Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Or money talks…

Khodorkovsky Pardon Underscores Russia’s Special Ties with Germany

Mikhail Khodorkovsky showed an affinity for things American during his glory days as CEO of Yukos Oil Co. in the early 2000s. He discussed selling Yukos to Exxon Mobil Corp., acted as an adviser to an energy investment arm of the superconnected Washington-based private equity firm Carlyle Group and donated $1 million to the Library of Congress at the request of then–First Lady Laura Bush. But he has German politicians to thank for his freedom after ten years in Russian prisons on dubious charges of fraud and embezzlement.
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the 86-year-old former foreign minister who oversaw German reunification in 1990, reportedly laid the groundwork for Vladimir Putin’s presidential pardon of Khodorkovsky with two-and-a-half years of quiet negotiation. He flew personally to pick up Russia’s most famous prisoner from his camp near the Arctic Circle and whisk him away to Berlin; on German television, Genscher described the mission as “a humanitarian action.” Chancellor Angela Merkel did not hide her own participation in the release. Genscher “worked successfully on possibilities for a solution with a great level of commitment and the support of the chancellor,” she told a news conference shortly after Khodorkovsky’s arrival on German soil.
Genscher, who was Germany’s top diplomat from 1974 to 1992, crafted an elegant compromise between two stubborn antagonists, Khodorkovsky and Putin. The deposed magnate evidently agreed to leave Russia, stay away from politics and not fight to reclaim Yukos assets, most of which were scooped up by Russian state oil company Rosneft. Putin commuted Khodorkovsky’s sentence without a customary admission of guilt, a step that the former billionaire said would have put ex-Yukos colleagues at risk.
Merkel had reasons of her own to press Putin for a human rights concession. She has long been caught between a German business community pressing for warmer ties with Russia and civic groups that abhor the country’s autocratic ways. In 2012 a Bundestag dominated by her Christian Democratic Party passed a motion “expressing concern” about Russia’s law forbidding “homosexual propaganda.”
The timing was also ripe for Putin to toss a bone to Western neighbors enraged over Russia’s torpedoing of a free-trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, which provoked huge popular protests in Kiev. Khodorkovsky’s abrupt late-night release came just four days after Putin announced that Russia would buy $15 billion in new Ukrainian bonds, staving off for a few years the threat of bankruptcy for the government of President Viktor Yanukovych. The release also came seven weeks before the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Putin personally lobbied for Russia to host this spectacle, which official media have trumpeted as an event of national prestige. Two terrorist attacks that killed 30 people in the southern Russian city of Volgograd on December 29 and 30 underscored the vulnerability of the Games, and Russia generally, to terrorism, and hence Putin’s need for international moral support.
But the Russian leader’s concession to the German establishment has much deeper economic roots. Americans like to assume that Washington speaks with the loudest voice on any foreign affair, but the U.S. is something of an afterthought for Russia, being only its eighth-largest trading partner. The EU remains Russia’s economic lifeline, and Germany its gateway to the EU.
Germany on its own holds sway as both the top market and supplier for Russia. It bought €39.8 billion ($54.5 billion) in Russian goods and services in 2012 and sent €37.9 billion in exports to the country, according to Eurostat. “Russia believes its historic reconciliation with Germany is creating a partnership that will bring immense benefits to both sides,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a speech in April.
The EU bought €213 billion of Russian exports and sent €123 billion worth of goods and services to the country. Those amounts dwarfed Russia’s two-way trade with China, which amounted to $88 billion in 2012, according to the Chinese General Customs Administration. The rebound in cross-border commerce has been a conspicuous bright spot for both the EU and Russia as they struggle to recover from the aftershocks of the 2008-’09 financial crisis. The two-way trade hit a record high in 2012 and was up 83 percent from the dark days of 2009. EU countries — including Cyprus, which largely recycles Russian oligarchs’ own capital — account for 75 percent of foreign direct investment in Russia, according to Eurostat figures.

The mutual dependence between Russia and Western Europe persists despite a decade of efforts on both sides to reduce it. Putin has sought to foster closer economic relations with China as a counterweight to the West, but efforts to strike a 30-year agreement to supply natural gas to China have stalled after nine years of negotiation, reportedly because Beijing is demanding much lower prices than Russia’s Gazprom charges European customers.
The EU has tried to cut its dependency on Russian gas with alternative pipelines stretching out to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and even Iraq, but none have yet borne fruit. The most persistent project, Nabucco-West, which was meant to bring fuel from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz field through Turkey to Central Europe, was abandoned in July 2013 after 11 years of planning. Russia accounted for 34 percent of EU natural gas imports in 2012, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
Russia has also had limited success disentangling its all-important natural gas trade from Ukraine, which became an unreliable partner from Moscow’s point of view after the Orange Revolution of 2005. A new undersea pipeline direct to Germany, known as North Stream, started operating in 2011 (with Merkel’s predecessor as chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, as its chairman), and the Blue Stream pipeline underneath the Black Sea has enabled modest Gazprom exports to Turkey. But a more ambitious end-run around Kiev, known as South Stream, has bogged down. Some 80 percent of supplies to Europe still flow through the pipelines Soviet planners laid out beneath Ukrainian soil.
Against this backdrop of Russia’s economic imperatives, Putin’s zigzag behavior during an eventful December looks less puzzling. The Kremlin feels it cannot afford to “lose” Ukraine. It scuttled Kiev’s pact with the EU not just from knee-jerk imperialism but also as a potential threat to its gas-fueled cash flows. Yet cordial relations with Western Europe, particularly Germany, remain essential. The release of Khodorkovsky, a man for whom Putin has never hidden his personal disgust, can be seen as an easy way to buy some goodwill.
Kremlin watchers hold out little hope that the Khodorkovsky release, and a broader year-end amnesty that also included the jailed rockers from punk group Pussy Riot, herald a Russian tack toward a liberal reform course. Earlier in December Putin disbanded the most respected state-owned news operation, RIA Novosti, and transferred its staff to Russia Today, which will be headed by a conspicuous Kremlin propagandist.
“Putin’s pardon of Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a confirmation of the omnipotence of one man who rules Russia and the fluctuation of his moods and whims,” Lilia Shevtsova, a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center, wrote on the think tank’s web site. “It is definitely not a confirmation of a political thaw.”
But the move does at least show that Putin remains in touch with reality after 13 years in autocratic power, and committed to a pragmatic course by his own lights.

Khodorkovsky Pardon Underscores Russia’s Special Ties with Germany The First Killings of the Holocaust On the brisk winter Tuesday of Jan. 20, 1942, 15 Nazi officials assembled at a lakeside villa on the Wannsee near Berlin to deliberate on the “final solution.” This month, the world marks the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, one of the pivotal moments in Holocaust history. It provides an appropriate occasion not only for reflecting on the origins and implications of this horrific event, but also on one particular moment when it could have been prevented and, I would posit, almost was. The extermination of European Jews may have been formally outlined seven decades ago this month, but it began nearly nine years earlier, during Easter Week 1933, a few minutes after five o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 12, when four Jews — Arthur Kahn, Ernst Goldmann, Rudolf Benario and Erwin Kahn — were executed in precisely that order at a Nazi camp in the obscure Bavarian hamlet of Prittlbach. These four killings framed the constituent parts of the genocidal process formalized at the Wannsee Conference: intentionality, chain-of-command, selection, execution. In the years to come, the process was refined, the numbers expanded monstrously, but the essential elements remained. Even Prittlbach retained its central role. The hamlet was so small that the Nazis named their camp after the neighboring town of Dachau, which had access to a rail line. The boxcars rolled into Dachau, but the victims were marched to Prittlbach. The Konzentrationslager Dachau in Prittlbach became the prototype for Nazi atrocity. It boasted the first crematory oven, the first gas chamber, and, on that sun-splashed spring day in April 1933, the first Jewish victims. A Holocaust survivor once told me, and repeated to many others with equal conviction, that the trail of blood that began in Dachau ultimately led to Auschwitz. But it also almost ended there before it barely began. On that same April evening in 1933, Joseph Hartinger received a call that four men had been shot attempting to flee the recently erected detention facility. As a local prosecutor, it was Hartinger’s job to establish a commission to investigate all deaths resulting from “unnatural causes.” The blood was still damp on the ground when Hartinger arrived. He sensed immediately that something was horrifically wrong. “My reasons were based not only on the physical circumstances but in particular on my assessment of the personalities I encountered in the camp and especially on my evaluation of the nature of the camp commandant Wäckerle, who made a devastating impression on me,” Hartinger recalled. “I also had to include in my deliberations the fact that those who had been shot were all Jews.” When Hartinger reported that a serial killing of Jews had taken place, his superior responded unequivocally: not even the Nazis would do that. The investigation was terminated. But as killings continued to mount, Hartinger persisted. On June 1, 1933, he issued indictments against the camp commandant and three other SS men. It was a brazen act of legal defiance to the regime. Hartinger was not naïve. He knew the Nazi capacity for violence. That evening, he told his wife, “I just signed my own death sentence.” The murder indictments had a surprising impact. The commandant was removed. The killings stopped. Hartinger had hurled a legal wrench into the Nazi bureaucracy and singlehandedly paralyzed its homicidal impulse. For several weeks in the summer of 1933, the killings stalled as Nazi officials attempted to understand the implications of the Hartinger indictments. Solutions were found. The killing was renewed. Miraculously, Hartinger survived. The Nazis had deliberated on murdering him. Instead, he was transferred to another jurisdiction. Recently, I came across the 40-page unpublished memoirs that Hartinger wrote in 1984 shortly before his death at age 91. Along with many technical details already familiar to scholars, Hartinger outlined an extraordinary plan for dismantling the emerging system in the Dachau Concentration Camp. He understood that the Nazi regime, just a few months in power, was still sensitive to international opinion. It was his intention to use the murder indictments to expose publicly the atrocities in Dachau, force the government to evict the SS guards and replace them with trained police or military units familiar with the laws governing the proper detention and treatment of prisoners. It was a seemingly quixotic plan, but Hartinger understood the key decision makers within the government and sought to play them against one another. He almost succeeded. “These were not fantasies,” Hartinger recalls in his memoirs. “As I later learned, there were conversations in exactly this direction except that the ‘good spirits’ did not prevail.” But his indictments confounded the Nazi legal bureaucracy. In the end, the only recourse was to lose them. They were locked in a desk and forgotten. After the war, the abandoned indictments were discovered by a U.S. intelligence unit and returned to German prosecutors who used them to convict the surviving perpetrators. The Hartinger memoirs show us in nuanced detail the political, legal and emotional dynamics that led to the first serial killing of Jews in Nazi Germany. Equally important, they show us that tenuous phase of an emerging genocidal process when intercession could have disrupted and derailed the horrific and now seemingly inevitable outcome. Clearly, no single man could have prevented the Holocaust, except Hitler himself, but had there been more Germans like Hartinger to hold individual Nazis personally accountable for their excesses, including President Paul von Hindenburg, who possessed the constitutional authority to dissolve the Nazi government at will and dismiss Hitler as chancellor, the course of history could have taken a very different turn. The Hartinger memoirs make this fact abundantly clear, preserving for us that ineffable substance of the human soul — faith, hope, fear and courage — that shapes individual decisions and ultimately determines the course of actions, both large and small, that constitute the chain of events we know as history. Hartinger may have lacked the aristocratic bearing of Raul Wallenberg. He certainly possessed neither the charm nor wiles of Oskar Schindler. He was little more than a middle-aged civil servant with a wife and five-year-old child at home. But like these two legendary figures of Holocaust rescue, Joseph Hartinger demonstrated the potential of personal courage, intelligence and determination in a time of collective human failure. He also provides further proof of the transcendent and enduring power of justice. Timothy W. Ryback is author of “The Last Survivor: Legacies of Dachau” and “Hitler’s Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life.” See the whole story here:

The information is a bit outdated, 2007, but still interesting nevertheless…

Understanding Chinese Energy 


As the world looks to a more energy efficient future, it is economic and population powerhouses such as China that will come under the most intense scrutiny. By carefully examining the Chinese energy policy (in fields such as wind and solar), and conjoining this with surveys on popular opinion, WellHome have managed to compile this interesting infographic.
However, the source of energy use are left largely unexplored yet a brilliant piece on Chinese energy gives us a clearer indication of the forces at play (the PDF is worthy of downloading): 

What’s driving demand: An explanation of the internal dynamics fueling China’s energy needs. Our key point: It’s not air conditioners and automobiles that are driving China’s current energy demand but rather heavy industry, and the mix of what China makes for itself and what it buys abroad. Consumption-led demand is China’s future energy challenge. [Source: China Energy: A Guide for the Perplexed (PDF)]

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>Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York
NY Times
March 7, 2011

In 1932, as the Nazis rose to power in Germany, a Jewish librarian in Frankfurt published a catalog of 15,000 books he had painstakingly collected for decades.

It listed the key texts of a groundbreaking field called the Science of Judaism, in which scholars analyzed the religion’s philosophy and culture as they would study those of ancient Greece or Rome. The school of thought became the foundation for modern Jewish studies around the world.

In the tumult of war, great chunks of the collection vanished. Now, librarians an ocean away have determined that most of the missing titles have been sitting for years on the crowded shelves of the Leo Baeck Institute, a Manhattan center dedicated to preserving German Jewish culture.

The story of how the hundreds of tattered, cloth-bound books with esoteric German titles ended up in New York includes impossible escapes, careful scholarship and some very heavy suitcases. And while the exact trails of many of the volumes remain murky, they wind through book-lined apartments on the Upper West Side, across a 97-year-old woman’s cluttered coffee table and into a library’s cavernous stacks.

For Jewish scholars, the collection of Science of Judaism texts (in German, Wissenschaft des Judentums) is a touchstone marking the emergence of Jewish tradition as a philosophy and culture worthy of academic study.

“We’re all heirs to the legacy of Wissenschaft,” said Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

The University Library Frankfurt still houses the bulk of the collection, but experts there have determined over several decades that they were missing some 2,000 books listed in the 1932 catalog. In the last two years, a team led by Renate Evers, head librarian at the Leo Baeck Institute, found that her shelves had more than 1,000 of the lost titles.

While scholars say the books in New York are probably not the same copies as those lost from the Frankfurt library, their rediscovery offers the chance to rebuild what one professor called “a legendary collection.” Frankfurt librarians are putting the collection online, while the Center for Jewish History, the institute’s parent organization, is seeking a grant to do the same.

“This is very exciting,” said Rachel Heuberger, head of the library’s Judaica division. “You can reconstruct a collection that otherwise never would have come to life again.”

Scholars say the books were most likely brought to New York from Europe by private collectors and antiquities dealers. In the past 50 years, donors, nearly all of them German Jews who immigrated and prospered here, gave them to the Leo Baeck Institute.

The donors, photographed in their cinched ties and sober suits, represent a generation of scholarly New York immigrants that is nearly gone. They escaped the Nazis, built new lives and created a sophisticated community that centered on books, culture and learning. Their ranks included the political philosopher Hannah Arendt and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Many came to this country hauling suitcases filled with books, and as they settled here, they created academic journals and scholarly institutes. They debated politics during formal dinners in Washington Heights parlors. They took typewriters along on vacation so they could keep working.

Herbert A. Strauss, who came to New York with his wife in 1946, owned one of the lost books, an 1843 volume by Ludwig Philippson. Where he got it, his widow, Lotte, has no idea. A historian and a professor, he was always coming home to their Upper Manhattan apartment with his arms full of new tomes.

“He was not only married to me,” Mrs. Strauss said. “He was also married to his desk.”

When he died in 2005, she donated 4,500 of his books to the Leo Baeck Institute.

The couple had met in Germany, and escaped together to Switzerland just steps ahead of the Gestapo. They recounted their ordeals in separate memoirs published in 1999.

Mrs. Strauss, 97, a great-grandmother, recalled meeting her husband. “I was fascinated by him,” she said. “He was good-looking and he had new ideas.”

On a recent afternoon in her sun-drenched apartment, Mrs. Strauss pulled out her husband’s brittle papers. There were Nazi-era ration cards decorated with swastikas — red for bread, blue for meat. There was a lifeguard certificate from Berlin that showed a young man, sleeves rolled up past his elbows, smiling at something off-camera.

Did he carry books with him when he came to New York?

Mrs. Strauss laughed. “We came here poor as church mice,” she said. “You went as you were; you didn’t carry a thing.” She was eight months pregnant and had one dress to her name. Mr. Strauss built his library, and their life, in New York.

Ludwig Schwarzschild, a dermatologist, brought his library with him when he came to the United States in 1934. Although his practice north of Frankfurt was shuttered by the authorities, he, his wife and their two young children were able to take most of their possessions out of Germany, said their daughter, Lore Singerman, of Annapolis, Md.

Mrs. Singerman, 78, remembered a Manhattan childhood of heavy European furniture and crowded bookcases. Reading was highly prized — prayer books, The Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic.

Her father owned one of the lost Wissenschaft volumes, an 1888 edition of a Hermann Cohen book. His family donated it to the institute in 1970, the year he died. Mrs. Singerman does not know where her father got the book, but said, “If it was in German, he probably brought it with him — he didn’t buy German books here.”

Fred W. Lessing, another German Jewish donor, built such a vast book collection at his home in Scarsdale, N.Y., that he ordered catalog cards from the Library of Congress to keep track of it all. He was chief executive of a Yonkers metal company, but his passion was his library and discussions with professors and writers.

Mr. Lessing scoured auction catalogs for treasures, with a special focus on the history of the Enlightenment. His children knew enough not to touch his “good books,” said his daughter Joan Lessing. “His library was part of our lives,” she said. “Books were in every room.”

Mr. Lessing gave the institute an early-20th-century edition of a volume by Adolf Eckstein, but his daughter did not know where he had gotten it.

Even the Frankfurt librarian who cataloged the entire collection, Aron Freimann, came to New York. After arriving in 1939, he went on to work at the New York Public Library.

Today, his granddaughter, Ruth Dresner, lives in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. She keeps her grandfather’s catalog on her shelf — she calls it his “magnum opus” — and plans to leave it to her children.

“I’m 80 years old, and I’m very devoted and dedicated to perpetuating tradition,” she said. “I am very proud.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 9, 2011

A caption on Tuesday with an article about Jewish texts lost in World War II that have resurfaced in New York described an accompanying map incorrectly. It is a map of central Europe, not only of Frankfurt.

Jewish Texts Lost in War Are Surfacing in New York –

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H.P.’s Foreign Entanglement

September 13, 2010, 11:30 am


Peter J. Henning follows issues involving securities law and white-collar crime for DealBook’s White Collar Watch.
The last month or so has not been very pleasant for Hewlett-Packard.
The company’s recent 10-Q disclosed that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have expanded an investigation of possible bribe payments in connection with contracts the company obtained in Russia. Such payments may violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (F.C.P.A.), an area where the federal government has investigated more aggressively over the last few years.
This disclosure comes on top of other recent legal problems at H.P. Joe Nocera’s recent column in The New York Times described H.P.’s directors as “the most inept board in America” for its lawsuit against its former chief executive, Mark V. Hurd. On Aug. 30, the Justice Department announced a $55 million settlement of a civil fraud claim against H.P. for paying “influencer fees” — in other words, kickbacks — in return for favorable recommendations to the federal government to buy the company’s products.

About White Collar Watch
Peter J. Henning, writing for DealBook’s White Collar Watch, is a commentator on white-collar crime and litigation. A former lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division and then a prosecutor at the Justice Department, he is a professor at the Wayne State University Law School. He is currently working on a book, “The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption: The Law & Legal Strategies,” to be published by Oxford University Press.

As Mr. Nocera pointed out, H.P. is unlikely to succeed in its legal battle with Mr. Hurd, but that is more of a distraction than anything else. A widening F.C.P.A. investigation, on the other hand, may end up costing the company millions of dollars in legal fees as it deals with demands for documents while conducting its own internal inquiry. And any settlement with the government would likely involve both criminal fines and civil monetary penalties, along with other remedial measures, ratcheting the price up further.
The bribery investigation began in Russia in connection with a contract with a former German subsidiary of H.P. that involved the installation of a computer network in, of all places, Russia’s chief prosecutor’s office. Russian and German prosecutors are looking into the transaction, which took place from 2002 to 2006, and have requested documents from the company.
In its 10-Q, H.P. notes for the first time that the investigation is not limited to that one contract in Russia: “The U.S. enforcement authorities have recently requested information from H.P. relating to certain governmental and quasi-governmental transactions in Russia and in the Commonwealth of Independent States subregion dating back to 2000.”
It is not clear how many contracts or transactions may be involved, but the expanded time frame and geographic scope probably means the inquiry will be an extended one, rather than something H.P. can wrap up quickly. As sometimes happens, once one part of a multinational company is scrutinized for bribery, problems in other areas can pop to the surface.
The recent settlement by Siemens of overseas bribery charges shows how corruption can spread throughout a company. Subsidiaries operating in France, Argentina, Turkey and the Middle East were found to have paid bribes to obtain contracts, and Siemens paid $800 million in criminal fines to the Justice Department and disgorgement to the S.E.C. as part of the settlement.
The F.C.P.A. is part of the federal securities laws, and most cases involve the S.E.C. along with the Justice Department because one part of the act requires corporations to maintain proper books and records, something that is rarely done when a bribe is paid. The Justice Department has become much more aggressive in pursuing foreign bribery cases, including conducting an undercover sting operation that resulted in more than 20 people being arrested on charges of offering bribes to participate in a fictitious security contract with an African nation.
The recent addition of enhanced whistle-blower rewards in the Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the S.E.C. to pay 10 percent of any recovery realized, up to a maximum of 30 percent, to those who provide valuable information related to any type of securities fraud. F.C.P.A. cases are very likely to be among the most common instances for whistle-blowing by corporate employees.
F.C.P.A. charges are also very difficult to defend once the government obtains evidence that payments were made to foreign officials “in obtaining or retaining business” in that country. The act recognizes two defenses to a charge, first the payment was lawful under the laws of the country where it was made, and second the expenses were reasonable for the promoting the product or implementing the contract.
Neither defense has been successfully offered in court to this point. Even worse, according to an article by Kyle Sheahen that will be published shortly in the Wisconsin International Law Journal, “the defenses are virtually useless in practice.”
Even if H.P. is found to have violated the F.C.P.A., that does not mean the company’s ability to win government contracts would be at risk. Professor Mike Koehler, who analyzes these issues on the FCPA Professor blog, noted that the Siemens settlement did not seem to have any real effect on the company’s relationship with the federal government. “One of the unfortunate beauties of engaging in bribery the U.S. government terms ‘unprecedented in scale and geographic scope’ is no slowdown in U.S. government contracts in the immediate aftermath of the enforcement action,” he noted.
The impact from any F.C.P.A. violation may change, however, under a bill under consideration in Congress. The legislation, called the Overseas Contractor Reform Act and passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in July, requires debarment from future government contracts for any person or company found in violation of the F.C.P.A. The bill states the policy that “no Government contracts or grants should be awarded to individuals or companies who violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
Whether the House and Senate will pass the legislation remains to be seen, but corporate integrity is, like mom and apple pie, not easily opposed. While the current aversion to corporate America may be abating, this is the type of reform that may well take hold to put some more bite into the F.C.P.A.
For H.P., a burgeoning foreign bribery investigation is not good news because of the costs and uncertainly it engenders. If the Overseas Contractor Reform Act becomes law, it will make it even more imperative that the company try to avoid any finding of a violation of the F.C.P.A., perhaps through a deferred or non-prosecution agreement that can let it avoid a finding of a violation.
Peter J. Henning
The Overseas Contractor Reform Act
H.P.’s Foreign Entanglement –


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Tyler Durden

Subject: Hypo Fails, All Other German, Portuguese, French Banks Pass Test

And we uncover that the German Landesbanks (the equivalent of the bankrupt
Spanish cajas) did their own stress tests. Time for the PPT to step in with
this pretext and soak up all offers. Totally pathetic BS.
Update 1: Somehow Bank of Ireland “passes” the test but needs over €2
billion in extra equity… uhm… WTF??? This is the point where the
audience rushes the stage and burns the theater down.
Update 2: 5 Spanish cajas, 1 German and 1 Greek banks are eliminated on
their quest to marry the US taxpayer. 84 other banks will soon be the
recipients of far more US taxpayer generosity. And with that the season
finale of the farce comes to a close.

View article…
Hypo Fails, All Other German, Portuguese, French Banks Pass Test | zero hedge

Haven-seeking Europeans buy physical gold

The Perth Mint has doubled capacity, while the Rand Refinery has experienced its highest sales in 25 years, all due to European investors seeking a haven in gold.

Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Monday , 07 Jun 2010

The European debt crisis spurred physical gold sales on two continents this past week, as the latest U.S. Mint gold bullion coin went on sale at the open price of US$1,510.
Production of South African’s Krugerrand gold coins soared by 50% to 30,000 ounces a week, the Rand Refinery said.
The Perth Mint in Australia said European buyers have accounted for 69% of new gold purchases.
In an interview with Reuters, Debra Thomson, the Rand Refinery treasurer, said, “Basically the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is behind this. There is a lot of demand especially from Germany; people are looking for gold.”
Meanwhile the Perth Mint in Australia reported gold sales to Europe have soared. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Ron Currie, sales and marketing director for the Perth Mint, said European buyers accounted for 69% of gold-coin purchases last month compared to 51% a year ago.
“As soon as it was announced that the European Commission was bailing out Greece, the German population decided they’d better hedge their euros by buying precious metals,” he added. “We had stock before this blip in the market, then it all went.”
Controlled by the Western Australian government, the Perth Mint had doubled capacity in this past 18 months.
In the meantime, the collector’s version of the American Buffalo bullion coin went on sale this past week at an opening price of $1,510.
The bullion version of the coin was released April 29th and has sold 135,000 one-ounce coins so far.
As of Sunday, the U.S. Mint reported 542,000 ounces in gold bullion sales, including 20,500 ounces sold since June 1st.
The 2010 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin can be ordered directly from the U.S. Mint.
Sales of this year’s proof coin occurred much earlier than last year when the 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo was not offered for sale until October 29, 2009. Within five months, last year’s proof coin was sold out with a total of 49,388 coins. – The world’s premier mining and mining investment website Haven-seeking Europeans buy physical gold – GOLD NEWS | Mineweb

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