc. and Homestreet Bank of Seattle, Washington. 

  On February 23 Fair Finance Watch with Inner City Press on the FOIA filed with the Federal Reserve: "FirstSun's flagship Sunflower Bank, in Texas in 2022, made 694 mortgage loans to whites, and only 41 to African Americans. Meanwhile it denied 12 applications from African Americans, and only 34 from whites.   This is disparate, and more disparate both than the aggregate in Texas. 

    Nationwide in 2022, Sunflower Bank made 3059 mortgage loans to whites, and only 194 to African Americans. Meanwhile it denied 49 applications from African Americans, and only 259 from whites. 

   For the record, on managerial resources and otherwise, note that on September 27, 2023, FirstSun Capital Bancorp, the parent company of Sunflower Bank, Guardian Mortgage and First National 1870 (collectively, “Sunflower”), filed a notice of data breach with the Attorney General of California... an unauthorized party likely took advantage of the flaw in the MOVEit software and downloaded copies of files [containing] personally identifiable information."

   HomeStreet, meanwhile, is politely said to have had a "tough" 2023.

     FFW and Inner City Press have been deeply concerned about the rush by the Federal Reserve to rubber-stamp mergers by redliners, money launderers and predatory lenders. This has been killing the Community Reinvestment Act and so a timely request public hearings.