The Labor of LIBOR; Coal Company Not Energized by Obama’s New EPA Policies; Disgraced Bitcoin-er Busted

Don’t bank on it…

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From the most hallowed banking institutions of UBS and Citigroup, disgraced banker Thomas Hayes will now make his way to the halls of a correctional institution, all thanks to his role in the LIBOR scandal. On trial in the UK, Hayes pleaded not guilty, although jurors felt otherwise and now gets to spend the next fourteen years in prison contemplating his misdeeds. The U.S. already charged Hayes back in 2012 for his misdeeds at UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland and a number of banks already had to cough up $9 billion in penalties over their involvement in rigging the benchmarks. Hayes was found guilty on all 8 counts of conspiracy to defraud. And it’s not everyday a trader gets convicted for rigging rates on the London Interbank Offered Rates. In fact, Hayes has the dubious distinction of becoming the first person to be convicted in the scandal, which makes sense, since he was apparently the ringleader for more than a dozen other brokers and traders who participated in messing with global rates for mortgages, loans and credit cards just so that they could profit. Those misdeeds affected some $350 trillion in global financial markets. Including ours. Talk about rude.

So un-coal…

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Battered and broken is just one way to describe the coal industry as President Obama just announced the latest EPA policies which are supposedly going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030. And of course that is splendid news. Just not for Alpha Natural Resources who made its own announcement today: bankruptcy. The natural gas boom combined with the new EPA rules have dealt quite the blow to the second biggest coal producer. While the company has over $10 billion in assets with around 8,000 employees, it also needs to ditch some $3.3 billion in debt. The once powerful coal supplier had to close more than 80 mines since 2011 as the shale boom began to take effect. And who can blame shale? After all, it is a cheaper, less polluting energy source.

Bit-fraud…

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mark Karpeles, the disgraced head of collapsed Tokyo bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, has, un-shockingly, been arrested in Japan on suspicion of (gasp) fraud. Who would have thought. Apparently, Karpeles falsified documents and manipulated the computer system over thirty times in an effort to fatten up his bank account by about a million bucks. If the 30 year old Karpeles is found guilty, he might just become pen pals (no pen-pun intended) with Thomas Hayes, except the French-born Karpeles would be idling his incarcerated says in Japan. If you recall, 850,000 bit coins – equal to about $480 million at the time –  went missing under Karpeles’ watch. But wouldn’t ya know it, 200,000 bit coins were subsequently recovered by Karpeles, who must have remembered where he had apparently misplaced them. As for the remaining missing cyber-currency, well, Karpeles conveniently blames the theft on a “bug” from a cyber-attack. You don’t say…

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Bitcoin’s Not Feeling the Hacker Love, Fly The Divisive Skies and A Credit To Your Score

And then there were none…

Courtesy bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mt. Gox, once Bitcoin’s largest exchange, now bears the dubious distinction of being the most broke.  That’s right. Mt. Gox has officially officially gone bust.  “First of all, ” (Former?)French CEO Mark Karpeles said, “I’m very sorry.” No doubt. But he also wanted to reassure folks that “the bitcoin industry is healthy and it is growing.” Just not at Mt. Gox. It’s believed that 750,000 bitcoins, or about half a billion dollars –  as they say in the regulated currency languages –  went missing after some particularly adept hackers had the nerve to exploit weaknesses in the system at Mt. Gox.   But no need  to fret if you are still planning a foray into crypto-currency.  Major bitcoin players feel that it was Karpeles’ fault and the bitcoin industry is still very much a worthy pursuit.  What a relief.

We’re just not that into you…

Courtesy Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Attention coach passengers: Now you need not be bothered having to sit so close to those pesky first-class passengers.  Airlines are coming up with new ways to further divide us, socio-economically speaking, by creating actual physical distance between economy and upper class passengers Those flying coach – or economy, if you will –  will likely no longer have the ability to watch those upper-class passengers dine on their sumptuous gourmet meals (though they will still have to inhale the intoxicating aromas that float tauntingly toward the rear of the aircraft). Flying United Airlines or American Airlines any time soon?  Well you’re in luck. If you’re fortunate enough to fly upper-class, then be ready to check in at a specially designed tricked out private room then be led out secret doors to the head of the security lines. Kind like a Batcave.  But rest assured, those elite few will have to pay hefty fees for such prestigious services, some airlines charging in the ballpark of $19,000. So there!

Give credit where credit is due…

Courtesy Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ever needed to find out your credit score only to discover that, ironically, you need to whip out your credit card to do so?  Well the good news is that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to do away with that practice and instead is asking credit card companies to just do it – FOR FREE!  If there are any errors, providing that information on your statement could make it soooooo much easier to correct, critics argue than having to go through the three major credit bureaus.  In fact some companies have already graciously been providing that information out of the goodness of their own hearts.  Sweet. If your credit card company hasn’t caught on, it’s still possible that in the near future, when the dreaded statement arrives in your mailbox, your credit score will be prominently displayed right there next to your balance (and hopefully not next to any late fees).  The bad news: It’s merely a strong suggestion and your chosen credit card company can opt not to do it.