Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Financial and Crime Analysis

 Wall Street Journal, Goat Herd Helps Trump Lower Tax BiteDonald Trump has found a solution that cuts both his grass and his tax bill: Goats.

The goat critic in the mood to confess. Here a personal anecdote, there a self-deprecating aside, a pose of endearing amateurism. Enough absolutions ...

  • Are public bureaucracies really a fount of innovation? Not really, despite vogue for new Marianna Mazzucato book The Entrepreneurial State [Alberto Mingardi, EconLog]

Financial Institutions: Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures for Violations of Financial Crimes and Sanctions Requirements “Since 2009, financial institutions have been assessed about $12 billion in fines, penalties, and forfeitures for violations of Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money- laundering regulations (BSA/AML), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA), and U.S. sanctions programs requirements by the federal government. Specifically, GAO found that from January 2009 to December 2015, federal agencies assessed about $5.2 billion for BSA/AML violations, $27 million for FCPA violations, and about $6.8 billion for violations of U.S. sanctions program requirements. Of the $12 billion, federal agencies have collected all of these assessments, except for about $100 million.” GAO-16-297: Published: Mar 22, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 2016.

The City of London is so Criminogenic That It Boggles Even Its Banking Apologists  

Why is this technology so beneficial to lawyers? It simplifies and organizes the trial presentation process and provides information in a way that is easily digestible by jurors

The Gimmick Economy: how central banks pretend software isn’t eating the world BoingBoing

Bernie’s greatest legacy: Suddenly, it’s OK to question capitalism and its protocols! Salon

ICAC raids given go-ahead despite lack of protocol 

Japan’s most salacious crime news — and the American who publishes it Washington Post 

To understand how fraudsters make themselves feel comfortable with their actions, accounting academics studied a year of official data on taxi rides to two destinations, Newark airport and Staten Island, primarily from Brooklyn.
Cheating by drivers of New York’s yellow cabs is helping to illuminate the psychology of white-collar fraud 

 Why I (Belatedly) Blew the Whistle on the SEC’s Failure to Properly Investigate Goldman Sachs: Two things struck me about Jim Kidney’s article below. One is that he still wants to think well of his former SEC colleagues. I know other whistleblowers and internal dissenters who wound up losing their jobs who initially blame themselves, than come to accept that the system in which they operated was fundamentally corrupt, that even if some people locally really were trying to do the right thing, it was bound to either 1. go nowhere, 2. be allowed to proceed to a more meaningful level if it was cosmetic or served some larger political purpose or 3. got elevated because the organization was suddenly in trouble and they needed to burnish their cred in a big way (a variant of 2, except with 3, you might have a something serious take place by happenstance of timing). Kidney does criticize corrosive practices, particularly the SEC stopping developing its own lawyers and becoming dependent on the revolving door, but his criticisms seem muted relative to the severity of the problems.
Number two, and related, are the class assumptions at work. The SEC does not want to see securities professionals at anything other than bucket shops as bad people. At SEC conferences, agency officials are virtually apologetic and regularly say, “We know you are honest people who want to do the right thing.” Please tell me where else in law enforcement is that the underlying belief.
By James A. Kidney, former SEC attorney. Originally published at Watch the Circus

The lead story at Bloomberg is George Soros’ dire warnings about China a speech yesterday. He is talking his book; he’s short the renminbi, and pumped for China to float the Chinese currency against a broader basket of currencies, which would also lead it to decline against the dollar. Soros made a doomsday call against Europe in 2012 that did not pan out, and he has been aggressive there in trying to influence policy, both on economics and on Ukraine. And he acknowledged that the timing of ugly end games is uncertain. Key sections from the Bloomberg story

 The Panama Papers and Tax Morality, by Usman W. Chohan (University of New South Wales Sydney)
Australia Senate tax avoidance report missing vital reforms, says Tax Justice Network 

Money Laundering Reaches $113B In Germany As Organized Crime Flourishes  

1MDB investigation: Singapore charges former banker with money laundering 

Ex-partners at Belfast KPMG office challenge tax probe   

Leaders celebrate climate treaty and sustainable development goals but have failed to deliver on finance 

Strategy targets improved cyber security 

The Human Subconscious and Taxation
5:4 Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics and Business Law 1, 2016, Forthcoming. The field of economic psychology generally posits tax avoidance behavior as a conscious decision-making process of the taxpayer rather than as the fulfillment of subconscious desires. Here, Lacan´s three orders of the human psyche are analyzed to reveal the subconscious “desires” of tax avoidance behaviour.  

British spy agencies' secret mass surveillance revealed 

Brennan Center for Justice: Ames Grawert and James Cullen – “This analysis provides final crime data to update the report, Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis. It finds the same conclusions as that report (and its December 2015 update), with slightly different percentages.”
Summary of Findings: “The analysis examines crime in the 30 largest cities from 2014 to 2015, with 25 cities reporting data on murder through the end of 2015 and 22 reporting data on crime. Its findings:
•As shown in Table 1A, crime overall in the 30 largest cities in 2015 remained the same as in 2014, decreasing by 0.1 percent across cities. Two-thirds of cities saw drops in crime, which were offset mostly by an increase in Los Angeles (12.7 percent). Nationally, crime remains at all-time lows. The data show no evidence of a deviation from that trend.

The purpose of a summing-up in a criminal trial is to provide the jury with the assistance which it needs to perform its task. That task, simply stated, is to determine whether, upon the evidence presented, the prosecution has proved the guilt of the accused. Historically, the role of the judge in this respect had not been seen to be unduly difficult. Summings-up were short and to the point, and not overburdened by complex analyses of the law, or by commentary on the way in which the jury should approach the evidence.  Summing up in criminal trials - a new direction?

In the context of recent summung up article this case was referenced in Feb 2016, the summing up was unbalanced. His Honour inappropriately conflated the issue of whether the gun was fired before any struggle with the issue of when the shouting was heard. Additionally his Honour incorrectly informed the jury that the testimony of Harpreet Singh Chopra shone light on the sequence of events, when it did not. The argument which his Honour developed was to the effect that if the shots had occurred before the shouting, then this assisted the Crown case on the issue as to who had taken the gun to the Temple and initiated the incident, and on the issue as to whether the gun discharged accidentally during the struggle..

MEHER, Chanranjit - CCA, 21.10.2004
Wood CJ at CL, Buddin & Shaw JJ
Citation: R v Meher [2004] NSWCCA 355
Conviction appeal.
Wound with intent to murder; assault; use pistol without being authorised by licence or permit; possess pistol without being authorised by licence or permit.
An AVO had been obtained against appellant after his wife left with his 2 eldest children, followed by a 3rd child. They were subsequently divorced & the youngest daughter remained with her father. She left after alleging that he had sexually assaulted her, a charge of which he was later acquitted at trial. There was bitterness on both sides: appellant believed that his ex-wife had fraudulently disposed of joint property & the expense of defending the sexual assault allegations had made him financially unstable. The children & ex-wife believed the sexual assault accusations & resented having been disinherited by the appellant. The Crown alleged that on the day in question, appellant had deliberately entered the Sikh Temple at Revesby, knowing his family would be there. He carried a dark backpack containing a Ruger firearm. Documents contained in this bag included a will & citizenship papers. One of the victims (applicant's son) said that his father took out the gun & fired a shot at his mother as she ran, injuring her in the leg. When appellant & his son wrestled over the gun, the latter was elbowed in the stomach & the gun went off a 2nd time. No other witnesses saw the incident, although there was testimony from witnesses who heard the sound of shouting & shots. The son & 2 other children testified that their father had made previous threats. No forensic evidence was retrieved from the gun or from the hands or clothing of the appellant.
Trial judge's summing up to jury unfairly balanced in favour of prosecution - error in judge including factual arguments in favour of Crown not addressed on by either Crown or defence - trial miscarried by reason of judge's frequent references to appellant as a liar and that as a result his testimony might be unreliable.
Appeal allowed: new trial ordered. 

Charanjit Meher: Baldev Kaur, Amar Preet Singh et al 

TechDirt: “On [April 19, 2016], the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released some redacted versions of three previously secret FISA Court rulings. There are a few interesting things in them, but one notable point, found in a ruling from last November regarding the NSA’s 702 PRISM program, is that the FISC took advantage of the provision in the USA Freedom Act to appoint a public advocate to argue on behalf of the public. One of the big complaints in the past, is that the FISA Court is no court at all. Only one side — the government — gets to present its case, and then the judges decide

Kreag, Jason, Prosecutorial Analytics (April 12, 2016). Washington University Law Review (2017) Forthcoming; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 16-10. Available for download at SSRN:
“The institution of the prosecutor has more power than any other in the criminal justice system. What is more, prosecutorial power is often unreviewable as a result of limited constitutional regulation and the fact that it is increasingly exercised in private and semi-private settings as the system has become more administrative and less adversarial. Despite this vast, unreviewable power, prosecutors often rely on crude performance measures focused on conviction rates. The focus on conviction rates fails to capture and adequately evaluate the breadth of prosecutorial decision-making. We can do better by fully implementing analytics as a tool to evaluate the prosecutorial function. This tool has revolutionized crime-fighting ...

 Not Good Enough: UK Statement on the initiative for exchange of beneficial ownership information  

 Premature Self-Congratulatory Hype: Tax transparency progress hailed by Chancellor  

  David Cameron will not be investigated over off-shore trust and tax affairs by parliamentary watchdog  

 Apple should pay more tax, says co-founder Wozniak  

  First We Bailed Out Coutts, Then They Helped People Dodge Tax 

Dear George Osborneit's time to tackle tax dodging