Societe Generale to Pay $860 Million to Resolve Criminal Charges in US and France for Bribing Libyan Officials and Libor-Rigging

Societe Generale to Pay $860 Million to Resolve Criminal Charges in US and France for Bribing Libyan Officials and Libor-Rigging

Societe Generale, one of the largest french bank and leading bank in Europe, has agreed to pay $860 Million to resolve criminal charges in the United States and France for bribing Libyan officials and manipulating LIBOR rates.  The bank has admitted to making over $90 million in corrupt payments and manipulating the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

” Societe Generale to Pay $860 Million to Resolve Criminal Charges in US and France for Bribing Libyan Officials and Libor-Rigging “

Societe Generale agreed to pay a combined total penalty to the United States authorities of more than $860 million to resolve charges, of which $585 million for a scheme to bribe to officials in Libya and $275 million for manipulation of LIBOR.  In a coordinated settlement between United States and France, $292.5 million (50% of $585 million) of the penalties will be paid to the Parquet National Financier (PNF) in Paris for the Libya corruption scheme.

Between 2004 and 2009, Societe Generale had paid the Libyan Intermediary over $90 million, part of which the Libyan broker had paid to high-level Libyan officials in order to secure the investments from various Libyan state institutions.  As a result, the french bank obtained 13 investments and one restructuring from the Libyan state institutions worth a total of approximately $3.66 billion, earning profits of approximately $523 million.

Between 2010 and 2011, Societe Generale had deflated U.S. Dollar (USD) LIBOR submissions to make it look as though the french bank was able to borrow money at a more favorable interest rates than it was actually able to do.  This downward manipulation allowed Société Générale to create the appearance that it was stronger and more creditworthy than it was.

Source: Official Press Release

 

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Indian Billionaire & Jeweller Nirav Modi Linked to $1.77 Billion Fraud in India Seeks Political Asylum in UK

Indian Billionaire & Jeweller Nirav Modi Linked to $1.77 Billion Fraud in India Seeks Political Asylum in UK

Indian billionaire & jeweller Nirav Modi is seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom, 4 months after being linked to a $1.77 billion “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions in India’s 4th largest bank.

” Indian Billionaire & Jeweller Nirav Modi Linked to $1.77 Billion Fraud in India Seeks Political Asylum in UK “

In February 2018, India’s 4th Largest Bank Punjab National Bank (PNB) had uncovered $1.77 billion of “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions for the benefit of a few account holders that are alleged to include billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi.  He is wanted by the Indian police, and has been reported to be missing since February 2018 after the uncovering of the alleged fraud.

Nirav Modi founded global diamond jewelry house Nirav Modi (named after him) in 2010 and Nirav Modi was the first Indian jeweler to have been featured on the covers of Christie’s and Sotheby’s Catalogue.  Nirav Modi’s jewellery are worn by famous hollywood and bollywood stars, including having Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts and Priyanka Chopra advertised for the brand.  He is estimated to have a personal fortune of more than $1.7 billion.

Source: TWI, Reuters, BBCTimes of India

 

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Argentina and IMF Agrees 3 Year $50 Billion Plan to Rebuild Economy

Argentina and IMF Agrees 3 Year $50 Billion Plan to Rebuild Economy

Argentina and International Monetary Fund (IMF)  have reached a $50 billion 3 year standby loan agreement to rebuild Argentina’s economy.  For 16 years, Argentina is still struggling to recover from their major economic crisis  in 2001-2002.

“Argentina and IMF Agrees 3 Year $50 Billion Plan to Rebuild Economy”

On 8th May 2018, Argentina had requested assistance to IMF after investments exited the 3rd largest economy in South America, causing the Argentine peso to weaken sharply.  In 2016, the largest economy in South America is Brazil’s GDP is $1.8 trillion.  The 2nd largest is Mexico is with $1.05 trillion and Argentina is 3rd with $545 billion.

If the loan agreement is approved, Argentina will accelerate plans to reduce the fiscal deficit (spending less and increasing revenue), and restore the budget balance by 2020.  The financing rate is between 1.96% to 4.96%.

Source: The Guardian, IMF

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Foxconn Industrial Internet Shanghai IPO Debuts with 44% Surge to $61 Billion Market Value

Foxconn Industrial Internet Shanghai IPO Debuts with 44% Surge to $61 Billion Market Value

Foxconn industrial internet has surged by 44% at its Shanghai IPO to reach a market capitalisation of $61 billion.  The 44% (23x P/E) increase is the maximum allowed in China’s first day trade (at IPO), according to China Securities Regulatory Commission guidance issued in 2014.

” Foxconn Industrial Internet Shanghai IPO Debuts with 44% Surge to $61 Billion Market Value “

Foxconn Industrial Internet is the subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn), the world’s biggest contract electronics manufacturer and a major supplier to Apple including the popular iPhone.  Founder Terry Gou had created Foxconn industrial internet to path a new chapter away from Foxconn’s main business on manufacturing electronics to leading global corporations.

Terry Gou, is a Taiwanese tycoon and billionaire with an estimated net worth of $8 billion, was born in 1950.  He founded Hon Hai Precision Industry Company in Taiwan in 1974 at the age of 24 with $7,500.  He grew the business into the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics that employs almost 1.2 million employees.

 

Source: Bloomberg, SCMP, Xinhua

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Alibaba’s Ant Financial has Raised $14 Billion in $150 Billion Valuation

Alibaba’s Ant Financial has Raised $14 Billion in $150 Billion Valuation

Ant Financial, the largest online financial platform in China and a unit of Alibaba, has raised $14 billion in Series C equity financing from global investors.  The $14 billion is possibly the largest private funding raised, will value the company at around $150 billion in market value.  (Market Cap on 8.6.2018: Goldman Sachs $87 billion, Citigroup $174 billion, JP Morgan $376 billion, Alibaba $537 billion)

” Alibaba’s Ant Financial has Raised $14 Billion in $150 Billion Valuation “

Ant Financial (Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co.), which owns Alipay, was spinned off from Alibaba Group before its 2014 IPO.  Brands under Ant Financial Services Group include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Zhima Credit, MYbank and Ant Financial Cloud.  Alipay, together with its global partners, served approximately 870 million annual active users globally and over 15 million small businesses in China.

Investors in the $14 billion round includes Canada Pension Plan Investment Board with a reported $600 million investment, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund (GIC and Temasek), Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional and leading equity firms Warburg Pincus, Silver Lake General Atlantic and Carlyle Group.  Deutsche Bank, Citi, China International Capital Corporation, CITIC Securities, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley are the appointed financial advisors to Ant Financial and Ant International for the Series C equity financing.

Ant Financial is anticipated by media reports to do an initial public offering (IPO) in 2019.

Source: Ant Financial, Reuters, Bloomberg

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Credit Suisse to Pay $47 Million to US Authorities for Hiring Practices in Asia-Pacific

Credit Suisse to Pay $47 Million to US Authorities for Hiring Practices in Asia-Pacific

Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) has agreed to pay US authorities $47 million to resolve investigations of the Swiss bank hiring practices in Asia-Pacific.

” Credit Suisse to Pay $47 Million to US Authorities for Hiring Practices in Asia-Pacific “

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) were investigating if Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) had hired relatives of government officials or powerful executives in Asia to increase chances of getting businesses & deals between 2007 to 2013.  These hiring practices would have infringed the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The $47 million settlement to the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) is a non-prosecution agreement to resolve the case, and no criminal charges have been brought against the bank.  Other banks have also made settlements with U.S. authorities including JP Morgan paying more than $260 million in 2017.

Source: Credit Suisse, Reuters, Bloomberg

 

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Microsoft Buys Coding Platform Github for $7.5 Billion and Creates 3 New Billionaires

Microsoft Buys Coding Platform Github for $7.5 Billion and Creates 3 New Billionaires

Microsoft has reached an agreement to buy coding platform Github for $7.5 Billion, making the 3 co-founders of Github billionaires.  The 3 co-founders Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath and PJ Hyett and the remaining shareholders will receive $7.5 billion in Microsoft shares.  The transaction will also make each of the 3 co-founders, one of the largest individual shareholder of Microsoft.

“Microsoft Buys Coding Platform Github for $7.5 Billion and Creates 3 New Billionaires”

Founded in 2008 by Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath and PJ Hyett, GitHub is the world’s leading software development platform with more than 28 million developers on the platform.  Microsoft is the world’s largest software company founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975.  The founder Bill Gates, is the world’s richest man with a personal fortune exceeding $90 billion.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2018.

Source: Microsoft, Github, Bloomberg

 

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France Richest Man and Chairman of LVMH Bernard Arnault Gives Son Key Role

France Richest Man and Chairman of LVMH Bernard Arnault Gives Son Key Role

Bernard Arnault, the chairman of world’s leading luxury company LVMH and France’s richest man, has given his son Antoine Arnault a key role to manage image and communication at LVMH.  Already CEO of Berluti and chairman of Loro Piana, Antoine and his siblings are holding key roles in the publicly listed LVMH Group.

” France Richest Man and Chairman of LVMH Bernard Arnault Gives Son Key Role “

Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault, is chairman of LVMH group and France’s richest man with a personal net worth exceeding $80 billion.  30 years ago in 1988, he had acquired a large block of LVMH shares through an investment holding company.  In 1989, he acquired a large shareholding in the company and to prevent a potential breakout of LVMH group, and became the Chairman in 2017.

Today, LVMH is the world’s leading luxury products group with more than 70 brands, 42.6 billion euros ($49.95 billion) revenue in 2017, 145,000 employees and a retail network of over 4,370 stores worldwide.  LVMH group owns many leading luxury brands including brands such as Moet et Chandon, Dom Perignon, Glenmorangie, Krug, Hennessy, Veuve Clicquot,  Christian Dior, Fendi, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Bvlgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer, Zenith, DFS and Sephora.

Born in 1949, Bernard Arnault has 5 children (1 daughter and 4 sons) from 2 marriages.  His daughter Delphine Arnault is an executive vice president at Louis Vuitton while his son Alexandre Arnault was named the co-CEO of Rimowa (German’s luggage maker) at the age of 24 in 2016.  Another son, Frederic Alexandre at age 23, had became the Head of connected technologies for Tag Heuer.

Source: BloombergLVMH

 

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China International Star and Actress Fan Bingbing Probed for Evading Tax 

China International Star and Actress Fan Bingbing Probed for Evading Tax 

China’s most recognised international star and 36 year-old-actress Fang Bingbing is being investigated by China tax authorities in the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu province for possibly using dual-contracts to reduce income tax.

“China International Star and Actress Fan Bingbing Probed for Evading Tax”

A former CCTV anchor had posted screenshots of 2 contracts on his social media account, Weibo, triggering investigations into dual-contract practices in the entertainment industry.  Both contracts were implied to belong to Fan Bingbing, with one contract showing a 60 million yuan ($9.36 million) contract and another showing a 10 million yuan ($1.56 million) contract.  Dual-contracts are sometimes used to reduce legal risks, tax payable or to evade tax.

In the 2017 Forbes China Celebrity list, she is listed as the highest paid actress in China earning an estimated 300 million yuan ($46.82 million).  Already China’s superstar,  she starred in Hollywood movie X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014.

Source: Yicai, Caixin, SCMP, Forbes

 

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World Largest Travel Luggage Company Samsonite CEO Resigns after Short-Seller Releases Report

World Largest Travel Luggage Company Samsonite CEO Resigns after Short-Seller Releases Report

The world’s largest travel luggage company Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala has resigned after a US short-seller released a report of Samsonite’s questionable accounting practices and CEO academic credentials as a PhD holder.  The United States short-seller Blue Orca Capital had released a research report on 24th May 2018, providing analysis that valued the Hong Kong listed company (SEHK: 1910) at nearly half its stock price (23/5/18: HKD 34.05, Short-seller valuation: HKD 17.59).

” World Largest Travel Luggage Company Samsonite CEO Resigns after Short-Seller Releases Report “

On 1st June 2018, Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala announced his resignation and CFO Kyle Gendreau took over as CEO.  The Samsonite Board of Directors has reviewed the allegations contained in the Short-Seller Report and has determined them to be one-sided and misleading.  Prior to the report, the stock traded at HKD 34.05 on 23/5/18 (Wed) and fell to HKD 26.90 (Fri) on 25/5/18.  The stock closed at HKD 29.55 on 1/6/18 (Fri) following the resigning of the CEO, down 13% for the 7 days trading period.

Samsonite International S.A. is the world’s largest travel luggage company, with a heritage dating back more than 100 years.  The US headquartered and Hong Kong listed company was founded by Jesse Shwayder in 1910 in United States and had began business as a trunk manufacturing company.  In 1941, the company introduced Samsonite and it became one of the most well-known travel luggage brands in the world.  The company owns many leading brands including American Tourister,  Tumi, High Sierra and Hartmann.

Source: SCMPSamsonite, Blue ORCA Capital

 

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