PM 120401

Were IMF funds used to pay for Prostitutes as a Business Expense?


THE US ratings agencies have been top of the tree for years now.

Finally, they are being held accountable themselves (items 3-4).


(1) Were IMF funds used to pay for Prostitutes as a Business Expense?

(2) Strauss-Kahn charged in France with “aggravated organized Procurement of Prostitutes”

(3) S&P sued for giving its highest AAA rating to derivative-linked notes that in fact were

(4) S&P can’t blame Global Crisis for Notes’ collapse, Lawyer says

(5) Western Union, and an Australian bank, wiring drug money – Australian Federal Police

(6) WALL STREET CONFIDENCE TRICK: How “Interest Rate Swaps” Are Bankrupting Local Governments

(7) Chicago G8 Summit, facing Occupy-style protests, moved to Camp David


(1) Were IMF funds used to pay for Prostitutes as a Business Expense?


Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2012 08:29:01 +0700

Subject: Re: Strauss-Kahn had sex with woman as five other men looked on

– Brothel keeper

From: Anthony Lawson <>


> Strauss-Kahn had sex with woman as five  > other men looked on – Brothel keeper


Much more suave than having sex with five men with a women looking on, donchathink?


Reply (Peter M.):


You are poking fun at my coverage of this story.


Some readers might protest that these reports about Strauss-Kahn are lurid like Rupert Murdock tabloids.


The point is that Strauss-Kahn is no ordinary serial-rapist. He was the highest-paid public official in the world, and used the “diplomatic immunity” of UN/International Agencies as carte blanche.


When prosecutors mounted criminal cases against him, in both the US and France, he used his immense wealth to buy lawyers and PR spinners to discredit his victims and have charges withdrawn.


An escort agency in France flew Prostitutes all over the world to have sex with Strauss-Kahn & co. at their orgies. Strauss-Kahn MUST have known that they were Prostitutes. The money to pay them came from company funds, in at least one case (in France), ie was accounted a Business Expense.


There is also the question whether IMF funds were used to pay for Prostitutes, when Strauss–Kahn was head.


On at least one occasion, the escort agency flow a Prostitute from France to Washington DC when Strauss-Kahn was head of the IMF. Who paid

– him or the IMF?


A broader issue is whether any organizations Strauss-Kahn was associated with claimed Prostitution as a Business Expense and Tax Deduction.


This is a story about corruption at the highest levels.


It’s also a story of Social Class – exploitation of the poor by the rich.


What will happen if the US Courts decide that Strauss-Kahn DOES have Diplomatic Immunity, in this Rape case?


Then the spotlight will shift to the IMF, the UN and associated agencies. They lecture everyone else about Human Rights, but here they are shielding a serial rapist. To avoid such a taint to their reputation, they will cast Strauss-Kahn adrift. The Maid will have her day in court.


But for her whistleblowing, Strauss-Kahn would presently be contesting the election for President of France – with a good chance of winning. So the whole world should be thankful to her.


(2) Strauss-Kahn charged in France with “aggravated organized Procurement of Prostitutes”


Strauss-Kahn Charged in France With Prostitute Procurement


Heather Smith, ©2012 Bloomberg News


March 27 (Bloomberg) —


Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was charged by three investigating judges in the northern French city of Lille with procurement in a prostitution ring, prosecutors said.


The charge stems from an investigation into a prostitution ring linked to the Carlton hotel in Lille. Investigators uncovered evidence women had been hired to travel as far as Washington to have sex with the then-chief of the IMF.


Strauss-Kahn, 62, turned himself in Feb. 21 and was held overnight to answer questions as investigators sought to determine whether he knew the women were prostitutes, or how they were paid. French builder Eiffage SA (FGR) filed a complaint for embezzlement after an internal probe found an employee spent as much as 50,000 euros ($66,790) to pay for prostitutes for Strauss-Kahn.


“The three investigating judges in Lille in charge of the so-called Carlton affair have charged Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn with aggravated organized procurement of prostitutes,” prosecutors said last night in a statement.


The charges followed a closed-door meeting yesterday between Strauss-Kahn and judges. Prosecutors said Strauss-Kahn was ordered not to contact other people involved in the case, including the eight other people charged in the case, witnesses and the press, according to the statement. He was released on a 100,000 euro bond.


Paying for sex is legal in France, while procuring prostitutes for someone else isn’t. Under the French penal code, procurement in the context of a prostitution ring can be punished by as much as 20 years in jail and 3 million euros.


Strauss-Kahn “declared with the greatest firmness that he is not guilty of any of these deeds and never had the least awareness that the women he met could have been prostitutes,” Richard Malka, one of his lawyers, said last night upon leaving the judges’ offices in Lille. His lawyers will hold a press conference today in Paris.


The former IMF managing director gave up his post last year after being arrested in New York on charges he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.

Local prosecutors dropped that case because of concerns about his accuser’s credibility and Strauss- Kahn returned to France, where he faced a separate accusation of attempted rape, which was also dropped.


The New York case is Diallo v. Strauss-Kahn, 11-307065, New York State Supreme Court (Bronx County).


(3) S&P sued for giving its highest AAA rating to derivative-linked notes that in fact were Junk


S&P AAA-Rated Notes Sold in Australia Decried as Junk


By Joe Schneider and Susan Li – Fri Mar 30 03:35:51 GMT 2012


March 30 (Bloomberg) –


Standard & Poor’s, facing lawsuits by Australian towns for giving its highest rating to derivative-linked notes that lost almost all their value, should have known the investments didn’t deserve the ranking, an analyst said.


“It should’ve been junk,” said Peter Tchir, who developed collateralized debt obligation investments at Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG before founding TF Market Advisors. “It’s good Australia is pushing this,” he said in a Bloomberg Television interview today.


The case, the first of its kind worldwide, claims S&P misled investors with its system for labeling a borrower’s creditworthiness, according to IMF (Australia) Ltd., which is funding the litigation. Twelve Australian townships as a group claim in their lawsuit that they lost A$15 million

($16 million) of A$16 million invested in notes called Rembrandt that were rated AAA by S&P. A 13th town sued separately after losing more than 90 percent of its A$1 million investment.


The towns claimed S&P gave the notes the highest investment rating after pressure from ABN Amro Bank NV, which became the Australian affiliate of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. (RBS) ABN Amro Bank and S&P have denied the allegation.


The value of the so-called constant proportion debt obligations, created by ABN Amro Bank, was linked to movements in the iTraxx credit default swap index in Europe and the Dow Jones CDX in the U.S.


Second-Lowest Ranking


The assets backing the securities may have been worthy of BBB, S&P’s second-lowest investment rating, Tchir said. The notes used borrowing to magnify gains or losses, making them riskier, he said.


“Taking something that is BBB and leveraging it shouldn’t make it safer, but according to them it did,” Tchir said.


In rating the notes, S&P ignored lessons from the collapse of Enron Corp. and Worldcom Inc. in 2001 and the sudden changes in credit markets such events can create, he said.


Tchir said he hoped more investors would hold rating companies accountable, although U.S. free-speech laws protect the firms in that country from lawsuits such as the one filed in Australia.


The notes were unwound less than two years after the towns bought them as credit spreads increased, and their cash value was exhausted in 2008.

Borrowing costs rose amid the most extreme financial conditions since the Great Depression, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., ABN Amro Bank said in written submissions.


The bank said it sold $5 billion of the CPDO notes and no one else sued, because most were sold to institutional investors able to properly assess the risks.


The Australian towns failed to make responsible efforts to understand the investment, S&P said in written submissions to Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot, who will decide the case.


The case is: Bathurst Regional Council v. Local Government Financial Services Ltd. NSD936/2009. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).


To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at


To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at


(4) S&P can’t blame Global Crisis for Notes’ collapse, Lawyer says


Standard & Poor’s can’t blame the 2008 global financial crisis for the collapse of notes it recommended because it rated the debt as a long-term investment, said a lawyer for an Australian financial adviser.


Local Government Financial Services Ltd. sued S&P in Federal Court in Sydney, accusing the company of breach of duty and negligence in giving the notes the highest investment rating. LGFS filed the lawsuit after it was sued by a dozen Australian towns that lost more than 90 percent of their investment.


S&P may face potentially unlimited, or so-called indeterminable, claims if it’s found liable for its ratings, the New York-based unit of McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP) said in written submissions that it’s scheduled to present to the court this week. S&P blamed the global financial crisis, when credit markets froze following the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., for the notes’ collapse.


“To say adverse economic conditions, even very adverse economic conditions” could be blamed for the collapse of a AAA- rated 10-year investment is “totally unreal,” Guy Parker, LGFS’s lawyer said in his closing statement yesterday before Justice Jayne Jagot.


LGFS and the Australian townships also sued ABN Amro Bank NV, which became the Australian affiliate of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), and manufactured the investments, according to Parker. ABN Amro Bank in turn sued S&P, saying the ratings company failed to rate the notes “well and competently.”


The case is: Bathurst Regional Council v. Local Government Financial Services Ltd. NSD936/2009. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).


(5) Western Union, and an Australian bank, wiring drug money – Australian Federal Police


Western Union linked to wiring drug money




27 Mar, 2012 12:00 AM


WESTERN UNION money remitters are suspected of facilitating the movement of tens of millions of dollars in drug money out of Australia over the past five years, according to inquiries by federal law enforcement agencies.


Police investigations have also identified the branch of a well-known Australian bank remitting millions out of the country on behalf of Balkan organised crime figures. Since 2007, investigations by the federal police and the Australian Crime Commission have identified millions in suspected drug dollars being wired offshore by money remitters, including Western Union sub-agents.


A law enforcement document states that the federal police’s Operation Basti identified ”multiple Western Union sub-agencies” in Sydney sending money suspected to be the proceeds of drug trafficking.


Another briefing circulated among law enforcement agencies states that:

”Western Union moved over $700 million in funds from Australia in the last financial year and is in direct competition with Australia’s big four banks … [law enforcement officials suspect] that a significant proportion of these funds are criminal proceeds.”


Investigators believe a small number of Western Union sub-agencies and other independent remitters have moved tainted cash by mixing it in with legal funds or dividing it up and sending it in amounts under $10,000.

Amounts less than $10,000 are not required to be reported to the government’s anti-money laundering agency, Austrac.


A Western Union spokesman said the company had ”co-operated with law enforcement on investigations of specific agent locations”.


”To the best of our knowledge, no agents or their sub-agents have been prosecuted for offering Western Union branded remittance services in Australia … In any event, we work closely with Australian law enforcement with the aim to deter anyone seeking to violate the service we offer.”


Western Union services in Australia sent money to 198 countries last year.


(6) WALL STREET CONFIDENCE TRICK: How “Interest Rate Swaps” Are Bankrupting Local Governments


From: Ellen Brown <>                Date: 23 March 2012 16:43


Mar 22, 2012 – 12:32 PM


By: Ellen Brown


Far from reducing risk, derivatives increase risk, often with

catastrophic results. —    Derivatives expert Satyajit Das, Extreme

Money (2011)


The “toxic culture of greed” on Wall Street was highlighted again last week, when Greg Smith went public with his resignation from Goldman Sachs in a scathing oped published in the New York Times.  In other recent eyebrow-raisers, LIBOR rates—the benchmark interest rates involved in interest rate swaps—were shown to be manipulated by the banks that would have to pay up; and the objectivity of the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) was called into question, when a 50% haircut for creditors was not declared a “default”

requiring counterparties to pay on credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt.


Interest rate swaps are less often in the news than credit default swaps, but they are far more important in terms of revenue, composing fully 82% of the derivatives trade.  In February, JP Morgan Chase revealed that it had cleared $1.4 billion in revenue on trading interest rate swaps in 2011, making them one of the bank’s biggest sources of profit.  According to the Bank for International Settlements:


[I]nterest rate swaps are the largest component of the global OTC derivative market.  The notional amount outstanding as of June 2009 in OTC interest rate swaps was $342 trillion, up from $310 trillion in Dec 2007.  The gross market value was $13.9 trillion in June 2009, up from

$6.2 trillion in Dec 2007.


For more than a decade, banks and insurance companies convinced local governments, hospitals, universities and other non-profits that interest rate swaps would lower interest rates on bonds sold for public projects such as roads, bridges and schools.  The swaps were entered into to insure against a rise in interest rates; but instead, interest rates fell to historically low levels.  This was not a flood, earthquake, or other insurable risk due to environmental unknowns or “acts of God.”  It was a deliberate, manipulated move by the Fed, acting to save the banks from their own folly in precipitating the credit crisis of 2008.  The banks got in trouble, and the Federal Reserve and federal government rushed in to bail them out, rewarding them for their misdeeds at the expense of the taxpayers.


How the swaps were supposed to work was explained by Michael McDonald in a November 2010 Bloomberg article titled “Wall Street Collects $4 Billion From Taxpayers as Swaps Backfire”:


In an interest-rate swap, two parties exchange payments on an agreed-upon amount of principal. Most of the swaps Wall Street sold in the municipal market required borrowers to issue long-term securities with interest rates that changed every week or month. The borrowers would then exchange payments, leaving them paying a fixed-rate to a bank or insurance company and receiving a variable rate in return. Sometimes borrowers got lump sums for entering agreements.


Banks and borrowers were supposed to be paying equal rates: the fat years would balance out the lean.  But the Fed artificially manipulated the rates to the save the banks.  After the credit crisis broke out, borrowers had to continue selling adjustable-rate securities at auction under the deals.  Auction interest rates soared when bond insurers’

ratings were downgraded because of subprime mortgage losses; but the periodic payments that banks made to borrowers as part of the swaps plunged, because they were linked to benchmarks such as Federal Reserve lending rates, which were slashed to almost zero.


In a February 2010 article titled “How Big Banks’ Interest-Rate Schemes Bankrupt States,” Mike Elk compared the swaps to payday loans.  They were bad deals, but municipal council members had no other way of getting the money.  He quoted economist Susan Ozawa of the New School:


The markets were pricing in serious falls in the prime interest rate. .

. . So it would have been clear that this was not going to be a good deal over the life of the contracts. So the states and municipalities were entering into these long maturity swaps out of necessity. They were desperate, if not naive, and couldn’t look to the Federal Government or Congress and had to turn themselves over to the banks.


Elk wrote:


As almost all reasoned economists had predicted in the wake of a deepening recession, the federal government aggressively drove down interest rates to save the big banks. This created opportunity for banks – whose variable payments on the derivative deals were tied to interest rates set largely by the Federal Reserve and Government – to profit excessively at the expense of state and local governments. While banks are still collecting fixed rates of from 4 percent to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying state and local governments as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds – with no end to the low rates in sight.


. . . [W]ith the fed lowering interest rates, which was anticipated, now states and local governments are paying about 50 times what the banks are paying. Talk about a windfall profit the banks are making off of the suffering of local economies.


To make matters worse, these state and local governments have no way of getting out of these deals. Banks are demanding that state and local governments pay tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in fees to exit these deals. In some cases, banks are forcing termination of the deals against the will of state and local governments, using obscure contract provisions written in the fine print.


By the end of 2010, according to Michael McDonald, borrowers had paid over $4 billion just to get out of the swap deals.  Among other disasters, he lists these:


California’s water resources department . . . spent $305 million unwinding interest-rate bets that backfired, handing over the money to banks led by New York-based Morgan Stanley. North Carolina paid $59.8 million in August, enough to cover the annual salaries of about 1,400 full-time state employees. Reading, Pennsylvania, which sought protection in the state’s fiscally distressed communities program, got caught on the wrong end of the deals, costing it $21 million, equal to more than a year’s worth of real-estate taxes.


In a March 15th article on Counterpunch titled “An Inside Glimpse Into the Nefarious Operations of Goldman Sachs: A Toxic System,” Darwin Bond-Graham adds these cases from California:


The most obvious example is the city of Oakland where a chronic budget crisis has led to the shuttering of schools and cuts to elder services, housing, and public safety. Oakland signed an interest rate swap with Goldman in 1997. . . .


Across the Bay, Goldman Sachs signed an interest rate swap agreement with the San Francisco International Airport in 2007 to hedge $143 million in debt. Today this agreement has a negative value to the Airport of about $22 million, even though its terms were much better than those Oakland agreed to.


Greg Smith wrote that at Goldman Sachs, the gullible bureaucrats on the other side of these deals were called “muppets.”  But even sophisticated players could have found themselves on the wrong side of this sort of manipulated bet.  Satyajit Das gives the example of Harvard University’s bad swap deals under the presidency of Larry Summers, who had fought against derivatives regulation as Treasury Secretary in 1999.  There could hardly be more sophisticated players than Summers and Harvard University.  But then who could have anticipated, when the Fed funds rate was at 5%, that the Fed would push it nearly to zero?  When the game is rigged, even the most experienced gamblers can lose their shirts.


Courts have dismissed complaints from aggrieved borrowers alleging securities fraud, ruling that interest-rate swaps are privately negotiated contracts, not securities; and “a deal is a deal.”  So says contract law, strictly construed; but municipal governments and the taxpayers supporting them clearly have a claim in equity.  The banks have made outrageous profits by capitalizing on their own misdeeds.

They have already been paid several times over: first with taxpayer bailout money; then with nearly free loans from the Fed; then with fees, penalties and exaggerated losses imposed on municipalities and other counterparties under the interest rate swaps themselves.


Bond-Graham writes:


The windfall of revenue accruing to JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and their peers from interest rate swap derivatives is due to nothing other than political decisions that have been made at the federal level to allow these deals to run their course, even while benchmark interest rates, influenced by the Federal Reserve’s rate setting, and determined by many of these same banks (the London Interbank Offered Rate, LIBOR) linger close to zero. These political decisions have determined that virtually all interest rate swaps between local and state governments and the largest banks have turned into perverse contracts whereby cities, counties, school districts, water agencies, airports, transit authorities, and hospitals pay millions yearly to the few elite banks that run the global financial system, for nothing meaningful in return.


Why are these swaps so popular, if they can be such a bad deal for borrowers?  Bond-Graham maintains that capitalism as it functions today is completely dependent upon derivatives.  We live in a global sea of variable interest rates, exchange rates, and default rates.  There is no stable ground on which to anchor the economic ship, so financial products for “hedging against risk” have been sold to governments and corporations as essentials of business and trade.  But this “financial engineering” is sold, not by disinterested third parties, but by the very sharks who stand to profit from their counterparties’ loss.

Fairness is thrown out in favor of gaming the system.  Deals tend to be rigged and contracts to be misleading.


How could local governments reduce their borrowing costs and insure against interest rate volatility without putting themselves at the mercy of this Wall Street culture of greed?  One possibility is for them to own some banks.  State and municipal governments could put their revenues in their own publicly-owned banks; leverage this money into credit as all banks are entitled to do; and use that credit either to fund their own projects or to buy municipal bonds at the market rate, hedging the interest rates on their own bonds.


The creation of credit has too long been delegated to a cadre of private middlemen who have flagrantly abused the privilege.  We can avoid the derivatives trap by cutting out the middlemen and creating our own credit, following the precedent of the Bank of North Dakota and many other public banks abroad.


Ellen Brown is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Ellen Brown


© Copyright Ellen Brown , Global Research, 2012


(7) Chicago G8 Summit, facing Occupy-style protests, moved to Camp David


Facing Global Protest, G8 Retreats


Posted 11 hours ago on March 6, 2012, 4:48 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt


The Group of 8 Summit, a meeting of the governments of the world’s eight largest economies, was supposed to convene in Chicago this May. For months, Occupy Chicago, international anti-war groups, Anonymous, and hundreds of allies have publicly planned to shut it down. Now, only two months before the meeting is scheduled to begin, U.S. President Barack Obama is moving the assembly of over 7,000 leaders from the world’s wealthiest governments to the Camp David presidential compound, located in rural Maryland near Washington, DC, one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Chicago Tribune reports that summit organizers are “stunned” by the news.


Occupiers and allies celebrated the decision with a victory party last night. The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) and Occupy Chicago issued the following statement: The G8 moving to Camp David represents a major victory for the people of Chicago. The leaders of the 1% are moving because of the overwhelming resistance to the

NATO/G8 war and poverty agenda in Chicago. Our city is filled with tens of thousands of people who are struggling to keep their heads above water, fighting against the effects of the economic crisis caused by the leaders who would have been gathering here. The communities of Chicago are fighting to save their schools, keep healthcare available, and to defend their jobs from cutbacks that are a hallmark of the governments of the G8.


The city has carried out a campaign to intimidate and vilify protesters, claiming that protests lead to violence. In fact, the main source of violence in the world today is the wars being waged by NATO and the US.

“We will march on May 19th to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world.”


While officials claim the decision to move the G8 was not related to fear of protesters, Chicago police have admitted to expecting tens of thousands to show up in Chicago this May, and have been stocking up on “less lethal” weapons to use against protesters. Following Occupy Chicago’s Call of Action and Adbuster’s call for 50,000 people to come to Chicago, the City Council granted Chicago Mayor Emanuel extraordinary powers to make security decisions and suppress free speech during the NATO and G8 summits. The city also tried to spread fear by warning downtown businesses to ramp up their security in anticipation of conflicts between riot police and protesters.


Chicago will still host NATO allies and partners on May 20 and 21 to discuss the war in Afghanistan and other topics, and will remain a focal point for the Occupy movement this spring and beyond. Everyone is still encouraged to go to Chicago this May for a major mobilization, or organize actions locally! Occupy DC and Occupiers in Maryland have also begun to consider their response to the moving of the G8 to their area.


Coinciding with the G8 and NATO summits in the U.S., the Occupy movement, trade unions, organizations of migrant workers and the unemployed, environmentalists, youth, and anti-war protesters throughout Europe have also called for days of action from May 17th to 19th centered in Frankfurt, Germany against “the crisis dictatorship of the European Union:”


We resist the disaster that is applied to Greece and other countries, against the impoverishment and denial of rights of millions of people and the practical abolition of democratic procedures resulting from the decisions of the Troika consisting of ECB, EU and IMF. The days of protest in Frankfurt directly succeed to the International Action Day on May 12th and the anniversary of the first assembly in Madrid on May 15th. We are therefore sending a visible sign of solidarity to those people in Europe who have been and are resisting against the debtocracy of the Troika and the attacks on their livelihood and their future.

Simultaneously, protests are being organised in the US against the G8 Summit in Chicago.


The choice of Frankfurt for the protests results from the role that the city has as headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) and of powerful German and international banks and corporations. On May 17, we will occupy parks and main squares of the city to create spaces for discussion and exchange. On May 18, we will block the running business of banks in Frankfurt and turn our anger about the Troika’s policies into action. We will gather for a large demonstration on May 19 and visualise the broad base of the protests. From many countries and regions of the world people will travel to Frankfurt and participate in the days of protest.


The decision to move the G8 is a victory; it shows that the political and economic powers-that-be are scared by the power of the 99% when we awaken and join together. We must continue to use our collective strength to fight the greedy agenda of the G8 governments, who only serve the interests of the global 1%. Occupy Chicago and their allies continue to mobilize. Stay involved in organizing against the G8 at Camp David and NATO in Chicago! Follow #OccupyCampDavid, #CANG8, #GTFOG8, @OccupyTheG8, and @OccupyChicago on Twitter.


While Obama may think he can hide world leaders from dissent or shield them from our protest, our message will be heard clearly across the world – including Camp David. Those responsible for the economic crisis, widespread inequality, and manufactured austerity – the G8, NATO, EU, IMF – will be held accountable, wherever they choose to meet. From Chicago to Camp David to Frankfurt, the #GlobalSpring is upon us.


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