The LME Boss Has a Plan to Catch the Next Big Short

May 16, 2022

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

It is another grim Monday as I have to share the passing of longtime industry attorney Carl Gilmore. Carl was found dead at his home in Michigan on Sunday, according to his friend and former colleague Chuck Bohm. Carl was the president of Integritas Financial Consulting, an industry thought leader and an “industry executive with twenty-five years of futures commission merchant and broker-dealer international, operational, legal, compliance, client-facing, executive and risk management experience.”

Carl was also an Eagle Scout and a friend, loyal reader of JLN, occasional guest editor and sponsor of MarketsWiki. I am just crushed by his death. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues on his passing.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Australian Securities Exchange for the fourth time has delayed the deadline for the long-awaited blockchain-based replacement of its clearing system. The CHESS platform seems to be caught in a stalemate.

The CFTC announced it had settled the seven-year market manipulation and attempted manipulation of the prices of cash wheat and wheat futures against Kraft and Mondelez for $16 million that includes an injunction. This was a controversial case that from my perspective has to be considered a loss for the CFTC. The $16 million, while still $16 million, is just a percentage of the ongoing legal costs for Kraft and Mondelez. Likewise, despite the claim of market manipulation, there is no great explanation of exactly how that manipulation was perpetrated. That would be very valuable information for the markets to help them understand where the lines of market participation are in the eyes of the regulator. Despite the CFTC assigning some very talented people to this case, it was all a folly.

Kiara Taylor of Investopedia has a story titled “Best Programs Improving Diversity and Inclusion in Financial Services; Adding underrepresented groups raises the industry to higher levels” that lists the Greenwood Project among their best programs, and we could not agree more.

One of the uniquely western images from Russia of the last 30 years has been the golden arches in Moscow and other Russian cities where Russian citizens could line up and buy a “Big Mac.” Well those golden arches are coming down as McDonalds is pulling out of Russia and pulling up for sale its network of stores there, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported.

The French automaker Renault, who had a stake in the Russian company Avtovaz, which is the manufacturer of Russia’s most popular selling Lada cars, sold its stake for two roubles. The deal does include an option for a buyback for six years, but otherwise Renault is walking away from its Russian business, the FT reported.

John Dizard wrote his last regular column for the Financial Times after 21 years, and the title of the column is “Where the next financial crisis could come from; Private equity has become a group of self-dealing oligarchs, as I write my last regular column for the FT.” Of course, former FT writers are often asked back to write special columns or stories from time to time, but this is still an important moment for a thoughtful and talented writer.

Elena Patimova is starting a new position in London as director of derivatives sales for Cboe Global Markets, covering equity derivatives buy-side and sell-side clients globally. She was previously with SGX.

It is good to be part of the senior staff of Goldman Sachs. Forget the work from home. Partners and managing directors can take as much time off as they want, “without a fixed vacation day entitlement,” Bloomberg reported.

Don’t forget to register for Eurex’s Derivatives Forum 2022 on May 24 and 25. It is an in-person and virtual event not to be missed. More details and registration links are HERE.

My favorite part of the Options Conference was not the 17 interviews we shot, the great work of the JLN team or the beautiful La Cantera Resort. It was the briefing I received while in the pool from Greenwood Project Executive Director Bevon Joseph about the success of the program and the impact it is having. There is even a study being conducted by one of the big consulting groups about the impact of the program. He and the entire organization are doing incredible work. He is a tireless advocate for Greenwood Project and black and Latinx youth who are under-represented in the financial services industry.

My church in Elmhurst is looking for a video production intern to livestream our Sunday worship services. We are also looking for some college accounting majors to help with an internal audit of the church books. If you know of any students in the Chicago area that are looking for summer employment opportunities, please contact me.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL

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OpenFin CEO Mazy Dar Talks Fintech – From Apps and Smart Phones to Cloud Adoption
JohnLothianNews.com

JLN interviewed Mazy Dar, the CEO of OpenFin, at FIA Boca 2022 about the influence of apps in the future of work, the move toward fewer screens for work from home, and acquisitions.

Watch the video »

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FIA’s International Derivatives Expo is returning to The Brewery in London this coming 6-8 June. Standing still is not an option in today’s evolving cleared derivatives environment. Without adapting to new products, processes, technologies and regulations, your business won’t meet the needs of tomorrow’s industry. We’re bringing together industry leaders, vendors and policymakers to discuss what’s “now” in derivatives, and what lies ahead. Sign up here.

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Crypto’s Wild Week Offers a Much-Needed Warning; This stuff isn’t ready for prime time.
The Editors – Bloomberg
It’s been a wild week in the world of crypto. Hundreds of billions of dollars in ephemeral wealth evaporated as the price of Bitcoin plunged to its lowest point since 2020, down more than 50% in about six months. The exchange Coinbase dropped to about a fifth of last year’s initial public offering price. An algorithmic stablecoin called TerraUSD, a digital token that purported to be worth a dollar, melted down along with the blind confidence it had relied on.
/jlne.ws/3MkgXkM

***** If any of the clearinghouses behind the regulated futures exchanges or the equities or options exchanges refused to tell where they kept their funds, they would be fined heavily or shut down. Any “stablecoin” that does this deserves zero credibility. Any of them.~JJL

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Boris Johnson says people should work in-person again because when he works from home he gets distracted by cheese
Azmi Haroun – Business Insider
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for Brits to return to work in-person because he is worried that they’d get distracted by cheese at home, according to the the Daily Mail. In an interview with the outlet, Johnson said he and others will “hack off a small piece of cheese” instead of staying focused.
/jlne.ws/3l8ybW7

****** Mr. Johnson seems to be a little more crackers every day.~JJL

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The joy of living off the clock; Being liberated from a rigid schedule allows ideas and relationships to flourish
Enuma Okoro – FT
For the next few months in New York, we’re going to have daylight until 8pm. As the sun stays out longer and the days get warmer, there’s a playful and slightly reckless charge to the air. Summer is coming, and one can’t help but feel a little giddy, as though the season could still bring with it the old childhood possibility of endless days to fill. Those weeks and months when there was no worry about things that needed to be done, or places we needed to be.
/jlne.ws/3PnJgkk

****** Will this be the summer of innovation and risk taking? ~JJL

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A Crypto Emperor’s Vision: No Pants, His Rules; Sam Bankman-Fried is a studiously disheveled billionaire who made a fortune overseeing trades that are too risky for the U.S. market. Now he wants Washington to follow his lead.
David Yaffe-Bellany – NY Times
The crypto executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who rose to fame by building a $40 billion business in less than three years, stood in the wings at the Baha Mar convention center, wearing his usual schlubby ensemble of shorts and a T-shirt. He was about to take the stage with Anthony Scaramucci, a former White House communications director who rose to fame by losing that job in less than two weeks. They were talking about other famous people. A couple of days earlier, Mr. Bankman-Fried had been shooting Twitter videos with Tom Brady, the N.F.L. quarterback. “Brady was awesome,” Mr. Bankman-Fried said. “Maybe we’ll buy a football team together some day.” The Mooch put a fatherly hand on Mr. Bankman-Fried’s shoulder. “You couldn’t get a better guy,” he agreed.
/jlne.ws/39RL8kQ

****** I think the whole go to the Bahamas and interview Sam Bankman-Fried is a journalistic scam. It seems every big paper has to send a journalist to make this trek for this interview. Then again, the Bahamas does sound like a nice place to visit. ~JJL

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Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was FTX’s Bankman-Fried and CME’s Duffy square off on crypto futures in Capitol Hill hearing, from MarketWatch. Second was the lurid title Crypto’s Chainsaw Massacre Bloodies Digital Exchanges, an opinion piece in Bloomberg. And third was again on crypto and Sam Bankman-Fried, US Congress questions industry on merits and risks of FTX’s non-intermediated model, from FIA MarketVoice.

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MarketsWiki Stats
26,832 pages; 238,502 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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Lead Stories

The LME Boss Has a Plan to Catch the Next Big Short; Proposal marks the first major move to expand visibility of global commodity markets after wild price swings spooked regulators.
Mark Burton – Bloomberg
The London Metal Exchange’s demand for details of private deals between its members and their clients marks a line in the sand by chief Matthew Chamberlain, as he seeks to repair the market’s reputation and avoid a repeat of this year’s nickel-market chaos. Yet it’s likely to reverberate far beyond the metals world. The LME’s proposal represents the first major move to increase oversight of global commodity markets as wild price swings following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine leave regulators increasingly uneasy. There’s a growing worry about the risks hidden in opaque corners of the trade in natural resources — and the vast ecosystem of privately negotiated over-the-counter derivatives deals is a prime example.
/jlne.ws/3Lgxnt5

Whereabouts of Terra’s Bitcoin Reserve a Mystery After Transfers; Bitcoin moved to accounts on Gemini, Binance, Elliptic says; Researcher wasn’t able to track tokens after move to exchanges
Dave Liedtka – Bloomberg
The $3.5 billion in Bitcoin purchased as a reserve by the foundation set up by the creators of the failed Terra blockchain became untraceable after it was moved to two cryptocurrency platforms, according to blockchain forensics firm Elliptic. What happened to the cryptocurrency held in reserve may become a key question if investors seek to recoup losses suffered in the wake of the collapse of the blockchain. Between January and March, the Luna Foundation Guard, or LFG, bought $3.5 billion of Bitcoin, Elliptic said, according to its blockchain analytics tracking tools.
/jlne.ws/39Wz0Pz

Wheat prices rise almost 6% as India export ban shakes markets; Chicago futures hit limit after New Delhi curbed shipments to combat surging food prices
Hudson Lockett and Nic Fildes – FT
Wheat prices rose by the maximum amount allowed on Monday after India imposed a ban on exports, stoking pressure on food costs as tight global supplies roiled international markets. Futures traded in Chicago rose as much as 5.9 per cent to $12.47 a bushel, their highest level in two months. Wheat prices have risen more than 60 per cent this year, driven up by disruption from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The two European countries account for almost a third of the world’s wheat exports.
/jlne.ws/3NbY4Aq

The mystery of the mogul, the casino and the heist that rocked Mayfair; The Park Lane Club was supposed to fulfil Vasilijs Melniks’ fantasy. Instead it became his torment
Miles Johnson – FT
Just before 10am on a rainy June morning, a lone man wearing a black balaclava and a blue boiler suit approached the brass-plated entrance of the Park Lane Club in London. The man carried a dark bag up the marble and gold-fronted staircase inside and barged into the casino’s reception area. When a chauffeur who was waiting at the front desk began to shout at him, the intruder paused, making a silent but unmistakable gesture with his hand: he was armed, and this was a robbery.
/jlne.ws/3woJr67

G7 warns of global hunger crisis unless Russia lifts Ukraine blockade; German foreign minister says alternative export routes are urgently needed as wheat price soars
Guy Chazan – FT
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said the G7 group of industrialised nations was urgently seeking alternative routes for the export of Ukrainian grain as Russia’s war against its western neighbour raised the risk of a global “hunger crisis”. Speaking at the conclusion of a three-day meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Germany, Baerbock said some 25mn tonnes of grain were stuck in Ukrainian ports that were being blockaded by Russian forces — “grain that the world urgently needs”.
/jlne.ws/3MlnLhX

India bans wheat exports as heat wave hurts crop, domestic prices soar
Rajendra Jadhav, Mayank Bhardwaj and Nigam Prusty – Reuters
India banned wheat exports on Saturday days after saying it was targeting record shipments this year, as a scorching heat wave curtailed output and domestic prices hit a record high. The government said it would still allow exports backed by already issued letters of credit and to countries that request supplies “to meet their food security needs”. The move to ban overseas shipments was not in perpetuity and could be revised, senior government officials told a press conference.
/jlne.ws/3Lhn08p

‘More disappointment’: ASX’s key technology project delayed again
Charlotte Grieve – The Sydney Morning Herald
The Australian Securities Exchange has once again delayed the launch of its long-awaited technology overhaul, scrapping the deadline for the fourth time and casting doubt over the future of the milestone project. The ASX was set to launch the CHESS replacement program in April 2023, but the bourse on Wednesday said this was “no longer viable”. The program has been promoted as using blockchain technology to improve core trading services.
/jlne.ws/39Wxvkp

Stablecoins need to be tethered by real-world rules; Shocks to the cryptosphere’s vital cog can reverberate to financial markets
The editorial board – FT
When America’s oldest money-market fund “broke the buck” in 2008, it was a key moment of the financial crisis. The Reserve Primary Fund had to break its promise to return $1 for every share to its investors in the wake of Lehman Brothers’ landmark bankruptcy. Retail investors soon found out that banklike stability pledged by such funds did not mean banklike protection. Stricter regulations as to what money-market funds could invest in ensued. Something just as existential may be happening in the $1.3tn crypto market.
/jlne.ws/3wdIEGj

Terra $45 Billion Face Plant Creates Crowd of Crypto Losers; VC firms, investors and startups are among the casualties; The market downturn could chill white-hot valuations in crypto
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
This week’s undoing of the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin and its sister token Luna has ramifications for all of crypto. First, there’s the immediate impact: The rapid collapse of a once-popular pair of cryptocurrencies sent a ripple effect across the industry, contributing to plummeting coin prices that wiped hundreds of billions of market value from the digital-asset market and stoked worries over the potential fragility of digital-asset ventures.
/jlne.ws/3NioFMc

The crypto shake-out shows boring is back; Disrupters of the global financial system have been disrupted as the Fed removes punch bowl of stimulus
Katie Martin – FT
When Coinbase first listed on public stock markets last year, it was quite the moment for the crypto exchange itself and for the digital assets industry more broadly — the moment crypto was allowed behind the velvet rope and into the Wall Street establishment. No matter that the company’s own regulatory filings said it was reliant on a small number of customers, nor that it said employees “generally do not maintain the same compliance customs and rules as financial services firms”. It was effectively a case of “shut up and take my money”. The listing delivered Coinbase a market capitalisation of $65bn, at the time on a par with the value of Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange itself.
/jlne.ws/3wrxQmY

To Be Clear, Web3 Is Not Going Great; A chronicler of cryptocurrency’s failings on the lessons of a very painful week.
Nitish Pahwa – Slate
Who could have predicted this week’s crypto crashes, which torched the values of much-used digital currencies like Bitcoin and Luna, halted trade in various blockchain networks, and wiped out some everyday users’ life savings? Well, if you ask observers who’ve long been wary of cryptocurrencies’ promises, it was all only a matter of time. One of the most prominent skeptics these days is Molly White, a software developer who started the blog Web3 Is Going Just Great last December as a “personal project.”
/jlne.ws/3LdPKid

Best Programs Improving Diversity and Inclusion in Financial Services; Adding underrepresented groups raises the industry to higher levels
Kiara Taylor – Investopedia
The financial services industry has a major problem with diversity. Despite decades of campaigning and the many programs aimed at making financial services companies more diverse, most boardrooms remain overwhelmingly White and male. Diversity in the financial services industry is of vital importance. After all, diversity in priorities and viewpoints can be beneficial to a company’s well-being. Here’s a look at programs that encourage women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups to make careers in financial services.
/jlne.ws/3Ll3pEa

The trillions of dollars bypassing black-run funds; Lack of allocations poses ‘huge problem’ of inequality for the industry, warns investor John Rogers
Madison Darbyshire – FT
Investment allocations to ethnically diverse managers are still lagging far behind their white counterparts, as racial bias and outdated practices persist in the US fund industry, says John Rogers, founder of $17.8bn fund Ariel Investments. “People are used to thinking of minorities as experts in music or athletics, but not as mutual fund managers or investment bankers,” Rogers, the founder of the first black-owned asset manager in the US, told the Financial Times.
/jlne.ws/3FQo95J

Bonuses are outdated in the age of knowledge work; Paying people to meet targets is not always effective — and can even backfire
Pilita Clark – FT
If you had to guess, how much do you think the average Wall Street bonus rose last year. Five per cent? Ten per cent? Try a 20 per cent rise to $257,500, well above the 7 per cent annual inflation rate eating into ordinary workers’ wage gains and the highest average sum since the 2008 financial crash. It is not much different elsewhere. In the UK, a raft of companies are braced for protests against bonuses that have already irked investors in everything from the Ocado online grocery group to Standard Chartered bank.
/jlne.ws/39rg8b2

Russia learns a hard lesson about the folly of war; Great powers usually come off worse when they invade smaller countries
Gideon Rachman – FT
Vladimir Putin was not the only one who got it wrong. The Russian leader’s assumption that his armies would vanquish Ukraine within days was widely shared. The same western intelligence agencies that correctly predicted that Russia would invade Ukraine also believed that Putin would probably win a swift victory.
/jlne.ws/3wflOy4

The US Can’t Make Enough Fuel and There’s No Fix in Sight
Gerson Freitas Jr, Barbara J Powell and Chunzi Xu – Bloomberg
More than 1 million barrels a day of the country’s oil refining capacity — or about 5% overall — has shut since the beginning of the pandemic. Elsewhere in the world, capacity has shrunk by 2.13 million additional barrels a day, energy consultancy Turner, Mason & Co. estimates. And with no plans to bring new US plants online, even though refiners are reaping record profits, the supply squeeze is only going to get worse. “We are on the razor’s edge,” said John Auers, executive vice president at Turner, Mason & Co. in Dallas. “We’re ripe for a potential supply crisis.”
/jlne.ws/3Mji8AW

Treasury Warns Foreign Banks Against Helping Russia Evade Sanctions
Alan Rappeport and Emily Flitter – NY Times
The Biden administration is urging international banks not to help Russia evade sanctions, warning that firms risk losing access to markets in the United States and Europe if they support Russian businesses or oligarchs that are facing financial restrictions as a result of the war in Ukraine. The admonition by a senior Treasury official highlights U.S. efforts to exert pressure on the Russian economy through American financial power and underscores the broad view that the Biden administration is taking of its ability to enforce sanctions as it looks to isolate Russia from the global economy.
/jlne.ws/39ono7A

Treasury Targets Russia, Oligarchs as Part of Plan to Combat Illicit Finance; Continuing efforts to close regulatory loopholes related to shell companies and all-cash real-estate purchases are an important measure in combating corrupt Russian oligarchs, officials say
Dylan Tokar – WSJ
The U.S. Treasury Department outlined actions it plans to take to address illicit-finance risks, saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had underscored the need to close regulatory loopholes and step up the fight against corruption. The national strategy for combating illicit finance, released Friday, is the latest iteration of a report the Treasury produces every two years. But this year’s strategy might be among the most important it has produced, Treasury officials said, given Russia’s aggression against its neighbor. “Illicit finance is a major national-security threat and nowhere is that more apparent than in Russia’s war against Ukraine, supported by decades of corruption by Russian elites,” said U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Rosenberg.
/jlne.ws/3MmKsT8

Where the next financial crisis could come from; Private equity has become a group of self-dealing oligarchs, as I write my last regular column for the FT
John Dizard – FT
After 21 years of writing my weekly column for the FT, I have decided to move on. When I started in February 2001, Enron’s “smartest guys in the room” were on their way to the engineering the biggest crash of the young century. Now we’re headed into yet another recession and I have the sense that the excesses of our time can only be resolved with another dramatic institutional failure. Not the big banks this time, at least not the big American banks. My guess is that we’ll see the unexpected failure of a private equity firm, sick with hidden leverage, and with no central bank willing to take sole responsibility for the mess.
/jlne.ws/38ySCc9

Why is Elon Musk really putting his Twitter deal ‘on hold’?; Tesla chief executive blames bots, but some think he is looking for a better deal — or an excuse to walk away
James Fontanella-Khan and Hannah Murphy – FT
Elon Musk cited bots when he declared the $44bn takeover of Twitter “temporarily on hold”, but not everyone is buying that explanation. The world’s richest man on Friday tweeted that he was pausing his bid as he awaited further information to confirm whether the social media company’s quarterly estimates of its fake accounts were accurate, sending Twitter shares falling and raising questions about what, exactly, Musk meant. Indeed, agreed transactions cannot be legally put on hold. Twitter’s lawyers are still working with Musk’s team to complete the deal, said one person familiar with the situation. The billionaire himself said he was still “committed to the acquisition”.
/jlne.ws/3wiw8Wa

Fund Managers Jump Into ESG Niche With Potential to Grow 2,000%; Schroders, Aviva and other UK asset managers seek to profit from demand for biodiversity-focused investment products.
Natasha White and Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Some of the UK’s biggest money managers are launching new funds and investment products aimed at generating profits from a long-overlooked corner of green finance: biodiversity. Aviva Plc has opened a natural-capital equity fund to invest in the likes of plant-based protein company Beyond Meat Inc. Jupiter Asset Management has added to its series of so-called ecology funds. Schroders Plc and Climate Asset Management, a joint venture between HSBC Global Asset Management and Pollination, are backing carbon-offset projects that offer biodiversity perks. And Gresham House is creating new so-called biodiversity net-gain credits.
/jlne.ws/3NbU8j2

Nomura prepares to launch crypto subsidiary; Japan’s largest investment bank is setting up unit with 100 staff by 2023
Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki – FT
Nomura is to launch a new company to help institutional clients diversify into cryptocurrency, decentralised finance and non-fungible tokens, despite a recent run of volatility in the crypto market that has raised fundamental questions over its safety for investors.
/jlne.ws/3wy5U0r

TradeTech: Is innovation at the Close heading in the wrong direction? Several speakers agreed the potential change to the length of the Close was in the wrong direction, considering previous attempts to shorten market hours.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
During a debate at the recent TradeTech 2022 in Paris, panellists expressed concerns that the extension of the Closing Auction should not be the focus for trading venues in the future. Panellists noted that the Close had evolved to include increased broker internalisation and participation from more sophisticated market makers. However, in light of the growing focus on the final few minutes of the day, panellists were divided in their views on how to innovate the Auction going forward.
/jlne.ws/3PhSgaB

Ukraine Invasion

Russian Invasion Intensifies Role of New U.S.-EU Tech Council; Forum set groundwork for two economies to jointly impose sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine war
Daniel Michaels and Yuka Hayashi – WSJ
A new forum for the U.S. and European Union to settle differences on trade and technology policy has taken on added significance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with supporters positioning it as a model for broader cooperation among free-market democracies. The U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council had its first meeting in Pittsburgh last fall, which participants said helped forge ties that proved critical when the two economies joined forces to impose sanctions on Russia following its Feb. 24 assault on Ukraine. Now, knowledge gained in preparing those sanctions will help shape the agenda for the TTC’s second meeting near Paris on Monday, said officials from both sides.
/jlne.ws/37MBnDR

Crimea could be Putin’s tipping point in a game of nuclear chicken; Any threat to the peninsula from Ukraine or its allies risks dangerous escalation
Malcolm Chalmers – FT
Avril Haines, US director of national intelligence, said last week she assessed the likelihood of nuclear conflict to be low, indicating that Vladimir Putin would probably only authorise the use of nuclear weapons if he perceived an existential threat to the Russian state. But what would qualify as an “existential threat”? Most obvious would be a direct clash of arms with the US. The past seven decades have seen multiple military interventions by both powers — from the Korean war through to the current war in Ukraine — often offset by large-scale weapons deliveries to the other’s opponents. But none of these wars have involved any direct combat between US and Soviet (now Russian) armed forces. This mutual restraint is one of the main reasons why no nuclear weapon has been used since 1945.
/jlne.ws/37Mlqxw

Ukraine asks G7 to step up arms supply, pressure on Russia
Frank Jordans – AP News
Ukraine’s foreign minister said Friday that his country is willing to engage in diplomatic talks with Russia to unblock grain supplies and to achieve a political solution to the war in Ukraine but won’t accept ultimatums from Moscow. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the Ukrainian government had received “no positive feedback” from Russia, which he alleged “prefers wars to talks.” “We are ready to talk, but we are ready for a meaningful conversation based on mutual respect, not on the Russian ultimatums thrown on the table,” Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven major economies.
/jlne.ws/3sDq6gh

G7 warn of Ukraine grain crisis, ask China not to aid Russia
Frank Jordans – AP News
The Group of Seven leading economies warned Saturday that the war in Ukraine is stoking a global food and energy crisis which threatens poor countries, and urgent measures are needed to unblock stores of grain that Russia is preventing from leaving Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who hosted a meeting of top G-7 diplomats, said the war had become a “global crisis.” She said up to 50 million people, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, would face hunger in the coming months unless ways are found to release Ukrainian grain, which accounts for a sizeable share of the worldwide supply.
/jlne.ws/3FLRxtS

The Russian bank, the Bruce Willis ad and the $900m sanctions battle; Ministers warned that millions owed after alleged fraud by ex bosses of National Bank Trust could help fund Putin’s war effort
Jon Ungoed-Thomas – The Guardian
In one of Russia’s most high-profile marketing campaigns, film star Bruce Willis appeared in cinematic advertisements with a car chase and a rooftop rescue, ending with the slogan, “Trust is just like me, but a bank.” The campaign for National Bank Trust in 2011 – which included cardboard cutouts of Willis popping up in 400 branches across Russia – was credited with raising the bank’s profile and boosting business. Ministers are now under pressure to impose sanctions on the bank over its efforts to recover hundreds of millions of pounds in debts from the UK.
/jlne.ws/3MpMQbO

Europe battles to secure steel following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; Higher costs loom amid disruption to imports from a major regional supplier
Sylvia Pfeifer – FT
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol was a major exporter, its steel used in landmark buildings such as the Shard in London. Today, the vast industrial complex is a symbol of Ukraine’s dogged resistance, bombarded by Russia as the last part of the city still in the hands of Ukrainian fighters. While Azovstal remains under intense assault, its owner Metinvest, the country’s largest steel producer, has managed to resume production elsewhere. These are the first steps towards restarting the country’s iron and steel industry, which — including supply-chain accounts — makes up nearly 10 per cent of gross domestic product and employs half a million people.
/jlne.ws/3wfTOds

Trail of Russian bodies and tanks mark path of their retreat from Kyiv
Reuters
Images: A destroyed Russian tank’s turret is seen stuck in the ground in Zalissia, Kyiv region, Ukraine. Ukrainian servicemen check the body of a Russian soldier inside a refrigerated rail car in Kyiv, Ukraine. A child stands on a destroyed Russian tank near Makariv, Kyiv region, Ukraine. A destroyed Russian military helicopter is seen at an airfield in the town of Hostomel, in Kyiv region, Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3wydeZY

Russia’s thwarted Ukraine river crossing was so bloody, pro-Russia war bloggers are publicly griping
Peter Weber – The Week
Russia’s thwarted attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in northeastern Ukraine last week “is emerging as among the deadliest engagements of the war, with estimates based on publicly available evidence now suggesting that well over 400 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded,” The New York Times reports. “And as the scale of what happened comes into sharper focus, the disaster appears to be breaking through the Kremlin’s tightly controlled information bubble.”
/jlne.ws/3a48KD4

Britain says Russia has lost a third of its forces in Ukraine
Reuters
Russia has probably lost around a third of the ground forces it deployed to Ukraine and its offensive in the Donbas region “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule”, British military intelligence said on Sunday.
/jlne.ws/3NiAn9O

Ukraine has deployed new U.S. howitzers at front lines – embassy
Reuters
Ukraine has deployed many of its new U.S. M-777 howitzers at the front lines and Washington has delivered all but one of the 90 artillery pieces they were due to send, the U.S. embassy in Kyiv said on Sunday.
/jlne.ws/3FPIAQ3

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

EBS Market Integration Notice: EBS Market and eFix on CME Globex Launch This Weekend
To EBS Customers
CME Group
EBS Market and eFix on CME Globex Launch This Weekend
This Sunday, May 15, 2022, EBS Market and eFix trading on CME Globex will launch. The current trading system will no longer be available.
/bit.ly/3NbTq5m

Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Decommissioning of FIX Gateway trading sessions in Production on 10 June 2022
Eurex
Dear Eurex Participant,
With this Newsflash, we would like to remind you that the availability of FIX Gateway 4.4 trading sessions in the Production environment will be terminated on 10 June 2022.
/bit.ly/3wxuMpc

HKEX expands charity partnership programme and invites applications
HKEX
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is today (Monday) pleased to announce HKEX Foundation will this year expand its Charity Partnership Programme (Programme), and invites applications from local charities.
/bit.ly/39rp93V

Discontinuation of the Eligibility of CCASS Stocks
HKEX
With effect from the below-mentioned effective dates, the following securities will cease to be Eligible Securities in CCASS following the withdrawal of listing on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. CCASS participants are therefore requested to note the following CCASS arrangements.
/bit.ly/3G3IKnn

Suspension of CCASS Services on 11 Jun, 18 Jun and 25 Jun 2022
(Saturdays)
HKEX
To facilitate internal system testing and upgrade activities, CCASS online services will be suspended on the following Saturdays: 11 Jun 2022; 18 Jun 2022; 25 Jun 2022.
/bit.ly/3wgHYQi

Extension of Trust Term and Additional Contribution to Stock-Granting ESOP Trust
JPX
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) has decided today that it will continue and make an additional monetary contribution to the incentive plan for employees of JPX and its subsidiaries, the “Stock-Granting Employee Stock Ownership Plan Trust” (hereinafter, the “ESOP Trust”), which was introduced in FY2016.
/bit.ly/3yAd07j

Additional Contribution to Stock-Granting Trust in Stock Compensation Plan for Executives
JPX
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) decided today at the meeting of its Compensation Committee that it will make an additional contribution to the stock-granting trust (hereinafter, the “Trust”) of the stock compensation plan for executives (meaning executive officers and those equivalent thereto, excluding persons such as outside directors, directors who are members of the Audit Committee, and auditors; hereinafter the same) of JPX and its subsidiaries that provide the core businesses of JPX Group (hereinafter, the “core subsidiaries”; JPX and the core subsidiaries are hereinafter collectively referred to as the “implementing companies”; and this plan shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Plan”).
/bit.ly/3a38sMR

“Technical Demonstration Project for Carbon Credit Market” commissioned by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
JPX
Japan Exchange Group,Inc. (“JPX”) has set “Promoting Sustainability that Connects Society and Economy” as one of the priority measures in its Medium-Term Management Plan 2024, and one of its initiatives is ” Contribution to the creation of a Japanese carbon credit market”.
/bit.ly/3wfhzCG

Brian Gaynor – a “titan” of NZ’s capital markets
NZ
On behalf of the wider New Zealand capital markets community, NZX today paid tribute to Brian Gaynor acknowledging his immense contribution to capital markets over nearly five decades.
“As one of the country’s leading investment analysts, Brian was a titan of New Zealand’s capital markets,” NZX Chair James Miller says.
/bit.ly/3yFkOVl

NSE IFSC – SGX Connect launch Negotiable Large Trades (NLT) from NSE IFSC
NSE
/jlne.ws/3FOrfHc

NSE Academy Limited collaborates with HDFC Mutual Fund for financial awareness programs
NSE
/jlne.ws/3FOrfHc

Nigerian Exchange Chief Executive Officer Temi Popoola Restates NGX Ambition To Provide A Platform For Issuers And Investors To Meet Their Financial And Investment Objectives
Mondovisione
Temi Popoola, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), has restated commitment of Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX) to provide a reliable, efficient and an adaptable exchange hub in Africa for investors and businesses, to save and to access capital. Popoola stated this while delivering his opening remarks at the 8th the edition of Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA) hosted by BusinessDay Media Limited in collaboration with NGX on Saturday, 14 May 2022 at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
/jlne.ws/3LiGkBW

Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange Closed for Victoria Day
TMX
Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange will be closed on Monday, May 23, 2022 for the Victoria Day holiday.
The Exchanges will re-open for regular trading on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
/bit.ly/3Lk7VTk

Fintech

At Tech Companies, the Rebellion Against the Return to the Office Is Getting Serious; Companies requiring in-person work are facing pushback. Those with looser policies find that flexibility makes recruitment easier. ‘I will find somewhere else to work.’
Katherine Bindley – WSJ
Some of the economy’s most in-demand employees are about to find out how much power they have over where and how they work. After months of return-to-work starts and stops, many tech companies, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., are telling remote workers it’s finally time to come back for good, or at least show up part of the week. Employees who fled the Bay Area and other high-cost tech hubs earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic—or who just prefer to work from home—now face hard choices: move back, try the super commute, or hold out for a concession or new job elsewhere.
/jlne.ws/3wuDIvz

Musk’s wild Twitter ride shows the power of private capital; Beneficiaries of the tech boom are becoming the real competitors to Wall Street
The editorial board – FT
Elon Musk’s tweet on Friday that he was putting his Twitter bid “on hold” highlighted the wild ride his proposed buyout has become, raising questions about whether it will go ahead. Either way, one striking feature has been Musk’s ability to tempt backers to step aboard — often with little due diligence. Just a week earlier he had secured $7bn-odd of new funding from assorted multibillionaires, venture capital funds, Saudi princes, crypto kings and sovereign wealth funds. He was able to halve the planned margin loan secured against his Tesla stake to $6.25bn — easing pressure on the car maker’s shares. Some involved in the process talk of text messages asking who was “in” for multimillion dollar sums, rather like parents holding a whipround for a school fete.
/jlne.ws/3MkESQW

Is Elon Musk Backing Away from Twitter?; Some early morning tweets fed into speculation that he could back out of the deal.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Vivian Giang, Stephen Gandel, Lauren Hirsch, Ephrat Livni, Jenny Gross, David F. Gallagher and Anna Schaverien – NY Times
Musk complicates matters: In the latest bomb in the Twitter takeover drama, Elon Musk tweeted this morning that his $44 billion bid was “temporarily on hold” until he could verify the company’s estimate that spam and fake accounts on its platform made up less than 5 percent of total users (that number is not new). About two hours later, Musk tweeted that he was still “committed” to the acquisition. Twitter shares had already fallen by 20 percent in premarket trading, while Tesla shares had jumped by 6 percent.
/jlne.ws/3Mcpl5L

What if Elon Musk’s Twitter Grab Is All ‘a Big Fugazi’?; CNBC contributor Dan Nathan joins the latest New Abnormal to explain why he thinks Musk has “used it as a big ruse, as an excuse to sell a lot of Tesla stock.”
The Daily Beast
“Despite being the richest man in the world,” Elon Musk doesn’t have enough cash to buy Twitter for $44 billion, podcaster and CNBC contributor Dan Nathan tells New Abnormal co-host Molly Jong-Fast, so he’s selling Tesla stock to get some of that cash in hand and then bringing in private equity and venture capital to cover the difference.
/jlne.ws/3Mcpd6h

Google Is Sharing Our Data at a Startling Scale; It transmits our locations and browsing habits 70 billion times a day to advertisers amid trillions a year by other firms, a new report shows.
Parmy Olson – Bloomberg
Along with the Pixel phones, watches and earbuds at Google’s annual showcase of software and devices last week came a pair of nifty-looking translation glasses. Put them on and real-time “subtitles” appear on the lenses as you watch a person speaking in a different language. Very cool. But the glasses aren’t commercially available. It’s also unlikely they will make anywhere near as much money as advertising does for Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc. Of the company’s $68 billion in total revenue from the quarter ending March 31, 2022, about $54 billion came from advertising.
/jlne.ws/3lbHbdd

Cybersecurity

Europe Agrees to Adopt New NIS2 Directive Aimed at Hardening Cybersecurity
Ravie Lakshmanan – The Hacker News
The European Parliament announced a “provisional agreement” aimed at improving cybersecurity and resilience of both public and private sector entities in the European Union.
The revised directive, called “NIS2” (short for network and information systems), is expected to replace the existing legislation on cybersecurity that was established in July 2016.
/jlne.ws/3MoHxJt

Why Organizations Need To Prepare For Cybersecurity Risks Greater Than Stolen Data
Igor Mezic – Forbes
The stakes have become much higher in the ongoing international cyberwar. The latest crop of bad actors and new state-sponsored attacks has created an environment where global economic disruption and human lives are at risk.
/jlne.ws/3Nj1tgQ

How And Why Businesses Should Strengthen Their Cybersecurity
Mark Roberts – Forbes
It’s easy to sit idly by and watch world affairs unfold, but business owners should not ignore the threats half a world away and the potential risk they pose to their operations. World affairs and conflicts carry potential security ramifications, and businesses should no longer be passive observers.
/jlne.ws/3NkPIXw

Cryptocurrencies

A trader gained about $1.5 million from crypto-yield farming in seven months, but is it a Ponzi scheme? He explains the types of farms, the levels of risk, and how to steer away from shaky protocols like UST’s ecosystem.
Laila Maidan – Business Insider
On August 27, 2021, David Malka, who had spent seven years as an equity trader, was playing a game of musical chairs. But instead of risking his seat, it was more like risking the shirt off his back. He was yield farming, an application of decentralized finance, or DeFi, that pays out yields in exchange for depositing crypto into a shared pool. In this instance, Malka was on a very new and risky protocol called Frost Finance. So he decided to film himself trying it out. Frost Finance was offering outrageous APRs of 37,000% to 47,000% at the time of his recording. Was it a Ponzi scheme? Definitely, Malka said. In a typical Ponzi, the investor pays out juicy ‘returns’ from a shared pool with all the clients’ deposits.
/jlne.ws/3sC7v4s

Nigeria’s markets regulator publishes rules on crypto assets
Reuters
Nigeria’s markets regulator has published a set of regulations for digital assets, signalling Africa’s most populous country is trying to find a middle ground between an outright ban on crypto assets and their unregulated use. Nigeria’s central bank last year banned banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in digital currencies. But the country’s young, tech-savvy population has eagerly adopted cryptocurrencies, for example using peer-to-peer trading offered by crypto exchanges to avoid the financial sector ban.
/jlne.ws/3sDrhMJ

Crypto And Cannabis, Best Buds At Last; As cannabis is legalized in more places, investors are taking note. One Luxembourg-based, Uruguayan-led fund has found an innovative way to bypass banking obstacles and raise capital.
Natalia Vera Ramírez – WorldCrunch
Soon it will be possible to buy shares in a fund that invests in the nascent cannabis industry, on Ethereum, a blockchain portal. The fund is Global Cannabis Capital (GCC), formed in Luxembourg and soon to offer shares as tokens (digital value units representing the value of a stock), instead of the traditional initial public offering (IPO). GCC’s founder is the Uruguayan Andrés Israel, also CEO and founder of Cannabis Company Builder (CCB), an incubator that helps Latin American startups devise a business strategy for the cannabis sector.
/jlne.ws/39WAqcR

UAE’s Emirates to accept Bitcoin as a payment method
Ali Raza – Inside Bitcoins
Emirates Airline released a report saying that its entry into the digital asset space was part of its plan “to connect with customers in a faster and more flexible way.” Besides having BTC as a payment method, the airline plans to have NFT collectibles available on its website for trading. Emirates Airline is one of the busiest airline carriers globally, and it has its headquarters in Dubai. The company has also announced a plan to hire new staff for NFTs and the metaverse.
/jlne.ws/3wj9ih7

Crimea could be Putin’s tipping point in a game of nuclear chicken; Any threat to the peninsula from Ukraine or its allies risks dangerous escalation
Malcolm Chalmers – FT
Avril Haines, US director of national intelligence, said last week she assessed the likelihood of nuclear conflict to be low, indicating that Vladimir Putin would probably only authorise the use of nuclear weapons if he perceived an existential threat to the Russian state. But what would qualify as an “existential threat”? Most obvious would be a direct clash of arms with the US. The past seven decades have seen multiple military interventions by both powers — from the Korean war through to the current war in Ukraine — often offset by large-scale weapons deliveries to the other’s opponents. But none of these wars have involved any direct combat between US and Soviet (now Russian) armed forces. This mutual restraint is one of the main reasons why no nuclear weapon has been used since 1945.
/jlne.ws/37Mlqxw

Crypto Joins the Abortion Conversation; Activists and nonprofits are considering digital currencies as a way to raise funds. But can they really do anything other payment methods can’t?
Anna P. Kambhampaty, Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Valeriya Safronova – NY Times
In the loud and confusing world of cryptocurrencies, fund-raising efforts are forming around all sorts of causes. Groups known as decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, have sent aid to Ukrainians whose lives have been upended by war, worked to offset carbon emissions, bought land and collected NFTs. Now, after the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, entrepreneurs and activists are floating ideas for an abortion-focused DAO. They see it as a way to provide money to women in more than two dozen states where abortion services may soon be severely restricted or banned — a kind of “Underground Railroad for abortion,” as Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code and a host of the “De-Broing Crypto” podcast, put it in an interview.
/jlne.ws/38sRs1O

Early Bitpanda Investor Defies Tech Jitters With New Seed Fund; Speedinvest closing funding round of hundreds of million euros; Vienna-based firm says seed funds can weather stormy markets
Marton Eder – Bloomberg
Speedinvest GmbH is set to launch its fourth fund as the Vienna-based seed investor looks to defy an environment of jittery technology markets. The firm, among the early investors in the crypto unicorn Bitpanda, is on track to close its latest funding round — to be worth several hundred million euros — in the next few months, co-founder and chief executive officer Oliver Holle said in an interview. The exact target size wasn’t specified.
/jlne.ws/39lUzJ5

4 things to know as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (and stablecoins) melt down
David Gura – NPR
As the old maxim goes, sometimes the bigger they are the harder they fall. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies surged during the pandemic, turning many amateur investors into millionaires, on paper at least. Bitcoin, for example hit to an all-time of nearly $68,000 in November. Today, it’s trading at less than half that amount as part of an intense sell-off that has accelerated in recent weeks. It’s been even worse for an area of cryptocurrencies called stablecoins, in particular one called TerraUSD that has tumbled hard. Here’s a look at what’s going on.
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Nigeria Issues Crypto Asset Rules in Move Seen Boosting Trade; Rules aim to protect investors and promote transparency; Nigerians are among the world’s biggest crypo traders
Emele Onu – Bloomberg
Nigeria released new rules for digital assets, offering more clarity on trading in cryptocurrencies in Africa’s most populous nation. The Securities and Exchange Commission published “rules on issuance, offering platforms and custody of digital assets” for virtual technologies, it said on its website. It classifies the assets as securities regulated by the SEC. The rules may help boost trading by giving more clarity on the sector in a country that already ranks as among the biggest markets for digital assets. Nigeria accounts for the largest volume of cryptocurrency transactions outside the U.S., according to Paxful, a Bitcoin marketplace.
/jlne.ws/3syALcc

CryptoCompare Research – Exploring Stablecoins: Terra & UST’s Fall From Grace
Mondovisione
The recent blowup in the Terra ecosystem has been one of the most impactful events in the history of crypto – comparable with the collapse of Mt. Gox in 2014, and the sharp market crash in January 2018 and in March 2020. CryptoCompare’s latest research piece details the events of the last few days, the repercussions, the aftermath, and what’s next for the space.
/jlne.ws/3Mv1NZO

Ethereum co-founder says every ‘average smallholder’ impacted by Terra’s stablecoin crash should be made whole, cites FDIC’s $250,000 as ‘precedent’
Taylor Locke – Fortune
The Terra ecosystem completely unraveled last week, taking much of the cryptocurrency market down with it. Its algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) crashed far below its $1 peg, and its sister token Luna collapsed to nearly zero.
/jlne.ws/3sCz8KI

FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried believes bitcoin has no future as a payments network, because its ‘proof of work’ system means it can’t scale up
Zahra Tayeb – Business Insider
Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried doesn’t see a future for bitcoin as a payments network, because its “proof of work” system won’t be able to handle millions of transactions, according to a Financial Times report. The founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX criticized the leading cryptocurrency for that inefficiency in verifying transactions and for its high energy costs, which have an environmental impact.
/jlne.ws/3whC3L6

Indian Central Bank Says Cryptos Could Lead to “Dollarization” of Economy: Report
Amitoj Singh – Coindesk
Cryptocurrencies can lead to “dollarization” of a part of the economy and this could be against the country’s sovereign interest, the top officials of India’s central bank told a parliamentary committee on finance, according to a Press Trust of India report. “Almost all cryptocurrencies are dollar-denominated and issued by foreign private entities, it may eventually lead to dollarization of a part of our economy which will be against the country’s sovereign interest,” the officials told members of the finance committee including Jayant Sinha, the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.
/jlne.ws/3yKzov7

Goldman, Barclays Back Alan Howard’s Crypto Platform; Funding round values Elwood Technologies at over $500 million; Other investors include Galaxy, Dawn Capital, Commerzbank
Yueqi Yang and Anchalee Worrachate – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc participated in a $70 million funding round of Elwood Technologies LLP, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by billionaire Alan Howard, in a collaboration between crypto-native funds and traditional financial institutions.
/jlne.ws/3wdIWNj

Japan’s Nomura Said to Launch Crypto Unit With DeFi and NFTs on Menu: Report
Ian Allison – Coindesk
Japanese investment bank Nomura is launching a subsidiary to give institutions access to digital assets, according to a report in the FT. The new unit will be have a staff of 100 by the end of 2023, according to the report, and will offer exposure to cryptocurrency, decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
/jlne.ws/3NgeWGb

Politics

Social Media Sites Face Worldwide Upheaval, Supreme Court Told; Tech groups urge US top court to block Texas social media law; Law opens Twitter, Facebook to extremist content, groups say
Alicia Diaz and Greg Stohr – Bloomberg
Twitter Inc. and Facebook will be compelled to allow the dissemination of Russian propaganda as well as neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan screeds denying the Holocaust unless a Texas social media law is blocked, tech groups representing the companies told the U.S. Supreme Court. The emergency filing Friday seeking to block the Texas law — HB20 — comes two days after a divided federal appeals court let it take effect while a legal challenge filed by the tech groups goes forward. The New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals’ order, which came without explanation, put on hold a temporary injunction a trial judge issued in December.
/jlne.ws/3Nee595

Amazon’s Bezos Spars With Biden on Twitter About Inflation
Spencer Soper – Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos on Friday accused President Joe Biden of “misdirection” on Twitter in response to the US leader’s tweet saying inflation could be tamed by making wealthy corporations “pay their fair share.” The exchange began Friday evening with Biden’s tweet: “You want to bring down inflation? Let’s make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share.”
/jlne.ws/39reaaE

Beware the itch of democracies to spy on domestic critics; A scandal in Spain is only the latest example of politicians and intelligence agencies getting up to no good
Tony Barber – FT
A decade before Watergate taught us to add “gate” to every scandal under the sun, President John Kennedy and his brother Robert, who served as US attorney-general, were up to some dubious antics of their own. Apart from monitoring White House officials and guests by means of a secret taping system, the Kennedys conducted extensive electronic surveillance against political opponents, critical journalists and even their own staff. After the details became public, Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post editor and friend of the Kennedys who helped uncover Watergate, exclaimed: “My God, they wiretapped practically everybody . . . in this town.”
/jlne.ws/3wwXw1k

Biden’s battling one energy price nightmare. Here comes another.; Natural gas prices have tripled since January, adding more fuel to the inflation plaguing the White House’s popularity.
Ben Lefebvre – Politico
The Biden administration has been trying for months to dodge the political fallout from high gasoline prices. Now it has an even bigger energy headache to worry about. A new record high for gasoline at $4.40 a gallon drew a fresh spate of headlines this week. But prices for another crucial fossil fuel — natural gas — have also surged to their highest levels in more than a decade, raising costs for everything from home heating and cooking to fertilizer, chemicals and wholesale electricity.
/jlne.ws/3MhhEv9

US condemns Israel’s attack on Shireen Abu Aqleh’s funeral; Antony Blinken says US ‘deeply troubled’ after police stormed procession for Palestinian American journalist
Ramon Antonio Vargas – The Guardian
Joe Biden’s secretary of state has issued a statement condemning Israeli forces for their attack hours earlier on the funeral procession in Jerusalem of a Palestinian American journalist who was shot and killed this week. “We are deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Aqleh,” Antony Blinken’s statement on his official Twitter account read. “Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”
/jlne.ws/3FLBNal

Trump and Biden or Lincoln and Douglas?; American politicians have grown cowardly and out of touch. Wouldn’t it be nice to do something about it?
Peggy Noonan – WSJ
This goes under the heading “Wouldn’t it be nice.” When I’m on the road the biggest thing I hear about is the frustration of voters. The exact subject matter has evolved over the years (“When will they stop the wars?”) but I detect now a theme that Washington operates with a view only to itself, not us. It has its own internal conversations and exigencies, its own psychodramas. (Joe Biden’s domestic agenda was driven by his desire for a legacy: He must go big and be understood as a second FDR! Kevin McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago and resurrected Donald Trump shortly after the Capitol riot because Kevin desires to be speaker!) It’s about political figures and their needs; everything else (is this good for the country?) seems like an afterthought. It has always been so, but it seems more so now.
/jlne.ws/3NfZJoB

Dirty money contaminates the UK’s public sphere; A lax approach to laundering illicit gains typifies the creeping corruption of British democracy
Margaret Hodge – FT
For too long the UK has been a “laundromat” for corrupt wealth. The ongoing Ukraine tragedy highlights our complicity in allowing dirty money to spread. But it should not have taken a horrific war. These deep-rooted problems became clear to me when I chaired parliament’s public accounts committee. Hearings with tech giants demonstrated multinationals using complex financial structures to avoid tax. Then a plethora of leaks, from the Panama Papers to the Pandora Papers, revealed the same structures were used by wrongdoers to launder money. Latest estimates suggest that economic crime costs our economy a massive £290bn annually.
/jlne.ws/3FLQgTC

The damage wreaked by Boris Johnson’s government will far outlast his premiership; Weakening the institutions which hold politicians to account is reckless
Camilla Cavendish – FT
Yesterday I found myself in a café next to a student who was typing furiously to finish an overdue dissertation. She had to deliver 10,000 words, she explained, and was padding things out to distract from the bits she hadn’t researched. I, meanwhile, was reading up on the 38 bills in the government’s new parliamentary programme which seemed to take padding and distraction to new heights. Britain is on the brink of recession, with business confidence rocky. Yet the government has no coherent plan for economic growth. Its levelling-up bill will punish landlords for empty shops, rather than reform business rates to support the high street. Its trade bill will ratify deals of minor importance. A Brexit freedoms bill will let ministers amend EU rules — but they don’t seem to know which ones. Instead, the foreign secretary threatens yet again to rip up the Northern Ireland protocol, which could provoke a damaging trade war.
/jlne.ws/3a4iDRd

Baltic states hail Finland and Sweden’s expected Nato accession; Move will dramatically improve security of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, say foreign ministers
Richard Milne – FT
The three Baltic states have hailed Sweden and Finland’s expected accession to Nato as dramatically improving their own security and ability to repel any attack from Russia. The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania told the Financial Times they would seek to ratify any membership application from Finland and Sweden as quickly as possible. Finland’s president and prime minister said on Thursday that the country “must apply” within days. It is expected to do so, along with Sweden, as the Nordic nations draw conclusions from Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which is not a member of the western defence alliance.
/jlne.ws/3Mm8DRm

Turkey’s president objects to Finland and Sweden’s Nato applications; Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the two countries of supporting Kurdish militants
Laura Pitel and Richard Milne – FT
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come out against allowing Sweden and Finland to join Nato, putting the two Nordic countries’ hopes of joining the western military alliance in jeopardy. In a move that could undermine Turkey’s efforts to strengthen ties with the US and Europe in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Erdogan — whose country has been a Nato member since 1952 — on Friday said he could not take a “positive view” of the two nations’ potential bids for membership. The obstacle was their support for the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long armed insurgency against the Turkish state, he said. It is classified as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, the US and the EU. Turkey’s president also named a far-left extremist group.
/jlne.ws/39m4Ncs

Finland’s president Niinistö tells Putin his country will apply to join Nato; Top Turkish aide says Ankara is ‘not closing door’ on the bid despite Erdogan’s earlier concerns
Richard Milne – FT
Finland’s president has told Vladimir Putin of the Nordic country’s plans to apply for Nato membership as a top Turkish aide downplayed fears that Ankara could torpedo its bid. Sauli Niinistö called Putin on Saturday to explain how Russia’s demand in late 2021 that Finland and Sweden not apply for Nato membership followed by its invasion of Ukraine in February had fundamentally altered the security environment.
/jlne.ws/3NdIDYD

European Foreign Ministers Push Hungary to Back Russian Oil Ban; As officials from EU states meet in Brussels, Hungary wants more time to wean itself off Russian energy
Laurence Norman – Bloomberg
European Union foreign ministers will try again on Monday to reach an accord on a Russian oil embargo, but Hungary’s resistance means a deal will likely remain elusive, diplomats say. Several foreign ministers, arriving in Brussels for Monday’s meeting, urged rapid approval of the EU’s sixth sanctions package on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.n A phased-in oil embargo is the centerpiece of the plan, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says that would impose unacceptable costs on his country’s economy. Hungary has said it could only consider supporting the sanctions if its future energy security is guaranteed. In addition, Hungary along with Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria have all sought more time to transition away from Russian oil.
/jlne.ws/3LiBHb6

Russia

Seventh Russian Oligarch Dies, This Time Via Possible Toad Venom; A number of the victims had strong links to the energy sector, and four were executives at state-owned Gazprom.
Riley Gutierrez McDermid – The Street
It used to be easy being an oligarch. One of the wealthiest people in the world, you had entree to some of the most exclusive places, people and things. Everyone clamored for your time, attention and, most of all, money. But now the tide has turned. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in March, the Russian oligarch class has seen itself backed into a variety of hazards and inconveniences. Several hundred of them have been sanctioned by global authorities, although many of the very wealthiest have not.
/jlne.ws/39oq1X2

For Putin, a Nordic Nightmare Is Springing to Life
Marc Santora and Natalie Kitroeff – NY Times
For years, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has viewed the expansion of NATO as an existential threat that would leave Russia hemmed in with Western missiles on its doorstep. Now, Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine seems to be bringing the Russian leader’s nightmare to life, with NATO on the brink of starting its largest potential expansion in nearly two decades.
/jlne.ws/3lcf51B

Regulation

FBI Arrests NY Crypto Platform CEO for Alleged Fraud; Ponzi schemes continue to infest the cryptocurrency sector, adding to the industry’s growing challenges.
Kirk O’Neil – The Street
Slumping cryptocurrencies have not only had to deal with plummeting values lately, but authorities are uncovering more and more crypto crimes that are adding to the industry’s bad name. U.S. tax authorities have said they were following 50 separate leads into scams involving nonfungible tokens and other aspects of the crypto industry. Tax investigators also said on May 13 that they were pursuing evidence of a $1 billion Ponzi scheme in the crypto market.
/jlne.ws/3sBnu2y

Judge OKs $16 million fine against Kraft, Mondelez to settle CFTC complaint, agency says
Tyler Clifford – Reuters
A federal judge on Friday ordered food consumer companies Kraft Heinz(KHC.O) and Mondelez International(MDLZ.O) pay a $16 million fine as part of a settlement with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the agency said. The CFTC said in 2015 it had filed a complaint against the companies alleging manipulation and attempted manipulation of the prices of cash wheat and wheat futures.
/jlne.ws/3FVRxrm

CCP12 Responds To The CFTC Request For Comment On FTX Request For Amended DCO Registration Order
CCP12
CCP12 has published its response to the CFTC Request for Comment on FTX Request for Amended DCO Registration Order
/jlne.ws/3LcU9lr

EU’s proposed crypto regulations are flawed; Light-touch rules on digital assets and exchanges leave investors vulnerable and increase misunderstanding
Karel Lannoo – FT
As the crypto world goes through yet another bout of turmoil, it is clear that stronger regulatory oversight of digital assets is needed. The EU will soon roll out a specific regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and markets. The move comes as digital assets are plunging and a crisis has engulfed some of the world’s biggest “stablecoins”.
/jlne.ws/39XaAp7

CFTC Commissioner Pham Announces Additional Staff Appointments
CFTC
CFTC Commissioner Caroline D. Pham announced today that Keaghan Ames will join her staff and serve as Counselor & Senior Policy Advisor starting May 23. Commissioner Pham stated: “I am so pleased to announce that Keaghan is joining my team. He brings with him deep policy expertise, practical regulatory implementation experience, and a well-rounded understanding of regulated markets and registrants. Keaghan has been a trusted advisor to executives throughout his career and I am confident his background and skill set will serve the Commission well during this critical time.”
/jlne.ws/3liVNaA

CFTC Settles Enforcement Action Against Kraft and Mondelez
CFTC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that a federal court entered a consent order resolving the CFTC’s action against defendants Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and Mondelez Global LLC. The consent order includes an injunction and requires payment of a $16 million penalty. The order, entered today, by the Honorable Judge John Robert Blakey of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, stems from a complaint filed by the CFTC in 2015 (See CFTC Press Release No. 7150-15).
/jlne.ws/3FVRjR2

CFTC Charges Long Island Resident and His Firm in Ongoing $59 Million Fraud Scheme
CFTC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it has filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Eddy Alexandre of Valley Stream, New York, and his company, EminiFX, Inc., of Valley Stream and Manhattan, New York, charging them with fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation in connection with soliciting clients to trade foreign currency exchange (forex), commodity futures contracts, and cryptocurrencies.
/jlne.ws/3FOg15z

CFTC Commissioner Pham Announces Additional Staff Appointments
CFTC
CFTC Commissioner Caroline D. Pham announced today that Keaghan Ames will join her staff and serve as Counselor & Senior Policy Advisor starting May 23.
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ESMA appoints new member to its Management Board
ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has elected a new member to its Management Board to replace an outgoing member who has stepped down from her position. The election took place at the Board of Supervisors meeting in Paris on 12 May and the successful candidate, who will serve the remainder of the outgoing member’s term until 30 September 2024,
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Investing and Trading

Empty-Nesters Aren’t Saving for Retirement Like They Promised. That’s a Problem.
Gail MarksJarvis – Barron’s
Intent on helping children pay for college, many parents cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs over four or more years while forgoing their own retirement savings and vowing they will catch up later. It’s a promise many fail to keep. Despite government efforts to encourage catch-up retirement savings, many parents who prioritize paying for their children’s education over saving for retirement don’t take advantage. It’s a broken promise that threatens millions of retirees’ long-term financial durability, but there are some steps parents can take to shore up their standing, if not erase the savings shortfall.
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Junk bond party starts to wind down; Investors are reassessing the ability of high-yield issuers to withstand the strained economic outlook
Joe Rennison – FT
If Party City’s results this week are anything to go by, then it might be time for high-yield bond investors to call a cab. Despite being the riskiest part of the mountain of debt that has been raised in recent years, high-yield, or “junk”, bonds have held up well in the face of unrelenting equity volatility, tighter monetary policy from the US Federal Reserve, rising inflation, disrupted supply chains and war in Europe. That is, until recently. Party City kicked off a week of disappointing earnings results that helped the junk bond market spring from its slumber. The company came under pressure in the first quarter from constrained helium supply and soaring prices just as demand is escalating ahead of the US graduation season.
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Airfares soar as Americans shrug off Covid and inflation to get away; Customers are determined to travel even as carriers pass on rising fuel and labour costs
Steff Chávez – FT
US airlines are poised to raise ticket prices further as Americans shrug off the fastest rise in domestic airfares for decades in their determination to travel. Airfares rose by 18.6 per cent in April from the previous month, the largest one-month increase in the history of the Consumer Price Index, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. They were one of the largest contributors to the 8.3 per cent rise in the CPI last month. On a yearly basis, the airline fares index was up 33.3 per cent, the largest one-year increase since 1980, though prices were still depressed at the same point in 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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It’s a Good Time to Think About Stagflation Havens; With China contracting and recession the dominant risk, the market is offering some generous odds.
John Authers – Bloomberg
Where to Shelter?
Risk assets are falling, and have ample reasons to fall. What to do about this? In the short term there are decent arguments that it’s time for a rally within the bear market. But how best to deploy assets for the longer term?
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Crypto Prices Move in Tandem With Traditional Markets, Punishing Investors; The cryptocurrency declines are hitting those who bought digital assets to diversify portfolios
Gregory Zuckerman – WSJ
Cryptocurrency prices are moving in lockstep with stocks and bonds like never before, punishing those who bought bitcoin and other digital assets in part to diversify their investment holdings. The three-month correlation between the cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ether and the major U.S. stock indexes hit its highest level on record last week, according to Dow Jones Market Data. That level, between 0.67 and 0.78, is more than triple the average correlation between crypto and the S&P 500 from 2019 to 2021. A correlation of 1 suggests the markets are moving in lockstep, while 0 says they aren’t related. The one- and two-month correlations are at record levels.
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Hindenburg Research gloats as Elon Musk puts Twitter buyout on hold
Theo Wayt – NY Post
“A Twitter short seller gloated on Friday after Elon Musk pumped the brakes on his $44 billion bid to buy out the social media site with a bizarre tweet that claimed negotiations were “on hold.”” Short-seller Hindenburg Research had written Monday that Musk “holds all the cards” in the deal and could threaten to walk away in order make the company’s board agree to a lower purchase price.
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Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Report Warns London and Other World Cities Face Rising Risk of Drought
Emily Beament – Bloomberg
Cities around the world from London to Beijing and New Delhi face growing risks from drought driven by climate change, according to a report from Christian Aid. The charity warns the toll of water shortages will be felt most by poor people in cities such as Harare, Zimbabwe and Kabul, Afghanistan. It is calling for an international fund to pay for loss and damage from climate impacts. The report highlights that less than 3% of the world’s water is suitable for drinking, and most of that is locked up in glaciers and ice caps.
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Cat Litter Could Be Antidote for Climate Change, Researchers Say; MIT researchers say a compound they created with zeolite and copper breaks down methane in passing air and could slow warming if added to mine vents
Ryan Dezember – WSJ
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have found a potent new tool in the fight against global warming. It is basically cat litter. They soaked an odor-eating clay used in cat boxes in a copper solution to create a compound that they say snatches methane from passing air and turns it into carbon dioxide, a much less harmful greenhouse gas. The Energy Department gave the researchers $2 million to design devices with the compound that can be attached to vents at coal mines and dairy barns, which are big methane emitters. The idea is to alter the chemistry of emissions before they hit the open air, like a catalytic converter on a car.
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Think Twice Before Taking Out a Private Student Loan; Interest rates are rising for both federal and private borrowers. But private loans have fewer protections and are often more expensive, student advocates say.
Ann Carrns – NY Times
If you’re a college student, you probably get mail from private student lenders offering to cover “up to 100 percent” of your educational costs. Sounds good, right? But students and their families should tread cautiously with such offers, financial aid experts say. Private loans — those from banks and lenders other than the federal government — carry fewer borrower protections than federal loans and tend to be more expensive. And unlike federal student loans, they can have interest rates that vary over the life of the loan. That could mean higher monthly payments, as rates probably rise.
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Quant Trader Vogel Shuts Two Climate Hedge Funds After Brief Run; Planned to use big data to make climate-focused investments; David Vogel started Sustainability fund in January 2020
Gillian Tan and Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Quant trader David Vogel is closing two sustainable hedge funds after a short run. Investors in his Voloridge Climate Change and Sustainability funds were told this week that the money would move into the firm’s main pool, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The funds accounted for about 15% of Voloridge Investment Management’s $9.5 billion in total assets, the person said. Vogel, a machine-learning pioneer, started the Sustainability fund in 2020 with a plan to raise $1.5 billion. The recent changes were made because Vogel thought it would be more profitable to manage green investments in a larger, broader vehicle, the person said.
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Trafigura Wants to Build Lithium Business to Tap Battery Boom; The company plans to invest in a UK lithium refinery and build a trading business for the critical battery metal.
Archie Hunter – Bloomberg
Trafigura Group said its plan to invest in a new UK lithium refinery will mark the start of the trading giant’s foray into buying and selling the crucial battery metal.n Last week’s agreement to back the plant being developed by startup Green Lithium brings the world’s top independent commodities trader into a market struggling to create enough new supply to meet demand for electric vehicles. The deal is part of Trafigura’s plan to grow a lithium trading book and link global car and battery companies to mines, its nickel and cobalt head said.
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EU’s Methane Rules Risk Being Watered Down, Climate Groups Say; Groups call on French Presidency of EU to keep law’s ambition;Methane regulation is currently being debated by EU countries
John Ainger – Bloomberg
European Union efforts to tackle climate-warming methane emissions are being undermined by energy companies that say the measures are too expensive, according to climate non-profit groups. The bloc’s proposed rules to curtail leaks of one of the most powerful greenhouse gases are under threat of being diluted in negotiations between member states, the Clean Air Task Force, the Environmental Defense Fund and seven other non-governmental groups warned in a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron. France currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.
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Male managers in UK block gender balance efforts, research suggests; Study findings follow furore over sexist comments directed at Aviva chief at AGM
Daniel Thomas and Ian Smith – FT
Male managers are blocking efforts to improve the gender balance at UK companies, according to research by the Chartered Management Institute that raises fresh concerns about entrenched sexist views in the workplace. The CMI said that a study of 1,149 managers across the UK found that there was passive, and even active, resistance to gender equality from male bosses in many companies.
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The new ESG realpolitik and the fossil fuel bonanza; Frankness over the need for oil and gas is required in the transition to a greener future
Patrick Jenkins – FT
Mark Carney straddles two horses these days — as a climate change purist, via his role as UN climate envoy, and as a climate change pragmatist, in his role as “head of transition investing” at Brookfield, the vast private capital group that is one of the world’s biggest oil and gas infrastructure investors.
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US shale companies enjoy ‘tsunami of cash’ on high oil prices;Capital restraint and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has transformed fortunes of once indebted operators
Derek Brower – FT
America’s shale oil companies are enjoying a cash bonanza, as soaring oil prices and months of capital restraint transform the fortunes and balance sheets of a sector once notorious for debt-fuelled drilling sprees.
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Institutions

Panmure Gordon is back in profit — Rich Ricci and Bob Diamond say potential hires ‘knocking on our door’; Bob Diamond on European banks: ‘I don’t think they have the talent they had 10 or 12 years ago… I don’t think they can attract that talent, nor do they want to compensate that talent’
Paul Clarke – Financial News
When former Barclays investment bank chief, Rich Ricci, took the reins at City broker Panmure Gordon two years ago, he promised to get “back to basics” at the firm that was struggling to stem losses of tens of millions of dollars as it expanded beyond its roots. Ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond, whose investment firm bought Panmure in 2017 with backing from the Qatari sovereign wealth fund, had turned to former lieutenant Ricci to revive the fortunes of the City broker that had lost nearly £35m over the previous two years as it looked to transform itself into a “21st-century merchant bank”.
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Goldman Sachs bosses can take unlimited vacation, leaked memo says
Ryan Hogg – Business Insider
Goldman Sachs will let its senior bankers take an unlimited number of days off, according to a leaked memo seen by Insider and first reported by the Telegraph. The “flexible vacation” scheme, which took effect on May 1, lifts a cap on the number of holidays for senior staff at the bank, allowing them “to take time off when needed without a fixed vacation day entitlement.” Next year the US bank also plans to introduce a minimum holiday allowance of 15 days for all employees, with at least one week of consecutive leave a year.
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Val Broeksmit, 46, Who Blew the Whistle on Deutsche Bank, Dies; An itinerant musician, he leaked secret files to F.B.I. investigators looking at the bank’s ties to money laundering, the Trump Organization and Russia.
Sam Roberts – NY Times
Val Broeksmit, a wayward whistle-blower who wielded his dead stepfather’s passwords to reveal Deutsche Bank’s role in money laundering and other dealings with Russia and the Trump Organization, died mysteriously last month in Los Angeles. He was 46. Custodial employees reporting for work shortly before 7 a.m. on Monday, April 25, found his body in the courtyard of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in northeast Los Angeles. The police said they found no sign of trauma or foul play. The medical examiner said the cause remained undetermined.
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Why This Fund Manager Paid $15 Million for a Painting Estimated at $200,000; Bill Perkins came to Christie’s and sparked an epic bidding war. He says it was worth it.
James Tarmy – Bloomberg
The Houston-based hedge fund manager Bill Perkins walked into Christie’s on Thursday night, May 12, planning to spend $2 million. An hour or so later, he left having spent $15,275,000. “The plans went awry, to put it mildly,” he says, speaking the next day. “I was shocked, but I knew it was a possibility.”
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The Men Who Flipped on Bill Hwang Were Trusted Lieutenants; Executives who spent careers with Hwang turned on their boss; William Tomita, Scott Becker could become star witnesses
Bob Van Voris, Amanda L Gordon, and Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
Not long ago he was playing polo on the Connecticut Gold Coast — a dashing young Wall Streeter charging hard for a winning shot. But on April 22, with his nerves on edge, William Tomita reached for the Xanax: He was due in federal court that Friday to plead guilty in the Archegos trading debacle and to formally turn on his longtime boss, Bill Hwang. Tomita was so distressed to speak publicly, he would tell the judge, that he had to take anti-anxiety medication first.
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Goldman Agrees to Settle Suit Over 1MDB for $79.5 Million; Settlement funds will be used to boost compliance at bank; Pension fund sued Goldman, executives for lax oversight
Robert Burnson – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to a $79.5 million settlement with shareholders who blamed lax oversight by the bank for its costly involvement in the 1MDB bribery scandal. The money will be used to pay for “compliance activities” at the bank, including enhanced internal controls and accounting and the running of “a rigorous anti-corruption compliance program,” according to a pension fund that sued the company and its executives on behalf of shareholders.
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JPMorgan’s Dimon faces shareholder advisory vote on $52.6 million retention award
David Henry and Ross Kerber – Reuters
Long-time JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon will find out on Tuesday how shareholders feel about a special $52.6 million stock option award he received to stay on for five more years, which is opposed by two key investor advisory firms. The extra award dished out in July was the most significant change in Dimon’s annual pay, which faces a non-binding vote at the bank’s online annual meeting. While say-on-pay votes are only advisory and Dimon, 66, is expected to keep the award regardless, they are closely followed as a test of investors’ attitudes toward executive pay, which have hardened in recent years.
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Nomura Hires Ten Traders to Build Out FX-Focused Macro Desks
Stefania Spezzati and Donal Griffin – Bloomberg
Dipak Shah, Sidi Mohamed Saaf, Matthew Rupsis and Christopher Torrington have recently joined Nomura from Citigroup in a variety of roles to help the Japanese lender boost its forward and options forex trading desks in London, New York and Singapore, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Shah will be European head of foreign exchange options trading based in London, the people said. Representatives for Nomura and Citigroup declined to comment. The hiring comes after the Tokyo-based lender tries to move on from a multibillion-dollar hit related to its dealings with Archegos Capital Management, which collapsed last year. Nomura saw growth in certain macro products in foreign exchange and emerging markets in its most recent earnings, yet its fixed income trading revenue slipped 5% from a year ago amid a “challenging quarter.
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Goldman Sachs and Dawn Capital co-lead $70 million funding round for crypto trading platform Elwood Technologies; The Series A funding round comes as institutional appetite for digital assets continues to grow.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Elwood Technologies, a digital asset platform for institutional crypto trading, has closed a $70 million Series A funding round co-led by Goldman Sachs and B2B investor Dawn Capital. The funding round saw additional involvement from investors including Barclays, BlockFi Ventures, Chimera Ventures, CommerzVentures, Digital Currency Group, Flow Traders and Galaxy Digital Ventures.
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Wellness Exchange

This is how many lives could have been saved with COVID vaccinations in each state
Selena Simmons-Duffin and Koko Nakajima – NPR
One tragic fact about the nearly 1 million people who died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is that a huge share of them didn’t have to. In Tennessee, 11,047 of the people who died could have survived if everyone in the state had gotten vaccinated. In Ohio, that number is 15,875. Nationally it’s nearly 319,000, according a new estimate.
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The Plot to Keep Meatpacking Plants Open During COVID-19; Newly released documents reveal that the meatpacking industry’s callousness toward the health of its workers and its influence over the Trump administration were far greater than previously known.
Michael Grabell – ProPublica
As hundreds of meatpacking workers fell sick from the coronavirus that was spreading through their plants and into their communities in April 2020, the CEO of Tyson Foods reached out to the head of another major meatpacker, Smithfield Foods, with a proposal. Smithfield’s pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had been hit particularly hard, and state and local officials were pressuring the company to shut it down. “Anything we can do to help?” Tyson CEO Noel White asked in an email.
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You Could Catch Covid Again. And Again. And Even Again; As the virus surges through the US yet again, some people are catching it for a second, third or even fourth time
Madison Muller – Bloomberg
As a stealth wave of Covid makes its way across the US, those who have so far evaded the virus are now falling ill — while others are catching Covid for a second, third or even fourth time. Several factors have conspired to make the state of the pandemic harder than ever to track. The rise of at-home tests, which rarely make it into official case numbers, have made keeping accurate count of positive cases impossible. Additionally, many US states and jurisdictions are now reporting Covid data only sporadically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earlier this week, Washington, D.C., reported case data to the agency for the first time since April.
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Barclays Could Start Delayed £1 Billion Buyback From End of May; Buyback to start shortly after paperwork is amended, bank says; Bank delayed plan after accidentally overselling securities
Stefania Spezzati – Bloomberg
Barclays Plc expects to start its promised billion-pound ($1.2 billion) share buyback from the end of May, once it files the correct paperwork on security sales that led to a 450 million-pound loss.

How Omicron Infection Turbo-Charges Vaccinated People’s Immunity; Breakthrough infections bested booster shots in two studies; BioNTech team says results argue for omicron-specific booster
Naomi Kresge – Bloomberg
People who are vaccinated and then get infected with omicron may be primed to overcome a broad range of coronavirus variants, early research suggests. A pair of studies showed that infection produced even better immune responses than a booster shot in vaccinated patients. Teams from Covid-19 vaccine maker BioNTech SE and the University of Washington posted the results on preprint server bioRxiv in recent weeks.
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Regions

IMF lifts weighting of dollar, Chinese yuan in SDR basket
Reuters
The International Monetary Fund said on Saturday it has increased the weighting of the dollar and Chinese yuan in its review of the currencies that make up the valuation of its Special Drawing Rights (SDR), an international reserve asset. The review is the first since the yuan, also known as the renminbi, joined the basket of currencies in 2016 in what was a milestone in Beijing’s efforts to internationalise its currency.
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India Bans Wheat Exports as Food Security Comes Under Threat; Government will allow exports at the request of other nations; Buyers such as Egypt have looked to India as war hit supplies
Pratik Parija – Bloomberg
India prohibited wheat exports that the world was counting on to alleviate supply constraints sparked by the war in Ukraine, saying that the food security of the nation is under threat. Exports will still be allowed to countries that require wheat for food security needs and based on the requests of their governments, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a notification dated May 13. All other new shipments will be banned with immediate effect.
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India looks to limit global concerns over wheat exports ban; The country had been filling supply gap in international markets left by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Emiko Terazono and Benjamin Parkin – FT
India’s government sought to limit international concerns over its sudden ban on wheat exports, a move that is likely to push food prices higher and fuel hunger in poor countries that depend on imports of the commodity. A day after saying it was implementing a ban on overseas sales, New Delhi said on Sunday it would “ensure the fulfilment of the genuine needs” of those nations that are dependent on its wheat for food security. On Saturday, it said it was introducing a ban “in order to manage the overall food security of the country and to support the needs of the neighbouring and other vulnerable countries”. It said it would still allow exports for which letters of credit had already been issued.
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How index inclusion is driving investor demand for China fixed income ETFs
AsianInvestor
Recent market volatility hasn’t changed the appeal of China’s $20 trillion bond market. Encouraged by the inclusion of these assets in global indices, investors have increasingly taken advantage of this ever-wider window of opportunity to access the potential of the growth story.
In particular, some of the recent Hong Kong-listed ETFs that invest in China bonds have been attracting large inflows as comfort among global investors grows.
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China’s top chipmaker SMIC says smartphone, PC demand has ‘dropped like a rock’
Reuters
China’s top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp said on Friday it anticipates smartphone sales from its clients this year to fall by at least 200 million units due to the Russia-Ukraine war and China’s COVID lockdowns. While SMIC previously had issues fulfilling orders due to high demand amid a global chip shortage, customers from the smartphone, personal computer and household appliance sectors were now cancelling orders due to these two events, CEO Zhao Haijun told analysts after the company’s quarterly results.
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China to Limit ‘Excessive’ Incentives for Bankers in Pay Curbs
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Chinese regulators told the nation’s securities industry to avoid handing out “excessive” short-term incentives to employees and smooth out the pace of pay disbursements, in their latest effort to rein in risks and promote “common prosperity.”
/jlne.ws/3szBsSr

First crypto ETFs to launch in Australia underwhelm on debut; Funds from ETF Securities and Cosmos beat rivals to market despite delays
Steve Johnson – FT
The culmination of a five-year battle to launch the first spot cryptocurrency exchange traded funds in the Asia-Pacific region has been greeted by muted demand.
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Why It’s So Hard to Keep Russian Diamonds and Gold Out of the U.S. Despite Sanctions; Jewelers and officials are urged to stem flow of Russian gems and precious metals likely still entering the U.S.
Trefor Moss – WSJ
Russian gold and diamonds could still be sold in the U.S. despite being sanctioned, lawmakers and industry participants say, unless companies and governments tighten their controls. In theory, U.S. and European sanctions have outlawed the sale of gold and diamonds from Russia. In practice, Russian gems and precious metals are likely still entering Western markets, these people say, often via a hard-to-police global web of middlemen. Tougher controls are needed to “make sure Russia can’t use its gold reserves to fund the atrocities being carried out across Ukraine,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.) said in a statement setting out her support for proposed legislation further restricting Russian gold imports.
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The Faded Town Where Britain’s Brexit Vision Lives or Dies; Darlington has emerged as the poster child for the government’s flagship plan to increase regional prosperity, but some locals are skeptical.
Emily Ashton – Bloomberg
Jonathan Liddle, a fishmonger in the northeast English town of Darlington, is getting used to seeing Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. A few weeks ago, he even managed to get a selfie: “I said to him: ‘What are you doing here again?'” Darlington made history in the 19th century as a pioneer of the railways in a region where mining, steelmaking and shipbuilding once helped drive the economy before heading into decline. It has now emerged as the lynchpin of the UK government’s flagship “levelling up” project to boost prosperity in poorer districts after leaving the European Union.
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Iran Says It Can Double Oil Exports If Market Needs More Barrels
Arsalan Shahla – Bloomberg
Iran has capacity to double oil exports if there’s sufficient demand, a top official said, even as a deal on the country’s nuclear program that could pave the way for the lifting of sanctions remain elusive. Iran will “exert maximum effort to recoup its crude oil market share and revive its customers,” Mohsen Khojastehmehr, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Co., told reporters Saturday in Tehran.
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Adeyemo Warns Foreign Banks on Helping Russia Evade Sanctions; Top Treasury official meets with foreign bankers in New York; Bankers tell Adeyemo of business shifts since Ukraine invasion
Daniel Flatley – Bloomberg
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo warned representatives from several foreign banks Friday about risks to their institutions should they assist Russia in evading sanctions imposed by the US and its allies after the invasion of Ukraine. Adeyemo met with representatives from several foreign financial institutions and “conveyed the risks of facilitating sanctions evasions,” including the risk of falling under US sanctions if the banks provided material support to a person or entity that the US has already penalized, according to a Treasury Department press release about the meeting.
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Now it will only get worse’: Cuba grapples with impact of Ukraine war; Russia’s longtime ally is already struggling with food and fuel shortages and a collapse in tourism
Marc Frank – FT
Russia’s war in Ukraine has created fresh problems for its Caribbean ally Cuba, already shaken by street protests and facing severe financial stress amid tighter US sanctions and a pandemic-induced collapse in tourism. Cubans have contended with chronic shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods for more than two years, owing to the country’s heavy dependency on imports and lack of dollars to pay. Now, there are fuel shortages, more blackouts and less public transport as the island’s communist government battles to secure costly petrol and diesel supplies.
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Miscellaneous

Walmart Anticipates a Store Manager Shortage Despite $200,000-a-Year Pay; Retailer wants to train college graduates to be store managers and move workers into corporate roles to build its talent pipeline
Sarah Nassauer – WSJ
Walmart Inc. wants to avoid a big problem: having too few store managers. It is a key position for the retail giant, one that requires long hours and in big stores overseeing an operation with roughly $100 million in annual sales and a team of 300. Many managers leading the company’s roughly 4,700 U.S. stores have been in their roles for at least a decade, and Walmart executives say they need to find a new generation to replace them. The tight labor market and competition for workers create another challenge—even for a job that often pays more than $200,000 a year.
/jlne.ws/3sCevOA

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