Serially Charged Deutsche Bank Gets a Subpoena from Mueller

If Deutsche Bank is trying to remove itself from scandalous headlines, it’s not doing a very good job at it.
The German language newspaper, Handelsblatt, reported yesterday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed bank records from Deutsche Bank relating to President Trump and his family members. Handelsblatt writes that ‘The former real-estate baron has done billions of dollars’ worth of business with Deutsche Bank over the past two decades, and First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are also clients.’ The central focus of the Mueller probe is the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
On May 23 of this year, Congresswoman Maxine Walters and other House Democrats sent John Cryan, CEO of Deutsche Bank, a letter regarding its ties to the Trump family and Russia. The letter began:
‘We write seeking information relating to two internal reviews reportedly conducted by Deutsche Bank (‘Bank’): one regarding its 2011 Russian mirror trading scandal and the other regarding its review of the personal accounts of President Donald Trump and his family members held at the Bank. What is troubling is that the Bank to our knowledge has thus far refused to disclose or publicly comment on the results of either of its internal reviews. As a result, there is no transparency regarding who participated in, or benefited from, the Russian mirror trading scheme that allowed $10 billion to flow out of Russia. Likewise, Congress remains in the dark on whether loans Deutsche Bank made to President Trump were guaranteed by the Russian Government, or were in any way connected to Russia. It is critical that you provide this Committee with the information necessary to assess the scope, findings and conclusions of your internal reviews.
‘Deutsche Bank’s failure to put adequate anti-money laundering controls in place to prevent a group of traders from improperly and secretly transferring more than $10 billion out of Russia is concerning. According to press reports, this scheme was carried out by traders in Russia who converted rubles into dollars through security trades that lacked any legitimate economic rationale. The settlement agreements reached between the Bank and the New York Department of Financial Services as well as the U. K. Financial Conduct Authority raise questions about the particular Russian individuals involved in the scheme, where their money went, and who may have benefited from the vast sums transferred out of Russia. Moreover, around the same time, Deutsche Bank was involved in an elaborate scheme known as ‘The Russian Laundromat,’ ‘The Global Laundromat,’ or ‘The Moldovan Scheme,’ in which $20 billion in funds of criminal origin from Russia were processed through dozens of financial institutions.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on December 5, 2017.

Dismissed FBI Agent Is One Who Changed Hillary Email Scandal Language From “Grossly Negligent” To “Extremely Careless”

Over the weekend we noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top FBI investigator into ‘Russian meddling’, agent Peter Strzok, was removed from the probe due to the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with a colleague (a colleague whom he also happened to be having an extra-marital affair with).
Not surprisingly, the discovery prompted a visceral response from Trump via Twitter:
Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI ‘agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.

Mueller Goes After Trump’s Bank Accounts, Subpoenas Deutsche Bank

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, demanding that it disclose details of transactions and documents on accounts help by President Trump and members of his family as the “Russian collusion” probe now turns its attention to Trump’s bank accounts. According to Handelsblatt, which first reported the news, the bank received the subpoena several weeks ago. Trump has had a banking relationship with Deutsche Bank dating back nearly two decades and the German lender’s $300 million loan accounts for nearly half of his outstanding debt (based on a July 2016 analysis by Bloomberg). Trump’s debt to Deutsche includes $170m relating to a Washington hotel.
The media is taking the Deutsche Bank news as a sign that Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 alleged campaign is ‘deepening’. However, it was clear that a subpoena was coming more than four months ago (see below) and, besides Michael Flynn, Mueller’s investigation has included interviews with three other former Trump aides recently, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council chief of staff Keith Kellogg, according to people familiar with the investigation.
As Bloomberg adds, “the news comes as Mueller’s investigation appears to be entering a new phase, with Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleading guilty Friday to lying to FBI agents, becoming the fourth associate of the president ensnared by Mueller’s probe. More significantly, he also is providing details to Mueller about the Trump campaign’s approach to Flynn’s controversial meeting with a Russian envoy during the presidential transition.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.

More Anti-Trump Messages Reportedly Sent By Members Of Mueller’s Team: “A Lot More Is Going To Come Out”

Days after it emerged that former Special Counsel investigator Peter Strzok was fired from Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe in August for sending anti-Trump text messages to his mistress while the two were working together on the Clinton email investigation, Sara Carter of Circa told a Fox News panel that there are more anti-Trump messages sent by Mueller’s team floating around.
Carter previously emerged as one of the handful of people to review documents obtained by an undercover FBI informantembedded in the Russian uranium industry. Appearing on Hannity’s show Monday night, Carter was asked about rumors of more anti-Trump sentiment expressed by Mueller’s team:
Sean Hannity: I’m hearing rumors all over the place Sara Carter that there are other anti-Trump text-emails out there. And we know about them. Sara Carter: I think you’re hearing correctly Sean and I think a lot more is going to come out. In fact, I know a lot more is going to come out based on the sources I’ve spoken to.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.

USAToday: If Michael Flynn’s ‘Crime’ Is All Robert Mueller Has… It’s Time To Move On

Transitions include the president-elect talking to foreign officials. That’s not treason; that’s the job description.
***
On Friday, President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a perfectly legal conversation he had during the presidential transition with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn should not have lied, and why he chose to remains a mystery, but the substance of the single-count indictment against Flynn shows that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has strayed far from its original purpose.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

Anti-Trump FBI Agent Changed Language Of Hillary Email Scandal From “Grossly Negligent” To “Extremely Careless”

Over the weekend we noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top FBI investigator into ‘Russian meddling’, agent Peter Strzok, was removed from the probe due to the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with a colleague (a colleague whom he also happened to be having an extra-marital affair with).
Not surprisingly, the discovery prompted a visceral response from Trump via Twitter:
Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI ‘agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.’ Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

“Accusing Someone You Disagree With Of Being A Russian Troll Is Admitting You Have No Argument”

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,
I shouldn’t have to write this article. And yet, here we are…
***
I don’t care who you are or how much Palmer Report you read: accusing someone who disagrees with you of conducting psyops for a foreign government is never, ever a normal or acceptable way of conducting political discourse.
I tweeted the above yesterday after noticing another uptick in the bizarre habit establishment loyalists have of labeling anyone who disagrees with them as Russian trolls. And, though I didn’t address it to her and made no mention of her, Louise Mensch took it personally.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

3/12/17: Russian and BRICS debt dynamics since 2012

Back in 2014, Russia entered a period of recessionary economic dynamics, coupled with the diminishing access to foreign debt markets. Ever since, I occasionally wrote about the positive impact of the economy’s deleveraging from debt. Here is the latest evidence from the BIS on the subject, positing Russia in comparative to the rest of the BRICS economies:

This post was published at True Economics on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

FX Weekly Preview: Tax Cuts, Rising Debt, Fed Hikes And More “Fake” News; USD Vol Rising

After a week when little other than politics has been ‘running’ the currency and rates markets, we expect more of the same but with the (now) backdrop of tier one data in the US to look to towards the latter end of this week. US payrolls is something which will be put on the back-burner as traders and investors alike size up the reaction to the Senate vote on the tax (cut) bill, which will be exacerbated by the retraction of the ABC story on Michael Flynn. The initial release on Friday reported the former national security adviser was ready to testify that Donald Trump had directed him to contact the Russians whilst a running candidate, but this was corrected to president elect which is standard procedure in foreign policy. The reporter, Brian Ross has since been dismissed by ABC, much to the satisfaction of the president, who continues to fight the good fight against fake news.
There will in all likelihood, be many more twists and turns, and no doubt more news – fake or otherwise – but next week will likely see US equities testing higher again, followed by the carry trade, but to a lesser degree. USD/JPY took a sharp downturn from near 113.00 levels, before dip buyers contained the sell off to the mid 111.00’s, and ending the week above 112.00 is likely to see a return to the highs before the market then starts to evaluate the effective gains of the tax cut bill, which has yet to meet agreement between House and Senate. The president expects to sign off this legislation by year end.
Back to the economy, where we will need to see continued improvement in order to underpin the 3 Fed hikes anticipated next year, and US factory orders on Monday kick off the week, followed by the ISM non manufacturing indices on Tuesday. Then it’s all eyes on the Nov payrolls report on Friday, where the consensus is for a 200k rise in the headline number, but hourly earnings seen tailing off from the 0.5% seen in Oct. We continue to see 2.50% capping 10yr yields, and as a such, the upper end of the USD/JPY range looks even less likely to exceed 115.00. Japanese GDP for Q3 due out on Thursday, but at 1.5% expected, is hardly going to light the fire under the JPY. Growth is picking up pace however, and provides food for thought further down the line when considering longer term (JPY) undervaluation.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

Flynn Flush Rescues ‘VIX Elephant’ As ’50 Cent’ Backs Up The Truck

The ‘VIX Elephant’ has awakened. And ’50 Cent’ is back.
That’s the mysterious-sounding ointroduction to a notable market insight from Bloomberg this mornig as they note the turmoil surrounding Mike Flynn headlines – spiking VIX and slamming stocks – provided two big options market ‘whales’ with some relief and room to move…
First, the trader who’s known as the Elephant for making big moves in the VIX — but who’s been surprisingly quiet in recent weeks — returned with a vengeance to start December, buying and selling more than 2 million contracts Friday to continue betting on a modest rise in the Cboe Volatility Index. That’s three times the average daily volume for all VIX options.
The Elephant caught a major break thanks to the sharp retreat in the S&P 500 Index following reports that former national security adviser Michael Flynn would implicate members of President Donald Trump’s transition team in the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The VIX spiked to as high as 14.58 as equities tumbled.
Pravit Chintawongvanich, head of derivatives strategy at Macro Risk Advisors, said the investor had been poised to lose $20 million to $30 million on the December leg of this trade before Friday, but was able to escape with a loss of less than $2 million in closing up those positions.
‘They got really lucky with the selloff today,’ Chintawongvanich said.
‘They were down a lot on the December position, and this allows them to get out of it without too much of a loss.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

WTI Slumps Despite OPEC ‘Deal’ As Russia Questions Remain

Both WTI and RBOB prices are tumbling this morning after OPEC member agree to limit oil output through the end of 2018. While this is bullishly longer-than-expected (6-9mo was expected), OPEC members now rely on Russia to agree to these terms, and it appears the market is questioning that. Furthermore, despite US shale output at record highs, Saudi officials are shrugging off any impact.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, OPEC members agreed in principle Thursday to keep limiting their output through the end of 2018, according to people familiar with the matter, providing assurance for an oil industry still struggling through a fragile recovery.
The accord signals that the world’s biggest oil-producing countries believe that a global oversupply of oil is still weighing down oil prices, even a year after they struck their first agreement to cut crude production. Oil in storage – a proxy for the global glut – remains well above historical averages, national oil ministers said.
Any agreement OPEC strikes will be contingent on support from a group of producers outside the cartel led by Russia, which pumps more crude than any country in the world. The Russia-led delegations are meeting with OPEC to hash out a final agreement.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.

The US Aristocracy’s Smear-Russia Campaign: Big Brother At Work

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Billionaires, both liberal and conservative ones, own, and their corporations advertise in and their ‘charities’ donate to, America’s mainstream (and also many ‘alternative news’) media.
They do this not so as to profit directly from the national ‘news’media (a money-losing business, in itself), but so as to control the ‘news’ that the voting public (right and left) are exposed to and thus will accept as being ‘mainstream’ and will reject all else as being ‘fringe’ or even ‘fake news’, even if what’s actually fake is, in fact, the billionaires’ own mainstream ‘news’, such as their ‘news’media had most famously ‘reported’ about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ (but the’news’media never changed after that scandal – even after having pumped uncritically that blatant lie to the public).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.

WaPo Reporter Caught On Hidden Camera Being A Bit Too Honest; Admits “No Evidence” Of Trump-Russia Collusion

After exposing the shocking, yet predictable, political bias of journalists at CNN and New York Times, Project Veritas has now set their sights on the Washington Post. In a candid conversation with an undercover Project Veritas journalist, the Post’s National Security Director, Adam Entous, put himself in danger of being a bit too honest, at least by his employer’s standards, by admitting that “there’s no evidence of [Trump-Russia collusion] that I’ve seen so far.” Entous goes on to admit that “it’s a fucking crap shoot” and that he has no idea how Mueller’s investigation might turn out.
Entous: “Our reporting has not taken us to a plcae where I would be able to say with any confidence that the result of it is going to be the president being guilty of being in cahoots with the Russians. There’s no evidence of that that I’ve seen so far.”
PV Journalist: “There has to be something, right?”
Entous: “Maybe, maybe not. It could just be lower-level people being manipulated or manipulating, but it’s very hard to, it’s really…It’s a fucking black box.”
“We’ve seen a lot of flirtation, if you will, between them but nothing that, in my opinion, would rank as actual collusion. Now that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, it just means we haven’t found it yet. Or maybe it doesn’t exist.”
“I mean it’s a fucking crap shoot. I literally have no prediction whatsoever as to what would happen, and I do all the stuff for the Post on this so…”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.

WTI Tumbles Below $57 As OPEC-Hype Fades

Goldman’s Damien Courvalin seems to have perfecvtly summed things up – the market was pricing in an OPEC production cut extension of 6-9 months (accounting for around a $2.50 premium in the price). Today’s jawboning from Russia seems to signal April discussions (so a 6-month extension) which is a disappointment – and so WTI prices are tumbling…
Sell the leaked, jawboned news?
As we previously wrote, in conclusion, Goldman believes that oil prices have overshot fundamentals and that price risks are skewed to the downside into Thursday’s meeting.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.

WTI/RBOB Spike On OPEC Headlines After Bearish Inventory/Production Data

Update: WTI/RBOB was fading after DOE data but then Kuwait dropped the following meaningless headline: OPEC JMMC RECOMMENDS EXTENSION, DIDN’T FINALIZE DURATION. And the algos took over…
Last night’s API-reported surprise crude build sparked selling that not even Russia/Saudi jawboning could rescue, but DOE data showed the exact opposite with a big crude draw and even bigger gasoline draw. Added to a new record high in US crude production and RBOB is fading and WTI is not rallying.
As Bloomberg reports, the U. S. has proven at least one thing this year with its expansion of crude and products exports: we are becoming more energy independent than ever before.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.

OPEC, Russia Said To Announce Oil Pact Extension On Nov 30

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,
Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed that OPEC and non-OPEC allies should announce an extension of the cuts at the highly-anticipated meeting in Vienna on November 30, Bloomberg reported on Friday, quoting people involved in the talks.
Recent OPEC/non-OPEC oil pact chatter had it that Saudi Arabia was pushing for an announcement of the cuts extension next week in Vienna, while Russia was more hesitant about telling the market on November 30 how the participants in the deal would act. Russia appeared to be stalling and playing for an announcement to be issued closer to the current expiration deadline of the deal, March 2018.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, now Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed on the need to announce some sort of a deal next week, but Russia has insisted on additional phrasing in the extension deal that would link the size of the cuts to the state of the oil market.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 26, 2017.

The ‘End Of Dreams’ And The Saving Of Appearances

Authord by Alastair Crooke via The Automatic Earth blog,
Robert Kagan first called attention to the fact that America would need to awake from its ‘dream’ a decade ago in End of Dreams: The Return of History, and would have to manage the rise of ‘other’ powers, (some greater than others), with adroitness, if it were to avoid a bad road-crash as emerging competitors clashed with the waning dominant power.
This meant that the US no longer would be able to assert its will everywhere, and on everything – and would have to give ground – especially to China and Russia. ‘There’s going to have to be some very painful horse trading’, historian Sir Max Hastings suggests, adding that its pain will be none the less traumatic, since – like Germany after WW1 – America, does not feel itself defeated: Quite the converse, it sees itself having emerged from the Cold War wholly vindicated: in terms of its societal, governmental and capitalist models.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 25, 2017.

Russian Anger Builds In Town Next To Leaking Nuclear Plant

Earlier this week, we noted that Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy agency had taken baby steps toward recognizing the dangers posed by an aging nuclear storage facility in Chelyabinsk, a town located on Russia’s southern border with Kazakhstan, when it officially acknowledged the extraordinary high levels of radiation in the area. Though the government refused to admit culpability, as many believe the radiation leaked out of the Mayak nuclear power plant, which has a history of serious nuclear accidents.
Still, a month after the mysterious radiation cloud was first observed over Europe, Russian authorities have said little other than admitting the spike in radiation – a troubling trend that’s making some locals nervous and angry.
As the Financial Times points out, 76 years after radiation first began seeping from Mayak into the surrounding rivers, lakes and atmosphere, Russian authorities admitted that the nearby town of Argayash was at the center of a radiation cloud containing ‘exceptionally high’ levels of radioactive isotope ruthenium-106, which spread so far west that it reached France.
But residents of the town are demanding more information from authorities, whom they blame for putting the health of locals at risk.
The FT described Argayash is a cynical, mistrustful town. Apparently, decades of being lied to by the government about being down the road from a leaking nuclear plant does that to a place. So too does watching generations of people dying of radiation-related ailments while officials assure them nothing is amiss.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.

Birthday of a Bloodbath

This October-November 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia – the bloody communist state that would produce a political-ideological killing spree unlike any the world has ever seen.
And yet, communism continues to find supporters. Here are three personal anecdotes:
I did a conference this past week on the legacies of communism. One liberal professor complained that no pro-communist speakers were included. I wasn’t surprised.
Another case: a former student of mine this week told me of his professor (at a local college in Pittsburgh) who was hailing Karl Marx for his ‘brilliance.’ Again, no surprise.
One more: A student from the University of Wisconsin called in to a talk-show I did last week insisting that capitalism is just as lethal as communism.
That all happened just this past week, and it’s not unusual in my world.
Anecdotes aside, an October 2016 poll by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation generated a stunning finding: almost one-third of Millennials ‘believe more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.’ And it isn’t only those silly Millennials. More than one in four Americans generally believe Bush was the bigger killer.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 24, 2017.