Ghislaine Maxwell, Wall Street’s Secrets and the U.S. Attorney’s Office  

Jes Staley

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 7, 2020 ~  Outside of the Wall Street executives that did business with child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, his first lieutenant, Ghislaine Maxwell, knows more about his Wall Street secrets than any other living person. Maxwell was arrested and indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (part of the U.S. Justice Department) on July 2, less than two weeks after the head of that office, Geoffrey Berman, was abruptly fired from his job by Attorney General William Barr. Berman’s former Deputy, Audrey Strauss, conducted the press conference regarding the Maxwell arrest. (See video below.) We immediately noticed a peculiarity about the indictment document provided by Strauss. It covered only a brief 4-year period, running from 1994 through 1997. One of the main accusers of Maxwell, Virginia (Roberts) Giuffre, has credibly indicated in previous court filings that Epstein … Continue reading

Top Men at Justice Department with Final Say on Goldman Sachs Felony Charges Got Big Payouts from Kirkland & Ellis – Goldman’s Law Firm

U.S. Attorney General William Barr

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 6, 2020 ~ Three of the top men at the U.S. Department of Justice who have been involved in negotiations as to whether Goldman Sachs, for the first time in its history, will be charged with a criminal felony and hit with a multi-billion dollar fine, received large sums of money from the law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, before joining the Trump administration.  Kirkland & Ellis is the law firm defending Goldman Sachs in the criminal case. The top dog at the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr, worked as “Of Counsel” to Kirkland & Ellis prior to joining the Justice Department. Barr’s financial disclosure form shows that Kirkland & Ellis paid him $1,188,257 and a $50,000 bonus for 2018. In addition to the money from Kirkland & Ellis, Barr made another $2.6 million in fees and from cashing out stock options for … Continue reading

Citigroup Has Made a Sap of the Fed: It’s Borrowing at 0.35 % from the Fed While Charging Struggling Consumers 27.4 % on Credit Cards

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 2, 2020 ~ The first thing you need to know about Citibank and its parent, Citigroup, is that they have an extensive rap sheet. (See here). The second thing you need to know is that Citigroup is a serial predator that perpetually promises its regulators that it’s going to reform, but never does. The third thing you need to know is that Citigroup has made a sap out of the Federal Reserve – not once, but twice. During the last financial crisis of 2007 to 2010, Citigroup somehow induced the Fed to secretly give it $2.5 trillion cumulatively in below-market rate loans for 2-1/2 years to prop up its sinking carcass. Citi got the cheap loans (often at below one-half of one percent) and then went right on charging its struggling credit card customers high double-digit interest rates. Citi played a major role … Continue reading

Powell and Mnuchin Agree to Work with a Proposed “Department of Reconciliation” to Deal with Effects of Slavery and Segregation

Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 1, 2020 ~ Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin apparently fear unleashing more angry protesters across the country screaming “no justice, no peace” into an air increasingly filled with COVID-19 droplets, more than they fear Trump Tweeting reprisals against them in the wee hours of the morning. Both Powell and Mnuchin raised their hands yesterday during the House Financial Services Committee hearing to agree to work with a proposed Department of Reconciliation to deal with the country’s history of slavery, segregation and ongoing “invidious discrimination” of people of color. The hearing had been called by the Chair of the Committee, Maxine Waters, to take testimony on “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.” That topic was frequently framed around questions of racial discrimination and inequality. The raised hands from Powell and Mnuchin came in response to questioning … Continue reading

Has the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan Been Outsourced to Wall Street’s Law Firms?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 30, 2020 ~ On May 2 of last year, the Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote a decision finding that the U.S. Department of Justice had outsourced a criminal investigation to the target of the investigation – Deutsche Bank – and Deutsche Bank’s outside law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. (Paul Weiss is a big defender of alleged crimes by Wall Street banks, particularly those of Citigroup.) A larger, more critically important question would be: has the U.S. Department of Justice outsourced the entire U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to Wall Street’s favorite law firms? No matter how many times the New York Times tells its readers that the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York is known for its “independence,” the cold, hard facts … Continue reading

10 Key Questions House Reps Should Ask Powell and Mnuchin Tomorrow

Bank Logos (Thumbnail)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 29, 2020 ~ Tomorrow, June 30, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing beginning at 12:30 p.m. titled “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.” Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are scheduled as witnesses. A good number of Democrats on this Committee – such as Maxine Waters (the Chair), Katie Porter, Bill Foster, Brad Sherman, Carolyn Maloney, Madeleine Dean, Sylvia Garcia, and Ayanna Pressley – have no problem fashioning probing questions that benefit the American people’s right to know if government is showing proper stewardship of the people’s money. But Republicans can’t seem to craft a meaningful question, opting instead to simply heap praise on Powell and Mnuchin for the bailout and simultaneous deregulation of Wall Street. Wall Street On Parade is nothing if not charitable. We want to help out the Republicans on … Continue reading

Fed Launches Corporate Bond Buying Program, Gobbling Up Fossil Fuels and Tobacco Bonds

cigarette burning

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 28, 2020 ~ Taxpayers’ money under the CARES Act is going up in smoke — literally. As of today, there are more than 32,000 people in the United States hospitalized with COVID-19, with thousands struggling to breathe from a virus that attacks the respiratory system as well as other parts of the body. So what has the Federal Reserve decided to do to help out during this national health crisis? It’s propping up the prices of the bonds issued by fossil fuel corporations and Big Tobacco – two serial polluters of the air we breathe. The Fed decided to release its first list of individual corporate bond purchases in its Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility today – on Sunday – when folks are out taking a walk with face masks in an effort to avoid dangerous particles in the air. The same Fed … Continue reading

Fed’s Stress Tests Results Based on GDP Decline of 8.5 Percent; Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow Forecast Says GDP Will Decline by 46.6 Percent

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 26, 2020 ~ Yesterday the Federal Reserve released its highly awaited stress tests on the biggest and most dangerous banks in America. The stress test results fill an 83-page document with dozens of charts showing what would happen to the banks under a hypothetical “severely adverse scenario.” This scenario, unfortunately, was previously prepared and pales in comparison to the actual economic damage rendered by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the severely adverse scenario for this year’s stress tests imagined the U.S. unemployment rate climbing to a peak of 10 percent in the third quarter of 2021. The unemployment rate is currently 13.3 percent. But far more frightening, the Fed’s severely adverse scenario for GDP imagined a decline of “8½ percent from its pre-recession peak, reaching a trough in the third quarter of 2021.” As of yesterday, June 25, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate … Continue reading

Democrats Drill Down at Hearing on When and How Clayton Got the Nod from President Trump for Federal Prosecutor Role

Jay Clayton

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 25, 2020 ~ The Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee convened a hearing today on capital markets with the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton. The hearing had been scheduled prior to last Friday evening’s abrupt and controversial sacking of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, by Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump. A statement released by Barr on Friday night stated that the President would be nominating Clayton to fill the post. Clayton has no prior experience as a prosecutor and would be taking over one of the most important federal prosecutor’s offices in the country. That office currently has ongoing investigations of Deutsche Bank, the President’s longstanding business lender; the President’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates; and potentially Wall Street cases being … Continue reading

Bloomberg Drops a Bombshell on the Fed’s Big Bank Stress Tests Set for Release Today

Federal Reserve Building, Washington, D.C.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 25, 2020 ~ The Federal Reserve will release the results of its stress tests on the biggest and most dangerous banks at 4:30 p.m. today. But the potential results of those tests played a negative role in the stock market’s performance yesterday. The Dow’s drop of 710 points yesterday can be ascribed to two things: the alarming news reports that COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in the second and third most populous states in the U.S. – Texas and Florida; and a bombshell report from Bloomberg News released at 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning. The Bloomberg article, by Lisa Lee and Shahien Nasiripour, cast the Federal Reserve in an unfavorable light over its failure to halt dividend payments at the biggest Wall Street banks, something that European bank regulators have done during the pandemic crisis. Eight of the largest U.S. banks announced in unison on Sunday, … Continue reading

Why Did Jay Clayton Want the Job as Federal Prosecutor for Wall Street? House Subcommittee Will Get First Shot at Asking Him Tomorrow.

SEC Chair Jay Clayton

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 24, 2020 ~ There has been surprisingly little attention paid to the fact that members of a House hearing scheduled for tomorrow will get the first shot at asking SEC Chair Jay Clayton the question that is on everyone’s minds: why he didn’t want to return to his highly compensated job at the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell (where he had previously spent more than two decades of his life) but wanted instead to become the U.S. Attorney (federal prosecutor) for the Southern District of New York – a job for which he lacked one scintilla of prosecutorial experience.  In fact, Clayton wanted that job so badly that he was willing to have U.S. Attorney General William Barr oust the sitting U.S. Attorney in that district, Geoffrey Berman, late last Friday night in order to open the slot for Clayton. … Continue reading

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman’s Ouster: The Untold Story

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 23, 2020 ~ There’s something unsettling about the top law enforcement officer in the United States telling a brazen lie to the American people late on a Friday night when most folks have called it quits for the week on the news. Shortly after 9 p.m. last Friday evening, the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, released a statement indicating that the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, was “stepping down.” In his place, Barr said this: “I am pleased to announce that President Trump intends to nominate Jay Clayton, currently the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to serve as the next United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.” Two hours later, Geoffrey Berman released his own statement indicating that William Barr had just told a brazen lie to the American people. Berman’s statement … Continue reading

$340 Billion of the $454 Billion that Mnuchin Was to Turn Over to the Fed is Unaccounted For

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 22, 2020 ~ President Donald Trump has been sacking federal watchdogs at the speed of a bullet train. In just a six-week period in April and May, the President fired five Inspectors General of federal agencies. In last Friday night’s coup d’état, Attorney General William Barr, acting as consigliere for the President, ousted the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the federal prosecutor that oversees prosecutions of Wall Street banks in that district. The privately owned Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is in charge of the bulk of the Fed’s bailout programs, also resides in that district. Barr and the President want to put a man with zero experience as a prosecutor in charge of that office, Jay Clayton, who currently heads the Securities and Exchange Commission which has only civil enforcement powers. Clayton represented 8 of the … Continue reading

As Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Face Criminal Probes, Barr Fires Top Prosecutor; Tries to Replace Him with Banks’ Former Lawyer, Jay Clayton

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 20, 2020 ~ Shortly after 9 p.m. last evening, the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, stunned prosecutors in the Southern District of New York with the announcement that their boss, Geoffrey Berman, was stepping down as U.S. Attorney in that District and would be replaced with the sitting Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, who lacks even a shred of criminal prosecution experience. What Clayton does have is a lot of experience representing Wall Street’s largest banks, like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, both of whom are currently under intense criminal investigations by the Justice Department. Clayton was a former partner at Wall Street’s go-to law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, which is currently representing Goldman in the criminal case and representing JPMorgan in various matters. The breaking news last night went downhill from there. Several hours after Barr’s announcement, Berman … Continue reading

Wall Street Veterans Call Out the Fed for Creating a Dangerous Stock Market Bubble

Sven Hendrich of Northman Trader

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 18, 2020 ~ As corporate-friendly Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee engaged in effusive praise at hearings this week over the efforts of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to quickly establish a plethora of corporate bailout facilities, the voices of Wall Street veterans have struck a different chord. These long-term market watchers are warning that the Fed has created an unprecedented stock market bubble that is destined to end badly. Earlier this week, CNBC anchor Melissa Lee interviewed Sven Henrich, the Lead Market Strategist at Northman Trader. Henrich savaged the Fed’s recent interventions in the market, stating the following: “The Fed really has created a massive asset bubble here in the last few months. The lender of last resort has become the lender of the entire resort. And no red line shall remain uncrossed. “The Fed has basically … Continue reading

If the Fed Is Being Honest that Citigroup is Well Capitalized, Why Did It Need $3 Billion from the Fed’s Paycheck Protection Program?

Fed Chair Jerome Powell

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 18, 2020 ~ There is fresh evidence that Citigroup, the mega Wall Street bank that was insolvent but still illegally propped up by the Fed during the last financial crisis (to the tune of $2.5 trillion cumulatively in secret loans for two and one-half years) is back to drinking at the Fed’s trough. The Fed has set up a program called the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF). That Fed program is reimbursing small banks for the small business loans that they made under the Paycheck Protection Program which was established by Congress in the CARES Act and being overseen by the Small Business Administration (SBA). According to the Fed, the idea is to reimburse these banks around the country for the PPP loans so that they can make fresh loans to other struggling consumers and businesses. The banks simply post the PPP … Continue reading

The Fed’s Paycheck Protection Program Gave a Tiny NJ Bank $5.3 Billion – 9 Percent of all the Money It’s Spent Thus Far

Gilles Gade, Chairman and CEO Cross River Bank

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 17, 2020 ~ The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was authorized by Congress under the CARES Act and is being overseen by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The goal of the PPP program is to make 1 percent interest loans to small businesses experiencing hardship from the coronavirus crisis and then forgive the loans if the businesses keep their employees on the payroll. Even though the loans are guaranteed against losses by the SBA, the Federal Reserve launched its own program, called the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility, to reimburse lenders who make these loans. So far, the Fed has reimbursed $57 billion of these loans as of June 10, out of total loans approved by the SBA of more than $500 billion. The odd thing about those Fed reimbursements is that a stunning $5.3 billion in reimbursements, or 9 percent of the $57 … Continue reading

Dirty Details Emerge as to Why Mnuchin Is Fighting Congress Over Releasing the Names of Recipients of PPP Loans

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (Thumb Print)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 16, 2020 ~ Taxpayers’ money is being used to make the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Thus, the public has every right to know the names of the recipients of those loans. Despite originally promising transparency, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is now stonewalling Congress on releasing a list of the recipients. Congress sold the plan to the public on the basis that the loans would go to small businesses with less than 500 employees. The funds were to be predominantly used to keep workers employed and allow the businesses to survive the coronavirus shutdowns. Instead, our search of filings at the Securities and Exchange Commission reveals that dozens of debt zombie companies that trade on Nasdaq got the loans. Dozens of publicly-traded companies with large credit lines from banks got the loans. Dozens of companies with a lot more than 500 employees … Continue reading

The Federal Reserve Has Its Own Police and Is Part of a Vast Surveillance Center – Should You Worry?

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 15, 2020 ~ Without any Congressional hearings on the matter, the USA Patriot Act in 2001 bestowed on the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks domestic policing powers. While the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. is deemed an “independent federal agency,” with its Chair and Governors appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the 12 regional Fed banks are private corporations owned by the member banks in their region. As settled law under John L. Lewis v. United States confirms: “Each Federal Reserve Bank is a separate corporation owned by commercial banks in its region.” In the case of the New York Fed, which is located in the Wall Street area of Manhattan, its largest shareowners are behemoth multinational banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. So what the USA Patriot Act effectively did was to … Continue reading

Wall Street Banks Tank One Day After Fed Chair Says They’re “a Source of Strength”

New York Stock Exchange

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 12, 2020 ~ Every major Wall Street bank tanked yesterday. Citigroup fared the worst, losing 13.37 percent of its market value versus a broader market decline of 5.89 percent on the S&P 500 Index. Bank of America didn’t look like much of a source of strength either, losing 10.04 percent on the day. The largest bank in the country, JPMorgan Chase, whose CEO, Jamie Dimon, perpetually brags about its “fortress balance sheet,” lost 8.34 percent. For a close look at what’s hiding in the tall weeds behind that fortress, see here. Just the afternoon before this bank carnage, this is what the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, had to say in his press conference about the U.S. banking system (which, of course, the Fed has been in charge of supervising in order to prevent another catastrophic blowup as occurred in 2008): … Continue reading

Fed Chair Powell Attempts to Blame U.S. Inequality on Globalization – Gets Smacked Down by Bloomberg Reporter

Michael McKee, Bloomberg TV

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 11, 2020 ~ Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conferences are typically snooze sessions. Yesterday’s virtual press conference got off to a similar start with mainstream media reporters asking about inflation and monetary policy instead of the more critical questions they should have been asking in the midst of the worst labor market and business closures since the Great Depression and food pantry lines that stretch for blocks. Fortunately, two reporters shook things up at the very end of the press conference. Nancy Marshall-Genzer of Marketplace, which airs on public media stations, bluntly asked Powell this: “Is there more the Fed could do to deal with inequality, for example, use the Black unemployment rate as a benchmark.” Powell’s answer was an abomination. First Powell stated that inequality is not related to monetary policy. Next, he decided to target a more specific villain – … Continue reading

The Fed Just Pulled Off Another Backdoor Bailout of Wall Street

Wall Street Bank Logos

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 10, 2020 ~ The Federal Reserve has authorized 11 financial bailout programs thus far. Despite Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s reassurances at his press conferences that these programs are to help American families, a full 10 of these programs are actually bailouts of Wall Street banks or their trading units. The latest Wall Street bank bailout to come out of hiding is the Fed’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF). This program was supposed to buy up corporate bonds in the secondary market in order to help corporate bond markets regain liquidity. Thus far, the only thing the SMCCF has bought up are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) holding investment grade and junk-rated bonds. The SMCCF program began operations on May 12. By May 18 the Fed had spent $1.58 billion buying up ETFs. The ultimate goal of the facility, at this point, is to … Continue reading

Fed’s Repo Loans to Wall Street Skyrocket by 230 Percent Week Over Week

Fed Repo Loans Over Past Five Weeks (Thumbprint)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 9, 2020 ~ The Federal Reserve is desperately hoping that the pandemic, the coast-to-coast protests and the military generals’ scathing rebuke of the President’s plan to “dominate” grannies and college kids with bayonets and Black Hawk helicopters in the streets would distract the public from its money-feeding tube to Wall Street. Unfortunately for the Fed, Americans can multitask. Between Monday and Friday of last week, the Fed made $304.20 billion in repo loans to Wall Street’s trading houses. That was 230 percent of what it made the week before and 700 percent of what it loaned the week before that. (See chart above.) This would suggest that the liquidity crisis is heating up and/or that it’s taking ever larger amounts to levitate the stock market as sellers come back in. The Fed has gone completely bonkers when it comes to its money spigot … Continue reading

Investors Were Being Blocked from Fund Withdrawals Months Before the Pandemic

Piggy Bank Thumbnail

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 8, 2020 ~ Wall Street On Parade has previously written that a financial crisis was already well under way before the first case of COVID-19 was reported anywhere in the world. This should matter greatly to Americans because the Federal Reserve is attempting to blame the financial crisis on the virus to avoid Congressional investigations of its second epic failure in a dozen years at regulating the behemoth Wall Street banks. America needs a comprehensive investigation of what really triggered this financial crisis in order to restructure the U.S. financial system away from a casino culture into one that doesn’t regularly need massive Federal Reserve and government bailouts. These bailouts are piling more and more debt on the shoulders of taxpayers and becoming a crushing drag on the U.S. economy, notwithstanding Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s dismissive remark to Congress that we’ll worry about … Continue reading

BlackRock Authored the Bailout Plan Before There Was a Crisis – Now It’s Been Hired by three Central Banks to Implement the Plan

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 5, 2020 ~ It’s called “Going Direct.” That’s the financial bailout plan designed and authored by former central bankers now on the payroll at BlackRock, an  investment manager of $7 trillion in stock and bond funds. The plan was rolled out in August 2019 at the G7 summit of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – months before the public was aware of any financial crisis. One month later, on September 17, 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve would begin an emergency repo loan bailout program, making hundreds of billions of dollars a week in loans by “going direct” to the trading houses on Wall Street. The BlackRock plan calls for blurring the lines between government fiscal policy and central bank monetary policy – exactly what the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve are doing today in the United States. BlackRock has now been … Continue reading