… Was a deal made with the DEVIL?
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
January 27, 2006
Goldman Sachs Forms Strategic
Alliance with ICBC
BEIJING – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) today announced the signing of definitive agreements with The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Allianz Group and American Express Company, which include investments totaling US$3.78 billion in ICBC and wide ranging strategic cooperation initiatives….
The agreements are subject to the approval of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.
Under the agreements, each of the strategic investors will cooperate with ICBC across a range of business and management areas. Goldman Sachs will assist ICBC to develop further the bank’s corporate governance, risk management and internal controls, as well as to provide expertise to enhance ICBC’s capabilities in treasury, asset management, corporate and investment banking, non-performing loans disposal and product innovation.
Allianz Group will cooperate with ICBC to provide leading bancassurance products and services to the Bank’s clients, while American Express and ICBC will continue to develop their existing strategic cooperation in the bank card business.
Mr. Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of ICBC, said: “I am delighted that ICBC has formed these strategic alliances with three very special partners. Today’s announcement marks a new beginning for ICBC’s corporate governance reform and business development.”
Mr. Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, said: “Today’s agreement strengthens our long-standing commitment to ICBC and to China and its financial sector reform. This represents the beginning of what I am sure will be a long and successful relationship between our organizations.”
Mr. Michael Diekmann, Chairman of Allianz Group, said: “China is a strategic market for Allianz and this partnership emphasizes our long-term commitment to the market. This is an excellent investment opportunity that also offers a platform for our strategic expansion in China. Through this agreement, Allianz will become one of ICBĆs most important insurance and investment product providers.”
“ICBC has been an excellent card issuing partner for American Express, and we are delighted to deepen our strong, strategic relationship,” said Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express. “This investment is a reflection of our confidence in our partner, ICBC, our strong interest in the Chinese market, and our deep commitment to support this market through quality products and services for Chinese consumers that satisfy their growing needs.”
ICBC is the largest wholesale and retail bank in China by assets and deposits and is a market leader in many business areas including corporate and personal loans, deposits, mortgages, e-banking, custodian services and inter-bank clearing. It provides a wide range of commercial banking services to corporate and individual customers. ICBC has approximately 18,000 outlets and employs 360,000 people across China. It had total assets of RMB6.3 trillion at the end of 2005.
Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high net worth individuals. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest and largest investment banking firms. The firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.
Allianz Group is one of the world’s leading insurers and financial services providers. Founded in 1890, Allianz is present in more than 70 countries with over 162,000 employees. Allianz provides its more than 60 million customers worldwide with a comprehensive range of services in the areas of property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance, asset management and banking. At the end of 2004, Allianz had more than one trillion euros in assets under management.
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company, founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, and business services. Since 1996 American Express has been aggressively pursuing a strategy of opening its merchant network and card product portfolio to third party issuers around the world. By leveraging its global infrastructure and the powerful appeal of the brand, the company aims to gain even broader reach for its network worldwide. American Express has now established close to 100 card-issuing partnership arrangements in nearly 110 countries. American Express and ICBC entered into a card partnership in March 2004, and the ICBC American Express Card was launched in December 2004.
May 2, 2005
Insurer to Investigate Alleged
9/11 Insurance Fraud
A proposal by a small shareholder to withhold approval from the Board of Directors for failure to investigate signs of insurance fraud on 9/11 has been published on the website of the Allianz Group, one of the world’s largest insurers, in preparation for its May 4th annual meeting.
Allianz Group published a shareholder proposal on April 20th faulting management for ignoring signs of insurance fraud on 9/11/2001. Allianz carried a significant portion of the insurance coverage on the WTC, and stands to pay a corresponding portion of the $3.5 billion payout currently being litigated in New York.
In his proposal, shareholder John Leonard, a California native and a publisher of books on 9/11, pointed to reports that building WTC 7 apparently collapsed by demolition, and for no plausible reason related to the 9/11 attacks. Management replied that it relied on official US government reports which made no mention of such evidence.
The Allianz Group is incorporated in Germany and has approximately 570,000 shareholders. Under German Stock Companies law, publicly held companies are required to publish shareholder proposals that meet certain criteria.
The text of the shareholder proposal, which may also be viewed at the Allianz website, http://www.allianzgroup.com/azgrp/dp/cda/0,,100646-49,00.html , is reproduced below.
* * *
Countermotion (Shareholder Proposal) to the General Meeting of Allianz AG to be held May 4th, 2005
From Shareholder: John-Paul Leonard, P.O. Box 126, Joshua Tree, California 92252
Re: Agenda Item 3, Approval of the actions of the members of the Board of Management, I propose that approval not be granted.
Re: Agenda Item 4, Approval of the actions of the members of the Supervisory Board, I likewise propose that approval not be granted.
The managing and supervisory boards have taken a passive attitude toward the insurance claims and the suspicious aspects of the WTC insurance loss.
The investigation of insurance losses and insurance damage claims against the Company is naturally one of the chief duties of the management of every insurance firm.
The WTC catastrophe was doubtless one of the biggest insurance incidents in history. A significant portion of the multi-billion dollar loss is expected to be borne by Allianz.
Numerous observers and researchers find the WTC case very suspicious. For example, in a public opinion survey, 49.3% of respondents in New York City agreed that “some of our leaders knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act.” [Source: www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=855 .]
When this belief is so widespread among unrelated parties, haven’t the affected insurance companies ever asked whether perhaps the US Government instead of the insurers is responsible for the damages, or whether the possibility of insurance fraud has been investigated?
From reports in the media about the trial in New York between the insurers and the insured WTC leaseholder, no sign of such motions has been made public. The dispute has been mainly over the question, whether to pay out $7 billion or “only” $3 billion, whereby the shareholders are supposed to be relieved at the latter sum as a victory of the “lesser of two evils.”
Nor has there been any lack of critical and analytical voices in Germany. Several books in the last few years have posed sharp questions to the official WTC scenario. In 2003, Deutsche Welle published an article entitled, “9/11 Conspiracy Theory Books Dominate Debate at Frankfurt Book Fair.” (www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,993523,00.html.)
Anyone who is interested can quickly obtain similar materials from the Internet free of charge, as well as continuing researches of the background of 9/11 by independent journalists.
Two German-American writers, Jim Hoffman (www.wtc7.net) and Eric Hufschmid, have contributed greatly to the theory of the dynamiting of the Twin Towers and Building WTC-7. Hufschmid’s work was translated and published in German ( www.painfulquestions.de ). They claim that never in history has the structure of a steel building ever been destroyed by fire, and that on the contrary, the evidence points to a controlled demolition. I could find no evidence to gainsay their thesis anywhere.
WTC-7, as is well-known, was never struck by airplanes, and photographs of it show only insignificant fires (www.globalresearch.ca.myforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=523). Nevertheless, the 47-story building at WTC 7 suddenly collapsed at around 17:28 on 9/11/2001. This fact was not even mentioned in the report of the official 9/11 commission. (www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf )
How can an insurer take such an extreme case simply and casually as business as usual?
There is plenty more such evidence that would be useful in the billion-dollar lawsuit, which every citizen with an Internet connection can confirm. Why aren’t Allianz (and the other insurers) able to?
When the managing and supervisory boards take no action to join the investigation of a case as huge and notorious as the WTC, how are the shareholders to know that other cases, too, for whatever reason, are not paid out without being properly investigated?
There is already a private lawsuit against US government officials in connection with the events of 9/11, see http://www.911forthetruth.com.
May 9, 2005
From Alex Jones’ Prison Planet
FEMA said Building 7 collapsed from fire. Yet Larry Silverstein, lease holder of the trade center complex explained that building 7 was a controlled demolition. Now Allianz Group, the insurer, stands to pay a corresponding portion of the $3.5 billion payout currently being litigated in New York on the basis that building 7 collapsed from fire…
Conspiracy theory: Was 7 WTC demolished?
In a PBS documentary originally aired in Sept. of 2002 entitled “America Rebuilds”, Larry Silverstein, the real estate developer who owned the leases on WTC buildings 1, 2 and 7, possibly indicates that Seven World Trade Center was deliberately demolished, which has generated concern that One and Two World Trade Center might also have been deliberately demolished.
In the documentary, Silverstein is quoted as saying:
“I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, ‘We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.’ And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse.”
Mr Silverstein’s comments came after FEMA and the Society of Civil Engineers conducted an investigation into the collapse of 7 WTC. The study was released in May of 2002. The study specifically concluded:
“Loss of structural integrity was likely a result of weakening caused by fires on the 5th to 7th floors. The specifics of the fires in 7 WTC and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the best hypothesis has only a low probability of occurrence. Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this issue.”
It must be noted that the demolition of a building requires extensive planning and placement of a large number of explosive charges, a process that takes several days. Furthermore, Silverstein’s comments are subject to interpretation. Opponents of the above interpretation state that Silverstein’s “pull it” comment refers to pulling fire teams off of 7 WTC, to prevent further loss of life. Lastly, New York City fire department personnel did not have the proper qualifications for such demolition, nor did they have reasonable access given the significant damage and ongoing large fires in the structure to conduct such a controlled demolition.
In November of 2004, responding to such claims Silverstein’s spokesman Howard J. Rubenstein stated “It is unfortunate that this group is peddling grossly inaccurate conspiracy theories.” FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] conducted a detailed study and concluded that the collapse was caused by fires ignited by falling debris.”
Another frequent claim in the theory that 7 WTC was intentionally demolished was the nature of the collapse of the building, in that it collapsed mostly within its own footprint. However, NIST has stated the collapse sequence within their working hypothesis “is consistent with all evidence currently held by NIST, including photographs and videos, eyewitness accounts and emergency communication records.” . Thus, according to the NIST the building could indeed fall within its own footprint without there being a controlled demolition.
See also Major WTC Insurance Company Questions Building 7 Collapse As Potential Fraud
Allianz Group is the insurance company that stands to pay 3 billion dollars to Larry Silverstein, lease holder of the world trade center since building number 7 fell at approximately 4:30PM on 9/11/01.
There’s only one problem. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) says the building fell from fire damage, yet Larry Silverstein came right out on a PBS documentary “America Rebuilds” and said that they “pulled” building number 7, an industry term meaning controlled demolition.
He should not have collected on the insurance policy.
That’s insurance fraud.
A shareholder recently contacted Allianz’s board of directors regarding this fraud and is pushing for an investigation.
I’ve just been trying to get the word out, that one shareholder hasn’t much power but tens of thousands of shareholders or potential shareholders have the authority to hire and fire the board of directors which in turn hire and fire the CEO, CFO, as well as other key positions within the company since shareholders of publicly traded companies receive ballots by mail to vote on the board of directors. If the board of directors at Allianz Group feel their jobs are on the line, they might be more inclined to investigate this fraud.
Why is all of this relevant to exposing the truth behind what really happened on 9/11? Because it takes days, if not weeks to plant demolition charges, and building number 7 crumbled at 4:30PM on 9/11, only hours after towers 1 and 2 fell. Building number 7 is a 49 story building that was “overengineered for total infrastructure breakdown”. It was fireproof, had it’s own air and water supplies and was a doomsday command center for FEMA and Rudy Guiliani.
Not coincidentally, the New York offices of the DOD (Department of Defense), CIA, Customs, SEC(Securities and Exchange Commission), and Secret Service were all in that building.
Before 9/11 a steel structured building had never fallen from fire damage. They rationalize that since jumbo jets struck the towers, their structural integrity was compromised, allowing the fires to finish the job. However, the engineers of the World Trade Center, chiefly Namuro Yamasaki, said they engineered the towers to withstand multiple jumbo jet impacts.
There is no reason the buildings would have crumbled to little more than soot without demolition charges in the buildings. Building number 7 was not even struck by a plane, nor was it in the debris field of towers 1 and 2. Even had it been, it was the most structurally sound building in the complex and should have sustained heavy damage.
Even the Sheraton Hotel next to tower 2 had the building fall directly on top of it and had fires raging throughout, but never fell. If a real investigation into what happened to building number 7 of the world trade center is done, I’m confident it could expose the whole shotty operation….
There are several video segments from “America Rebuilds” in the below link.
– posted by x_factur www.smokr.info/911/wtc_7.htm
December 7, 2004
Jury Says WTC Attacks
Were Separate Events
By Dean Starkman and Janet Morrissey
From The Wall Street Journal Online
NEW YORK — A federal jury ruled that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center were two “occurrences,” insurance language that means developer Larry Silverstein can collect as much as $1.1 billion more than the $3.55 billion face value of the insurance on the property.
The verdict is a vindication for Mr. Silverstein, who for more than three years has pursued his claim that two planes hitting two towers at two different moments entitled him to a double payout on the insurance he took out in the summer of 2001, when he bought a 99-year lease on the property from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
The verdict also is a potential jumpstart for ambitious plans to build five office towers around Ground Zero, a program that could cost upward of $9 billion. Before yesterday’s verdict, few observers believed Mr. Silverstein would have enough funds to build more than the iconic Freedom Tower, estimated to cost $1 billion to $1.3 billion, and perhaps one other tower.
The verdict keeps the broader office-rebuilding program alive for now and helps solidify Mr. Silverstein’s financial position as lead developer at Ground Zero.
The courtroom was silent as U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey read the verdict, but the faces on the legal teams told the story. Lawyers for the insurers grimly huddled together, hugging each other and wiping back tears, while Mr. Silverstein’s legal team beamed with elation. “We’re very pleased with the verdict,” said Bernie Nussbaum, one of Mr. Silverstein’s lawyers.
Mr. Silverstein said in a statement, “I strongly felt, and the jury agreed, that the destruction of the Twin Towers by two separate airplanes at two separate times was two separate occurrences and that these insurers have an obligation to pay their fair share to help make Lower Manhattan whole again.”
Insurers had argued that the attacks were a single, highly coordinated terrorist attack on a single insured property, warranting a single payout.
A spokeswoman for St. Paul Travelers Cos., St. Paul, Minn., one of nine insurers in the case, said the impact of the decision will be “immaterial” to the company. A spokeswoman for another of the insurers, Allianz AG Holding, said: “We’re disappointed that the jury failed to conclude that the Allianz policy didn’t define the World Trade Center attack was one occurrence.” She added that the company was considering an appeal. Others included Gulf Insurance Co.; TIG Insurance Co., a unit of General Electric Co.; Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co., a unit of Millea Holdings Inc.; Zurich American Insurance Co.; Royal Indemnity Co.; and Twin City Fire Insurance Co.
The victory is Mr. Silverstein’s first in three years of litigation. In March, a group of 13 insurers led by Swiss Reinsurance Co. won a resounding victory in their claim that they had signed up for coverage using forms that left no doubt that the attacks were defined as a single occurrence.
In that trial, Mr. Silverstein lost to insurers that account for $2.4 billion of the policy.
November 1, 2004
California civil suits anticipated
charges brought by Spitzer
By Berry, Kate, Los Angeles Business Journal
The contingent commissions that are at the center of the Marsh & McLennan Cos. scandal were the subject of two lawsuits filed three years ago in California.
The suits, both filed on behalf of the public by New York law firm Anderson Kill & Olick, allege that Marsh & McLennan and other insurance brokers took kickbacks and undisclosed fees to steer business to large insurers–allegations that were later made by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
Both lawsuits–one filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles, the other in San Francisco–claim that Marsh engaged in unfair competition and unjust enrichment in violation of California’s Business and Professions Code.
Neither of the lawsuits allege bid-rigging or price fixing similar to those that arose from Spitzer’s probe.
The San Francisco civil lawsuit, which appears beaded for trial, alleges that a group of insurers including Allianz AG, American International Group, CNA Financial Corp.’s Continental Casualty Co. unit, Chubb Corp. and Hartford Financial Services Group all made undisclosed payments to insurance brokers, including Marsh, for steering customers to them.
“Such undisclosed fees and commissions constitute undisclosed kickbacks,” the lawsuit states. “The defendants’ practice of holding themselves out as representatives of their policyholder clients while secretly receiving substantial commissions … constitutes unfair competition.”
Finley Harckham, a partner at Anderson Kill, said the insurance industry is trying to portray contingent commissions as an acceptable practice that has been in place for a long time.
The central issue, he said, is whether there is sufficient disclosure. There has been debate on the subject since 1999, when the Risk and Insurance Management Association, an industry group, called for full disclosure of the practice to policyholders, he said. Not all companies did so, he said.
Spitzer’s lawsuit against Marsh alleges that contingent commissions, which are sometimes referred to as “placement services agreements,” create a financial incentive for brokers and violate their fiduciary responsibility to policyholders.
“This really has to do with the insurance practices of brokers that are selling to small businesses,” Harckham said, adding that without getting competitive quotes, businesses may be overcharged or may miss out on buying less expensive coverage.
The Los Angeles lawsuit, also filed in 2001, sheds light on the brokers’ practice of earning interest by investing premiums for periods of 30, 45 or 60 days before forwarding the premiums onto insurers. The suit alleges that this “constitutes unauthorized self-dealing by agents and fiduciaries at the expense of policyholders.”
That suit alleges that brokers “insert themselves into the payment process in order to hold and invest for their own accounts the funds being transferred.”
The lawsuit claims that Marsh and Aon Corp. generated more than $100 million per year in interest from their investment of claims payments and return premium payments.
A judge dismissed the Los Angeles lawsuit in February. Harckham said it is being appealed.
November 1, 2004
Spitzer’s controversial insurance lawsuit
Why claims he is overreaching are wrong
By Anthony J. Sebok, Special to CNN.com
(FINDLAW) — After taking on the mutual fund industry, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is now setting his sights on the insurance industry. Two weeks ago, at a news conference, he announced he had found wide-spread wrongdoing.
Since then, the stocks of various insurance brokers and companies have dropped. The major CEO of one insurance broker has resigned. The Wall Street Journal has denounced Spitzer on its editorial pages, alleging that he’s overreaching, and turning his office into a regulatory agency.
In this column, I will examine Spitzer’s civil suit. I will also consider the claim that Spitzer – rather than doing his job, and enforcing the law — is actually, in effect, trying to write new laws without consulting the legislature or the voters.
I will argue that this claim is in error: In fact, Spitzer is doing his job. Moreover, if he is overstepping the limits of his office, it is in part because the insurance commissioners of New York and other states are not doing their jobs.
Suit against broker Marsh & McLennan
Spitzer’s complaint against the insurance broker Marsh & McLennan alleged statutory claims for fraud, securities fraud, and antitrust violations, and common law claims for fraud and unjust enrichment.
Companies hire insurance brokers to help them choose insurance companies and particular policies. Historically, the broker’s commission would be based on a percentage of the total value of the policy. It would be paid by the chosen insurance company, but the company doubtless passed the cost on to the client company.
But March & McLennan used a different (and quite popular) commission system that is at the heart of Spitzer’s complaint. I will call it “contingent commissions.”…
Spitzer: Disclosure is misleading
Persuaded by the insurance industry’s argument, insurance commissioners have held that contingent commissions are permissible as long as the broker discloses their existence to the client, and as long as the client has access multiple bids for similar products.
But Spitzer’s suit alleges that the insurance brokers and companies have found a way to get around both these protections, thus ripping off the companies that buy insurance.
First, Spitzer alleges, disclosure is less than complete — or is misleading. For instance, Marsh is alleged to have concealed its contingent commissions under the bland-sounding label “Market Service Agreement” (“MSA”) — when, Spitzer alleges, no separate “service” was actually at issue, and the payment was just a reward for giving a particular insurer business.
Spitzer: Collusion undermines competition
Second, Spitzer contends, the reality is that clients are not offered genuine price competition. Theoretically, this should happen. But in reality, he alleges, it does not.
In theory, an insurance-buying client is guaranteed the lowest price for insurance as long as its broker faithfully provided a complete set of competing bids. Moreover, in theory, even if the broker provided an incomplete list, the companies that were left off the list could alert the client to their lower prices….
But in reality, Spitzer says it’s not so simple or efficient. Spitzer alleges that brokers like Marsh undermined fair competition among bidders by allegedly arranging for the major insurers to fake their bids.
Because of such arrangements, Spitzer contends, each time an insurance-buying client received a set of competitive bids, the insurer that Marsh wanted the client to pick always had the “lowest” bid. Thus, the company – thinking it was exercising free choice – chose the lowest bid, unaware that in effect, it wasn’t the chooser; Marsh was.
The advantage of cartelization
On Spitzer’s theory, why might insurers like AIG, ACE, or Zurich–huge, powerful companies–have allowed this to happen? Why wouldn’t one of them blow the whistle on the fake bids, and demand to submit genuine, lower bids and win even when Marsh didn’t pick them?…
The answer Spitzer can give is simple. All the big insurers had an interest in creating a system where the brokers — and not the market — decided which company the client would pick. That is, they preferred cartelization to competition. And the brokers were more than happy to set up a system to manage the cartel — for a price.
The harm that was caused if Spitzer’s claims prove true
Some press accounts have asked: Even if Spitzer’s right, what’s the harm to the insurance-buying companies? Isn’t the extra money all coming from the insurers – who are the ones bribing the brokers for policy placement?
The answer is no. In the end, the cost of the “bribes” is paid by the clients — companies like Ford. Second, and most important, the real problem with the contingent commission system is not the commissions themselves. It is the system of price-fixing that the contingent commission seems to inevitably produce. The cost of price-fixing is not really borne by the large corporate customer, but by all of society.
For example, in his complaint, Spitzer describes the case of Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville retained Marsh as a broker to purchase insurance for a school renovation project. The value of the insurance contract was approximately $3 million.
Marsh allegedly steered the contract to one insurer, Zurich, in exchange for a contingent commission. In order to persuade Greenville that Zurich had the best price, it allegedly arranged with another insurer, CNA, that CNA would produce a dummy bid which would be guaranteed to lose, but which would make the Zurich bid look good. Of course, Greenville opted for the lower, Zurich bid.
Who really was hurt by this scheme, if it occurred as alleged? The taxpayers of Greenville – who paid more than they should have to insure their school renovation…
September 13, 2004
Allianz units in fund-timing settlement
Pimco affiliates to pay $50 million amid fraud charges
By Jonathan Burton, CBS.MarketWatch.com
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) — Three U.S.-based mutual fund units of German insurance giant Allianz will pay $50 million to settle allegations that they defrauded investors in an elaborate market-timing scheme, regulators said Monday.
Under the agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, PEA Capital, PA Fund Management and PA Distributors agreed to a $40 million civil penalty and to return $10 million in ill-gotten gains related to improper trading in several of the firms’ stock funds….
The SEC detailed an arrangement in which hedge fund Canary Capital Partners moved more than $4 billion in overall dollar volume in and out of funds managed by PEA Capital from February 2002 to April 2003. In exchange for the trading opportunities, Canary invested up to $27 million in a separate PEA hedge fund.
The Allianz units also disclosed nonpublic portfolio holdings to Canary and perhaps others, regulators said, giving these privileged clients a chance to trade the securities held in the funds.
As is customary in such cases, the three firms settled without admitting or denying wrongdoing.
The settlement reflects a “serious breach of trust,” said Randall Lee, director of the SEC’s Pacific regional office in Los Angeles, in a statement. “It’s illegal for a mutual fund adviser to share nonpublic portfolio information with a favored investor or to enter into a secret, lucrative arrangement to permit a favored investor to engage in market timing.”…
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May 28, 1998
German Insurer Agrees To Settle
Eight Holocaust Claims
MUNICH – German insurer Allianz AG said on Thursday it had agreed to settle payment claims with eight heirs of Holocaust victims for Nazi-era life insurance policies they say were seized and not honored.
Allianz was one of 16 European insurers that came under fire early last year over the handling of such claims, after they were named in a class-action suit in New York by groups representing Holocaust victims and their families.
“Because of the huge publicity this case drew, we had expected a flood of cases,” said Allianz chief executive Henning Schulte-Noelle, according to the text of a speech to be given at a news conference in Munich. Schulte-Noelle said Allianz had offered to make payments in 14 cases which may have been linked to the company. So far, eight families of Holocaust victims had accepted the offer, he said.
Schulte-Noelle did not reveal the size of the payments or to whom they were made. Schulte-Noelle noted that Allianz had agreed to work closely with an international commission, set up last month in the United States to resolve the claims with Jewish leaders and insurance regulators from California and New York. He said the commission provided a guarantee that the claims would be paid promptly to relatives and descendants.
Allianz has insisted that most insurance claims from the Nazi era have already been settled, either through the company or by restitution payments from the German government. It has also hired auditing firm Arthur Andersen to assess some 800,000 policy files surviving from the Nazi era.
From Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate – PartI:
Goldman Sachs – The Goldman Sachs Group is a leading global investment banking and securities firm with three principal business lines: Investment banking; Trading and Principal Investments; and Asset Management and Securities Services.
From Goldman Sachs, by Lisa Endlich:
GOLDMAN SACHS had been expanding the size of its partnership steadily for decades. There had been fifty partners in 1973; there were seventy-five in 1983 and one hundred fifty by 1993. But as the size of the partnership increased, the profits of the firm had to grow at breakneck speed if existing partners’ income levels were to be maintained….
With his ascendency in 1990, Robert Rubin openly discussed with the partnership the need for an expanding pie….
In addition to the firm’s limited partners (retired partners who choose to leave capital in the firm), Goldman Sachs has taken on three groups of financial partners. Sumitomo’s investments in 1986 entitled the Japanese bank to 12.5% of the firm’s annual profits. Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, the giant Hawaiian education trust, which also made two major cash infusions into the firm, first in 1992 and again in 1994, receives about 11% of what the firm makes every year. Finally, a group of insurers has injected $225 million into the capital structure.
Goldman Sachs will go down in history as the last major partnership on Wall Street….
Quoting one former partner:
“Greed changed the firm, and the view was to take as much
risk as we can, and make it as fast as we can.”
~ ~ ~
“1986,” Institutional Investor magazine proclaimed, “was the year they sold Wall Street.” During the five preceding years John Weinberg had watched his major competitors incorporate, merge, or simply cease to exist….
* * *
From USA Today, May 3, 1999: Trust Scandal Haunts Goldman — Sullied Bishop Estate Owns 10% of Bank: . . . Daytime television has nothing on the Bishop Estate, a charitable trust that will make a huge windfall in Goldman Sachs’ initial public offering expected Tuesday… The trustees of the estate are mired in an explosive scandal with subplots of greed, cronyism, sex and suicide that are worthy of the tawdriest soap opera….
Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate was set up 115 years ago to educate Hawaiian children as stipulated in the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of the king who united the islands. With assets of about $10 billion, it is one of the richest trusts in the USA and the largest private landowner in Hawaii…
Among its assets: a 10% stake in Goldman Sachs, the leading investment bank that is ending its long reign as a private partnership. When Goldman goes public, the estate stands to at least triple the value of its $500 million investment…
* * *
From The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, May 4, 1999: Goldman Sachs Leaves Little To Chance With Red-Hot IPO.
The IPO which raised $3.66 billion, ranks as the largest financial-services IPO eve …
Top executives at Goldman, such as Mr. Paulson, received shares in the company valued at as much as $200 million. . .
Goldman itself sold 51 million shares. Two Goldman shareholders, Kamehameha Activities Association and Sumitomo Bank Capital Markets, a unit of Sumitomo Bank, also sold nine million shares each, leaving them with Goldman stakes of 4% and 5%, respectively….
See also: Dan Inouye; Lucent Technologies; Sumitomo Bank; Xiamen International Bank; Yakuza
For more GO TO > > > Dirty Gold in Goldman Sachs?
Xiamen International Bank – On Sept 28, 1974, Luso International Bank was incorporated in Macau. In 1975, it was acquired by Panin Group (renamed Min Xin Group in 1988), Hong Kong.
In Nov 1985, Panin Group, with three PRC-based institutions, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; Fujian Investment and Enterprise Corp (renamed Fujian International Trust & Investment Corp); and Construction and Development Corp of Xiamen Special Economic Zone (renamed Xiamen Construction and Development Corp, Ltd.) jointly founded Xiamen International Bank, the first joint venture bank in the People’s Republic of China.
Luso International Bank was injected as part of the capital to the bank, thus becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xiamen International Bank.
In Nov 1991, XIB was joined by three more shareholders: Asian Development Bank; The Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, Ltd.; and Sino Finance Group, Ltd. (owned by Bishop Estate and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, William Simon).
* * *
GreaterThings, by Greg Wongham: The Ripple Effect is one way we, the people of Hawaii, can attempt to tell the rest of the country about the way the Asian-influenced financial world of Hawaii could cost you and your children every penny in your bank. Hawaii’s political powerbrokers, led by Hawaii (D) Senator Dan Inouye, have been very busy manipulating the financial world from Wall Street to the White House. Inouye knew Wall Street could be had if he were able to get a big powerhouse brokerage firm like Goldman Sachs to make a market for one or two of his big Asian banker friends, like Mochtar Riady’s Lippo Group (who was the center of the “Chinagate” investigation) and his brother-in-law, Mumin Ala Gundawun, who controls Xiamen International Bank.
Other Chinese-Indonesians like Atang Latief and his former son-in-law Sukarman Sukamto (now named Sukamto Sia), played a big role in the “high finance” world that has dominated Hawaii and Hawaii politics for decades. Latief, for example, was credited with controlling 10 offshore banks in Hong Kong.
The $6 billion Kamehameha Schools Trust provided the financial “brick and mortar” used to build the bridge that would span the gap between Asia and U.S. capital markets. The Democratic Party-controlled Kamehameha Schools Trust spent $500 million to purchase 10% of Goldman Sachs stock….
Kamehameha Schools’ lead investment trustee, Henry Peters, stated that they were going to put Xiamen International Bank on the N.Y. stock exchange. This was a plan to create a conduit allowing the American public’s capital to flow through to their business partners in Asia, in some cases subsidizing a communist regime. The Clinton appointment of Rubin as Secretary Treasurer was the other link to Hawaii’s financial and banking world….
* * *
March 8, 2002
China lets first foreign bank
take Chinese clients
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s central bank has given the green light to the first foreign financial institution, Xiamen International Bank, to do business with Chinese clients, a bank official and state newspapers said on Friday.
The Sino-foreign joint venture bank, based in booming Xiamen in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, had been given approval to provide domestic clients with foreign currency services, they said.
“We are the first foreign financial institution and first joint venture bank to gain approval,” an official at the Xiamen International Bank told Reuters by telephone. He declined to say how the new business would affect earnings.
Xiamen International Bank is 10-percent-owned by Japan’s Shinsei Bank, 10 percent by the Asian Development Bank and five percent by U.S.-backed Sino-Finance Group Co Ltd.
It is majority-owned by Fujian provincial and municipal government firms.
As part of its commitments for World Trade Organisation entry, China allowed overseas banks to conduct foreign currency business with Chinese residents from February 1.
Foreign banks were formerly only allowed to take foreigners or overseas-invested firms as customers and many are now applying to the central bank to expand their business.
Xiamen International Bank gained its approval on March 4, state newspapers said on Friday.
The bank was set up in November 1985 and has a licence to do yuan business with foreign individuals and companies. Its market coverage spans Fujian, Macau and Hong Kong, according to its Web site.
Min Xin Holdings Ltd has a 36.75 percent stake in the bank, Fujian International Trust and Investment Corp has 12 percent, Xiamen Construction and Development Corp has 7.5 percent and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has 18.75 percent.
China’s central bank said on Thursday foreign banks have to follow the same interest rate guidelines as Chinese banks when taking foreign currency deposits from domestic clients.
Analysts said the guidelines would ensure foreign banking giants, with their more sophisticated products and international names, did not take clients away from Chinese banks by offering more attractive interest rates.
China has pledged to open the financial sector to overseas players gradually in the five years after its WTO entry. Foreign banks will be allowed to do yuan business with Chinese companies in two years and with Chinese individuals in five years.
See also: Zurich Financial Services Group
For more, GO TO > > > The World Trade Organization
# # #
By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former chief weapons inspector of the U.N. has said, ‘The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime, itself. Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.’…
“We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th….
“Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq’s people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time. If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.”…
– George W. Bush, October 7, 2000
* * * * *
IRAQ BODY COUNT
National Priorities Project – Cost of War
A Timeline of Oil and Violence in Iraq
DrDebug’s 9/11 Investigation
THE 10 MOST BRAZEN WAR PROFITEERS
THE EAGLE HOODED: THE 9-11 COVERUP
PART I – PART II – PART III
MORE TO COME
For now, here are some more “birds of a feather” that
you’ll also find building nests in this tree…
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING KAMEHAMEHA’S COURT
ACE UP THE SLEEVE
AIG: THE UN-AMERICAN INSURANCE GROUP
ALLIED WORLD ASSURANCE
ALOHA, HARKEN ENERGY!
AMERICAN SAVINGS BANK: BEHIND THE BLINDS
APCOA: VULTURES IN THE PARKING LOT
THE BAD FAITH BUZZARDS
THE BANKRUPTCY BUZZARDS
BCCI: THE BANK OF CROOKS & CRIMINALS INT’L
THE BERMUDA FRAUDS
THE BROKEN TRUST BOOK
THE CARLYLE GROUP
THE CHUBB GROUP
CITIGROUP: VAMPIRES IN THE CITY
CONFESSIONS OF A WHISTLEBLOWER
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING KAMEHAMEHA’S COURT
THE CROSSROADS GROUP
DIRTY GOLD IN GOLDMAN SACHS
DIRTY MONEY, DIRTY POLITICS & BISHOP ESTATE
FIRST INSURANCE COMPANY OF HAWAII
THE GREAT NEST EGG ROBBERIES
HAWAIIAN AIR LINES
LETTERS TO THE FBI
LETTER TO THE IRS
LOST GENERATIONS: A BOY, A SCHOOL, A PRINCESS
NESTS OF THE INSURANCE VAMPIRES
HAWAIIAN INSURANCE COMPANIES
I SING THE HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC
THE INDONESIAN CONNECTION
THE KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS PENSION PLAN
KEMPER INSURANCE COMPANIES
THE KISSINGER OF DEATH
MARSH & McLENNAN: THE MARSH BIRDS
MARSH & McLENNAN’S KROLL ASSOCIATES
MARSH & McLENNAN’S MARSH AFFINITY SERVICES
MARSH & McLENNAN’S MERCER CONSULTING
MARSH & McLENNAN’S GUY CARPENTER
MARSH & McLENNAN’S PUTNAM
OF VAMPIRES & DAISIES
THE PRUDENTIAL: A NEST ON SHAKY GROUND
RICO IN PARADISE
THE SILENCE OF THE WHISTLEBLOWERS
THE TORCH OF ERIC SHINE
THE PIRATES OF PUNALUU
THE POOP ON AON
THE PUNA CONNECTION
THE ROYAL & SUNAMERICA
TRANSYLVANIA TRAVELERS IN ST. PAUL
CITIGROUP: VAMPIRES IN THE CITY
VAMPIRES IN THE VESTA INSURANCE GROUP
VULTURES IN THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
WHAT PRICE WATERHOUSE?
WILLIAM SIMON SAYS…
YAKUZA DOODLE DANDIES
ZEPHYR INSURANCE COMPANY
ZEROING IN ON ZURICH FINANCIAL SERVICES
# # #
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Last Update October 9, 2006, by The Catbird