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January 22 2014


Vatican prelate accused of money laundering | World news | The Guardian

A Vatican prelate already on trial for an alleged plot to smuggle €20m (£16.5m) into Italy on board a plane faces fresh accusations that he used his accounts at the Vatican bank to launder money.

Prosecutors in the southern Italian city of Salerno said on Tuesday that Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a 61-year-old former accountant in the Vatican’s asset management division, had been served with an arrest warrant on suspicion of using offshore accounts to funnel millions of euros in fake donations through his accounts at the institution.

Scarano, already under house arrest following his high-profile detention last June, was accused alongside another priest and a notary. Police said on Tuesday they had made seizures of assets and property worth millions of euros. Fifty-two others were reportedly being investigated.

The investigation into money-laundering allegations was already under way when Scarano was arrested last year. At that time, he denied the accusations through his lawyer, Silverio Sica, and, on Tuesday, Sica said his client had merely taken donations from people he thought were wanting to fund a home for the terminally ill.

"We continue to strongly maintain the good faith of Don Nunzio Scarano and his absolute certainty that the money came from legitimate donations," he told Associated Press. …

January 19 2014


Pope Francis shakes up Vatican Bank, sets financial cap for sainthood

Pope Francis on Wednesday (Jan. 15) took his biggest step yet at cleaning house at the scandal-ridden Vatican Bank, replacing most of the institution’s advisers with fresh faces.

Among the new appointees: Vatican Secretary of State and Cardinal-designate Pietro Parolin; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn from Vienna; Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto; and veteran diplomat Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, a close friend of the pontiff’s.

French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran is the lone cardinal adviser who was retained.

Francis’ move essentially undid a decree issued last year by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who confirmed the Vatican Bank’s supervisory body for another five years, just days before announcing his retirement. The most high-profile figure sacked on Wednesday was Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict’s secretary of state and the face of administrative woes of Benedict’s papacy.

Officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, the Vatican Bank plays an essential role in helping facilitate the Vatican’s role in confronting poverty worldwide. But it has also been connected with widespread corruption and money laundering.

Last July, a priest and Vatican accountant Nunzio Scarano — nicknamed “Monsignor 500&‥8243; because of his taste for 500-euro banknotes — was arrested and accused of smuggling nearly $30 million into Italy from Switzerland. In 2012, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was ousted as bank president after being accused of incompetence.

That same year, U.S. banker JPMorgan closed its accounts with the bank, and Deutsche Bank Italia ended a 15-year relationship, making the Holy See a cash-only state for several months. …

May 04 2013


Watching All The President's Men Revisited

It takes me back to my childhood, six or seven years old, watching the daily Watergate hearings.

I remember the day nixon’s crooked ass abdicated. I watched it at my Grandma’s house, cheering and jeering at the bastard, then went outside and most cheerfully played.

I was confused that none of my friends were discussing it, and had no interest when the subject was broached.

April 29 2013


April 18 2013

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By way of MadnessReigns

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By way of MadnessReigns

January 06 2013


November 20 2012


Detroit: We're So Badass the FBI Raids Our Library.

Reposted byzEveRsiriusminerva

7 Action News was on the scene as FBI agents raided the Detroit Public Library.

They were executing a search warrant and removing boxes from the main branch. Agents searched the office of Timothy Cromer, Chief Administrator and Technology officer at the Detroit Public Library.

Cromer handles finance and technology. A spokesperson at the library told 7 Action News that there is no comment from Cromer at this time.

Sources say the investigation may involve contracts and alleged kickbacks.

The main branch of the Detroit Public Library is located on Woodward near Warren Avenue.

A board meeting that was scheduled for today has been moved to tomorrow. …

(via FBI raids main branch of Detroit Public Library)

Reposted byzEveR zEveR
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Harriet Mall of West Bloomfield, center, in front of the Detroit Public Library, wanted to come to the library with her family for her birthday. FBI agents raided the library on Tuesday.

Thousand-dollar trash cans, designer lounge chairs and possible contract scams.

Those controversial issues should shed some light as to why the FBI raided the Detroit Public Library’s main branch this morning, a source familiar with the library’s ongoing financial woes told the Free Press. The library official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the struggling library system has been embroiled in a controversy over alleged misspending on lavish items, such as $1,000 stainless steel trash cans and $1,000 chairs for a new wing in the library.

The expenditures raised eyebrows, the library official said, given the library has laid off dozens of employees and struggled with a $10-million budget deficit in what officials called an unprecedented fiscal crisis. Last year, the library system closed two of its 23 branches and cut its staff by 20%, or 83 employees.

Some library commissioners have requested an internal probe to find out whether certain renovations were done without the proper bidding process, the official said, pointing out that three officials have come under scrutiny: library director JoAnn Mondowney, who was placed on administrative leave in May amid allegations about misspending but has since returned to work without a contract; and deputy director Juliet Machie and chief administrative officer Tim Cromer, both of whom also are continuing to work even though their contracts expired earlier this year. …

(via FBI raids Detroit Public Library; $1,000 trash cans, possible shady deals raise eyebrows | City of Detroit | Detroit Free Press |

Reposted bysiriusminerva siriusminerva
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A different sort of research took place at the Detroit Public Library on Tuesday, as FBI officials armed with search warrants entered the library’s main offices and scoured through records, according to local news reports.

Nine FBI agents were at the library’s main offices in Detroit on Tuesday morning, The Detroit News reported. They arrived at 8 a.m. and left around 11 a.m., with three cardboard boxes and “what appeared to be computer equipment,” according to the newspaper.

“I don’t know how many (search) warrants,” library spokesperson A.J. Funchess told The Detroit News. “They aren’t really sharing a lot of information right now.”

While Funchess acknowledged the library raid, he declined to provide any further comment to NBC News.

The Detroit News reported that authorities spent much of their time in the offices of the library’s chief administrative officer, Tim Cromer, who according to the newspaper has been the center of several spending controversies.

The FBI also reportedly raided Cromer’s house Tuesday, a source told The Detroit News. …

(via FBI raids Detroit Public Library main offices - U.S. News)

October 29 2012


October 03 2012


August 07 2012


Standard Chartered Bank accused of scheming with Iran to hide transactions | Business | The Guardian

British bank named in scathing report by regulators which claims SCB helped Iranian clients skirt US financial sanctions

July 30 2012


Iran sentences four to death over bank fraud with political fallout | World news |

Unnamed quartet to hang after £1.7bn embezzlement scandal raised questions over Iranian privatisation drive

An Iranian court has sentenced four people to death for a billion-pound bank fraud that tainted the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to state media.

Iranians, hit by sanctions and soaring inflation, were shocked by the scale of the £1.7bn embezzlement, which was exposed last year, and by allegations it was carried out by people close to the political elite, or with their assent.

Thirty-nine people were tried for the fraud, the biggest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Four of those had been sentenced to hang, the IRNA state news agency reported.

“According to the sentence that was issued, four of the defendants in this case were sentenced to death,” prosecutor general Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei told IRNA.

Two people had been sentenced to life prison terms, and others received jail sentences of up to 25 years, Mohseni-Ejei said. In addition to jail time, some were sentenced to flogging, ordered to pay fines and banned from government jobs.

Mohseni-Ejei did not name the defendants, whom Iranian media have identified only by their initials. State television broadcast parts of the trial but blurred out the faces of the accused.

The man described by Iranian media as the mastermind of the scheme, the businessman Amir Mansoor Khosravi, is said to have forged letters of credit from Iran’s Bank Saderat to fund dozens of companies and buy a steel factory from the state.

Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former head of Iran’s biggest bank, the state-owned Bank Melli, resigned over the affair and fled to Canada, where records show he owns a £1.9m home. …

FLASH! Iran has rare lucid moment - film at eleven.

May 22 2012


News of the World's 'fake sheikh' had Tom Watson followed, emails show | Media | The Guardian

Mazher Mahmood, who now works for Sunday Times, appears to have commissioned surveillance of phone-hacking critic

The News of the World journalist Mazher Mahmood commissioned surveillance on his paper’s chief phone-hacking critic, the Labour MP Tom Watson, in the hope of finding him having an affair, according to email evidence Watson has obtained.

News International’s internal investigating group, the management and standards committee, belatedly turned over the emails to a parliamentary committee of which Watson was a member. They implicate Mahmood and two former NoW executives, the assistant editor Ian Edmondson and news editor James Mellor.

This latest revelation of methods at the now-closed NoW will present difficulties for John Witherow, the editor of the Sunday Times. Mahmood, the so-called “fake sheikh” who specialised in controversial undercover investigations, was rehired by the Sunday Times after its sister paper was closed down by Rupert Murdoch, and is still working there.

Witherow has not so far commented on the disclosures.

The attempt by journalists at the NoW to gain evidence of sexual indiscretions by its arch-critic was launched on the morning of Saturday 26 September 2009, at the start of the Labour party conference. Mahmood claimed in an email to Mellor, copied to Edmondson, that he had received a tip that married Watson was “shagging” a fellow activist, and that he was “creeping into her hotel” at Brighton. The information, from a so-far unknown purported informant, appears to have been completely false. …


News International executives should face possibility of jail, says MP | Media | The Guardian

…Labour frontbencher Chris Bryant…believed the case would be seen as “one of the most flagrant examples of a contempt of parliament in parliament’s history”. He told MPs: “It is not just that it was one person at one time, it was not just that it was one organisation for a brief period of time, it’s that a whole series of people systematically, repeatedly lied so as to protect themselves, to protect their commercial interests and to try and make sure they didn’t end up going to prison – that they did fully knowing that they were telling lies to parliament. That, I believe, is a fundamental contempt.” …

…He said: “I believe that this house and the committee itself should consider in turn, firstly whether or not the three individuals mentioned, and corporately News International should be summoned to this house. I believe that it must still be an important power for this house.

“Secondly, they should consider whether individuals should be fined, not least because there have been considerable expenses incurred by parliament and the prosecuting authorities by the process of lying to parliament, and thirdly, it has to be right whether or not to imprison.

“If this had happened in the Scottish parliament, it would have gone on to imprisonment, if it had been a contempt of court it would have led to imprisonment, if it had been perjury of a court, it would have led to imprisonment.”

April 28 2012


News Corporation has sought to undermine elected governments | David Puttnam | Comment is free | The Observer

Rupert Murdoch is a man driven not so much by market forces as a deep desire to optimise his empire’s power and influence

Shame! Shame! How dare he?! That’s the cia’s job!

April 26 2012


Rupert Murdoch: myth, memory and imagination | Harold Evans | Comment is free | The Guardian

The version of history told by Rupert Murdoch at the Leveson inquiry bears no relation to what actually happened

As he left the inquiry for a break, his tongue was still rolling.  Dan Sabbagh, the Guardian’s head of media, heard him grumble to his advisers about Lord Justice Leveson: "Let’s get him to get this fucking thing over with today."  If only they could.  Murdoch resumes his evidence on Thursday morning.
Rupert Murdoch gives away more than planned at Leveson inquiry | Media | The Guardian
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