Category Archives: Ridiculously obvious scams

John Helmer: Auction House Bonhams, Sued Over Frauds and Forgeries, Casts Pall Over Russian Art Market

We’ve said that fraud is the fastest growing business in the US, but the US is far from having a lock on that market. One of the proofs is the way our Richard Smith has turned chasing international scammers into a full-time activity.

Scamming has strong links to money laundering. That seems to have exploded as more and more of the global rich seek to move cash across borders in ways not readily tracked by tax men and border officials. The New York Times, for instance, did a major expose on high end real estate as a money laundering vehicle, focusing on one building, the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

John Helmer looks at another nexus, that of art and very high end collectables, through the lens of auction house Bonhams. However, there are intriguing extra wrinkles with Bonhams which puts it closer to the Graham Greene world of shadowy dealing than is the norm for the art world. And since Bonhams is a major dealer in Russian art, the collateral damage extends to the Russian art market, as well as Bonham’s efforts to sell itself.

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John Helmer: IMF Loan to Ukraine Props Up Failing Banks, Enriches Oligarchs

One reason for our continued coverage of the IMF generosity to Ukraine isn’t simply to demonstrate how the institution is bending its rules to support US adventurism. It’s also to highlight the striking contrast with the treatment of Greece. While Greece has a class of oligarchs that specialize in tax-evasion, Ukraine is widely recognized as a spectacularly corrupt country, to the degree that it makes Greece look like a paragon of virtue.

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Bill Black: HSBC CEO – My Pay Was so Outrageous I Had to Use Tax Havens to Hide it from My Peers

This tidbit from HSBC reveals a new low in the standards of banking, which given how low those already are, amounts to an accomplishment of sorts. Perhaps we should create a Stuart Gulliver Award for other instances of creative extreme seaminess. Nominees?

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The Mitt Romney Connection: How the Scammers Behind Virgin Gold Mining Corporation Bit Off More Than They Could Chew (VII)

… while FBI agents, moved from white collar fraud investigations, help search behind bushes for an Al Qaeda terrorist, hundreds of swindlers roam Utah. – Lynn Packer, utahpoliticalcapitol.com Mitt would make a good Moses. Think about it. – Former Romney campaign official By Richard Smith Let’s start in 2006, with one of The Seattle Times’ […]

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The Boston Globe Covers Up for Wall Street, Ignores Swaps Losses in Coverage of MBTA Turmoil

A new Boston Globe story, The T’s long, winding, infuriating road to failure, purports to be “the true story of the breakdown,” a “a decades-long tale of grand ambitions and runaway costs.”

Funny how this 2500 word article makes nary a mention of the huge losses that the Boston Metropolitan Transit Authority made, along with many other easily duped transit authorities, on swap transactions that went massively against them in an environment of seemingly permanent low interest rates.

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