Tag Archives: finance

Mitch McConnell slams China over Hong Kong, threatens a global confrontation that could tank the finance hub

Mitch McConnell slams China over Hong Kong, threatens a global confrontation that could tank the finance hub"Sooner or later, the rest of the world will have to do what the protesters are doing—confront Beijing," McConnell wrote in the Wall Street Journal.



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Kenyan finance minister arrested on corruption charges over mega dam project

Kenyan finance minister arrested on corruption charges over mega dam projectKenya's Finance Minister Henry Rotich and other treasury officials were arrested on Monday on corruption and fraud charges over a multi-million dollar project to build two mega dams, police said. Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji had ordered the arrest and prosecution of Rotich and 27 other top officials on charges of fraud, abuse of office and financial misconduct in the latest scandal to rock graft-wracked Kenya. Mr Rotich, his principal secretary and the chief executive of Kenya's environmental authority then presented themselves to the police. Mr Haji claimed the conception, procurement and payment processes for the dam project – part of a bid to improve water supply in the drought-prone country – was "riddled with irregularities". The arrests are part of a drive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to combat corruption in the poverty-plagued country, which has seen hundreds of millions of dollars disappear due to fraud.  A string of top officials have been charged since last year, when a damning report from the auditor general showed that the government could not account for $ 400 million (£321m) in public funds.  But it is unprecedented for a sitting minister to be arrested for corruption.  Detailing the charges, the chief prosecutor pointed to the awarding of the contract to Italian firm CMC di Ravenna in a manner that he said flouted proper procurement procedures, and despite financial woes that forced the company into liquidation and had led to it failing complete three other mega-dam projects. According to the contract, the project was to cost a total of $ 450 million (£361m), but the treasury had increased this amount by $ 164 million "without regard to performance or works," said Mr Haji. Some $ 180 million has already been paid out, with little construction to show for it, while a further $ 6 million was supposedly spent on resettlement but without the acquisition of any land. "Under the guise of carrying out legitimate commercial transactions, colossal amounts were unjustifiably and illegally paid out through a well-choreographed scheme by government officers in collusion with private individuals and institutions, Mr Haji said.  Mr Rotich has previously denied any wrongdoing, as has CMC di Ravenna.



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Kenyan finance minister arrested on graft charges

Kenyan finance minister arrested on graft chargesKenyan Finance Minister Henry Rotich was arrested on Monday on suspicion of financial misconduct related to the construction of two dams, an unprecedented detention of a sitting minister for corruption in a country notorious for graft. Rotich denied any wrongdoing in a large newspaper advertisement in March. Rotich and his co-accused face eight charges, ranging from conspiring to defraud and financial misconduct, Noordin Haji, the director of public prosecutions, said.



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Prosecutors outline details of congressman's alleged affairs in campaign finance case

Prosecutors outline details of congressman's alleged affairs in campaign finance caseProsecutors alleged in a Monday court filing that Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., used campaign funds to carry out multiple affairs over at least seven years with congressional staffers and lobbyists.



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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Meet the Trump supporter trying to take her down through campaign finance complaints

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Meet the Trump supporter trying to take her down through campaign finance complaintsThe man trying to bring down Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her staff for allegedly breaking campaign finance laws during the 2018 midterm elections, is a devout partisan and proud Donald Trump supporter, known for his distaste for the very campaign finance regulations he is using to try and stir up controversy.Dan Backer, a Virginia attorney, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Wednesday, alleging that Ms Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Seikat Chakrabarti engaged in a “scheme” to undercut normal “market value” for campaign services for her and several other progressive candidates.It is a complaint that Mr Backer says shows Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s “hypocrisy” as an advocate for campaign finance reform, even if he does not personally agree with the underlying law. And, it is Mr Backer’s own duality on these issues that campaign finance experts say illustrates how easy it is for partisan complaints to be filed with the FEC and make news with little in-depth scrutiny.“I think much of what they set out to do SHOULD be legal, and the provisions restricting people from engaging in robust political activity in this way are likely unconstitutional, but it’s still the law,” Mr Backer told The Independent in an email.He continued: “And it’s self-aggrandising ‘reformers’ like [Ms Ocasio-Cortez] who seek to make the laws even more burdensome. I would be thrilled if the adjudication here resulted in overturning some of these restrictions, but until then it’s still the law and a self-professed reformer ought to follow the laws.”A request sent to Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s office seeking comment on Mr Backer’s allegations received no reply. She has previously claimed the campaign finance allegations against her originated from a “conspiracy machine”.In the newest complaint, Mr Backer charges that Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Mr Chakrabarti controlled three overlapping entities — the Justice Democrats PAC, the Brand New Congress PAC and Brand New Congress LLC — with a goal to “subsidise cheap assistance for Ocasio-Cortez and other candidates at rates far below market value”.The complaint details a string of allegations, with multiple different ways that Mr Backer says Ms Ocasio-Cortez may have violated campaign finance laws.“Dan Backer is a longtime actor in this space who has scored some notable victories. He has won, but he also has a reputation for taking a kind of kitchen sink approach,” said Daniel Weiner, the senior counsel for the Brennan Centre for Justice.“He sues the FEC constantly and loses much more often than he wins, though he has won,” Mr Weiner continued. “He’s also, frankly, he’s a very, very committed partisan. Not unlike many people in this bar. He’s also a committed — one might even say ferocious — opponent of campaign finance regulation generally.”Mr Backer’s complaint was filed on Wednesday on behalf of the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a conservative activist group that has challenged Ms Ocasio-Cortez for campaign finance violations on at least one other occasion.The foundation is run by Mr Backer and by Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican donor and delegate for Mr Trump who once challenged — and won with Mr Backer’s help — the FEC over limits on aggregate campaign donations to federal candidates during a two year period.In addition to his complaints against Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Mr Backer has been active in Republican politics organising against former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.Mr Backer helped to establish the Stop Hillary PAC, for instance, which was highly critical of her handling of the 2012 attacks on US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, where a US ambassador was killed. The PAC was later renamed following Mr Trump’s election as the Committee to Defend the President.Mr Backer was also involved in a complaint accusing the Clinton campaign in 2016 of campaign violations related to payments to Fusion GPS – the company that helped produce the dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.With Mr Backer’s signature behind it, the Committee to Defend the President and a separate pro-Trump PAC called Great America PAC have already begun spending big to support the president’s re-election bid. By mid-February, for instance, those two groups had already spent $ 441,038 and $ 821,280, respectively, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.



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Hong Kong economy stalls amid trade dispute: finance chief

Hong Kong economy stalls amid trade dispute: finance chiefHong Kong’s economy stalled last year as the ongoing China-US trade dispute and retail woes dragged down local business, the city’s financial chief said Sunday. Beijing and Washington have already imposed duties on more than $ 360 billion in two-way trade, roiling global financial markets and weighing heavily on manufacturing output in both countries. “The impact of China-US trade frictions on Hong Kong’s exports has clearly emerged at the end of last year,” said finance secretary Paul Chan.



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Wall Street wary of progressive Democrats on the House finance committee

Wall Street wary of progressive Democrats on the House finance committeeWall Street is bunkering down for a wave of intense scrutiny as a group of progressive Democrats, including social media star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have joined a powerful House of Representatives committee overseeing banking activities. “It’s a huge victory,” said Ocasio-Cortez, at 29 the youngest member of Congress and a self-described socialist — a word that shocks conservatives, who brandish it as a dire threat. Ocasio-Cortez, often referred to by her initials AOC, will bring public attention to the ordinarily drab committee via her strong social media presence that includes 2.5 million followers on Twitter.



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Two Republicans Push ‘Border Bonds’ to Let Americans Finance a Wall

Two Republicans Push ‘Border Bonds’ to Let Americans Finance a WallRepresentatives Steven Palazzo of Mississippi and Andy Harris of Maryland, both members of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the Border Bonds for America Act of 2019 — a law that would allow Americans to buy such securities from the U.S. The money would be put in a trust fund and used just to build a wall along the nearly 2,000 mile (3,200 kilometer) border. The tactic echoes the Liberty Bond program, which appealed to Americans’ sense of patriotism to raise funds during World War I.



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Yellow vests protests are 'a catastrophe for our economy' warns French finance minister

Yellow vests protests are 'a catastrophe for our economy' warns French finance ministerThe French finance minister warned that France’s worst street protests in decades were “an economic disaster” as burned out cars and debris were cleared from the streets of Paris and other cities on Sunday. “It’s a catastrophe for trade. It’s a catastrophe for our economy,” said Bruno Le Maire, a conservative serving under Emmanuel Macron, the embattled centrist president who came to power last year promising to modernise France with sweeping pro-business reforms. Mr Le Maire promised that the state and insurance companies would foot the repair bill. Tax payments due at the end of the year will be postponed for retailers whose shops were ransacked only two weeks before Christmas, he said. Dozens of cars were torched in Paris on Saturday as protesters roared “Macron resign”. Clashes also broke out in Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse during the fourth consecutive weekend of protests. Tourism has suffered a blow, with Paris hotel bookings over Christmas and New Year, normally a busy period, down by at least 20 per cent.  Yellow vest protesters clash with police in Paris, in pictures Emmanuel Grégoire, deputy mayor of Paris, said the damage to property was worse than in the previous weekend’s riots. “The protests spread over a much larger area, so many more places were hit,” he said.  But there was less violence thanks to an increase in police numbers and more efficient tactics. Officers swiftly detained hooligans, arresting more than 1,700, a record for a single day in post-war France. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the foreign minister, rebuked Donald Trump for a provocative tweet in which he appeared to back the protesters and claimed they were chanting his name on the streets of Paris. Telegraph reporters, placed across the city, heard no such chants. “We do not take part in domestic American politics and we want that to be reciprocated,” Mr Le Drian said.  Thousands of protesters continued blockading petrol stations and barricaded roads across the country on Sunday. Thomas Lebrun, a 62-year-old pensioner demonstrating near Vierzon, in central France, said: “We won’t stop until our demands are met. We want action not words.” The increasingly unpopular president is expected to make a televised address to the nation on Monday or Tuesday. Under fire for remaining silent for the past week, Mr Macron’s approval ratings have plunged to record lows of below 20 per cent. With critics accusing him of being arrogant and remote, he faces an enormous challenge in trying to win back public support amid the most serious unrest since students and workers rioted in May 1968.  He has already scrapped increases in “green” taxes on fuel, but the protesters want further concessions such as tax cuts for people on low incomes and tax increases for businesses.  Such measures would mark a humiliating U-turn for the president, who has been trying to attract foreign investors and entice banks and finance companies to relocate from London to Paris by offering tax breaks. Benjamin Griveaux, the government spokesman, warned: “All the problems of the ‘yellow vests’ can’t be settled by waving a magic wand.” But he added that Mr Macron would make “important announcements”. According to French media, he may raise the minimum wage and pensions, and  introduce a tax-free bonus for workers on low incomes.   The “yellow-vest” movement, which takes its name from the high-visibility jackets worn by demonstrators, began as a  protest against fuel tax increases four weeks ago. It has since widened to encompass a range of demands such as 40-per-cent increases in the minimum wage and benefits, and the re-introduction of a wealth tax on high earners, scrapped by Mr Macron as part of a drive to promote investment. French intelligence is investigating claims that the movement, which began on social media, spread with the help of Russian trolls. Hundreds of social media accounts linked to Russia allegedly played a role in spreading disinformation, but officials said no evidence of Russian state involvement had been uncovered so far.



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Fox News Contributor: Trump 'Likely To Be Indicted' On Campaign Finance Violations

Fox News Contributor: Trump 'Likely To Be Indicted' On Campaign Finance ViolationsFox News contributor Andrew McCarthy has bad news for President Donald Trump:



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