February 24-25, 2014 — SPECIAL REPORT. Global bank investigation results in sudden loss of witnesses for prosecutors
A long ongoing transatlantic probe by prosecutors and investigators with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the U.S. Department of Justice and Commodities Futures Trading Commission, European Union regulators, and the Financial Conduct Authority of the quasi-independent City of London has been hampered by the sudden deaths of several key witnesses, according to information conveyed to WMR by our sources on Wall Street.
The investigation of major banks, including Barclays, JP Morgan, UBS, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Standard Chartered, HSBC, and Rabobank for manipulating the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, in order to maximize profits, has resulted in charges recently being brought against three Barclays executives, a derivatives trader with UBS and Citigroup, and two traders with the brokerage firm RP Martin by the SFO in London. However, WMR has been told that additional charges against more senior banking executives have been stymied by the sudden deaths of named or prospective witnesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
Banks are alleged to have falsely reported the benchmark LIBOR rates used to lend money to one another in order to boost bonuses for bank executives. The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and its ripple effect on the global economy has been linked to LIBOR manipulation. The bank lending rate manipulation was accompanied by massive foreign currency exchange rate manipulation, especially against the euro, pound sterling, and yen, a practice that has earned global hedge fund tycoon George Soros handsome profits in the hundreds of billions of dollars over recent decades.
WMR has been told by Wall Street insiders that the LIBOR manipulation was also at the heart of the massive fraud schemes of jailed American bankers Bernard Madoff and “Sir” Allen Stanford. The collapse of Madoff Securities and Stanford International Bank followed the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the near bankruptcy of several other securities firms and banks. Much of the fraud was known to then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, but he took no action to raise the issue with regulators or the Department of Justice. Bernanke, we are told, is a target of investigators on both sides of the Atlantic. Senior executives of the Bank of England were also aware of the nature of the fraud and took no steps to stop it.
Internal text messages retrieved from banks’ communications networks reveal that the global scamsters referred to themselves as “The Mafia” and “The Cartel.”
The loss of actual and potential witnesses to the massive global banking fraud of LIBOR and FOREX manipulation began with the September 26, 2008 death of London banker Kirk Stephenson, the chief operating officer of Guernsey-based Olivant Advisers, a UBS investor. Stephenson was a former executive of Morgan Stanley and Warburg. Stephenson was said to have thrown himself in front of a speeding commuter train at the Taplow rail station in Berkshire, England, a suburb west of London.
In November 2008, Paulo Sergio Silva, a trader for the Brazilian banking firm Itau, shot himself in the chest during a trading session on the floor of the Sao Paulo Commodities and Futures Exchange. The following month, on December 5, Alex Widmer, the chief executive officer of Bank Julius Baer in Zurich, reportedly committed suicide.
Gavin Macdonald, 47, an executive with Morgan Stanley’s mergers and acquisitions department died May 5, 2008 from a reported heart attack at the firm’s Canary Wharf office. However, Macdonald’s death was not publicly announced until May 7.
On December 23, 2008, René-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, CEO of Access International Advisers, was found with his wrists slashed in his Madison Avenue, New York office. His investors included members of the Rothschild banking family.
On January 5, 2009, German billionaire investor Adolf Merckle, major investor in Volkswagen, threw himself in front of a train in Blauberen, southern Germany. That same day, Stephen Good, Chairman and CEO of Sheldon Good & Co., a real estate auction firm and a business partner of Donald Trump, was found in his car with a gunshot wound to his head.
On December 11, 2010, the body of Mark Madoff, the son of convicted Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernard Madoff, was found hanging inside his Soho, Manhattan loft apartment. On December 18, 2010, Jessica Fashano, 27, an investment adviser for Citi Global Markets, reportedly jumped to her death from the roof of the Trump Tower building in Manhattan.
Former Bank of America FOREX manager Michael Burdin reportedly threw himself in front of a speeding train on October 31, 2012 at London’s Wimbledon train station. He was said to be despondent opver being fired from his job.
In October 2012, London Investec banker Nico Lambrecht, formerly with Merrill Lynch, is said to have jumped to his death from the seventh floor terrace of the fancy Coq d’Argent restaurant near the Bank tube station in the City of London. It was the fourth such suicide at the restaurant in five years. Anjool Maude, a Deutsche Bank trader, jumped from the terrace in 2009 while reportedly holding a glass of champagne. In 2007, Richard Ford, formerly with Merrill Lynch, is said to have leaped from the terrace to his death. In September 2012, Rema Begum, 29, a British Library manager is said to have jumped to her death from the terrace after she was subjected to a Facebook “hate campaign” for straying from her Muslim religion and adopting a “Western life style.” The inquest into Begum’s death never investigated whether Begum may have been dating men associated with banks targeted in the global fraud investigation.
In July 2013, Swisscom CEO Carsten Schloter was found hanged at his home in Freiburg, Switzerland. Official cause of death: Schloter was said to have become “addicted” to his smart phone after his divorce. The next month, Bank of America London-based intern Moritz Erhardt reportedly died from an epileptic seizure brought on by “exhaustion” from job stress.
In August 2013, Zurich Insurance group chief financial officer Pierre Wauthier was found hanging at his home in Walchwil, in the canton of Zug, Switzerland. Wauthier previously worked for J P Morgan Chase. Police said the hanging “pointed to” a suicide. The insurance company conducted an investigation and determined that Wauthier was not suffering from stress as Swiss police contended.
On December 23, 2013, Robert Wilson, a hedge fund tycoon, leaped to his death from Manhattan’s San Remo building.
In January 2014, Tim Dickenson, the communications director for London-based Swiss Re died from unknown causes.
On January 26, 2014, William Broeksmit, an American retired executive with Deutsche Bank and an expert on risk and capital management, was found dead at his London home from an “apparent” suicide. Police ruled out anything suspicious in the banker’s death. Two days later, J P Morgan vice president for technology development Gabriel Magee was said to have fell or jumped from the 33rd floor of the company’s headquarters within the same Canary Wharf building where Gavin Macdonald mysteriously died in 2008. The next day, January 29, Mike Dueker, the chief economist with Russell Investments, reportedly jumped to his death from an on-ramp to ther Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state. Police said Dueker’s death “appeared” to be a suicide.
On January 27, Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym was found dead in his room at Bangkok’s posh Shangri-La hotel. Police said Slym “might” have committed suicide.
On February 3, the body of J P Morgan executive Ryan Crane was discovered at his Stamford, Connecticut home. The cause of Ryan’s death is not expected until the March release of a toxicology report from the Connecticut state medical examiner’s office.
On February 18, J P Morgan banker Dennis Li Junjie reportedly jumped from the 30th floor of the firm’s Chater House building in downtown Hong Kong.
Employees of J P Morgan who know too much stand a very good chance of falling or jumping from the firm’s skyscrapers.
The most bizarre financier death was that of American Title Services CEO Richard Talley who was found dead in his Greenwood Village, Colorado garage with “seven or eight” wounds inflicted by a nail gun.
In addition to the above deaths, Wall Street Journal chief oil market reporter David Bird disappeared without a trace during the second week of January 2014. The FBI is continuing its search for Bird.