Banker Suicides Return

Banker Suicides Return: DSK’s Hedge Fund Partner Jumps From 23rd Floor Apartment

The summer, thankfully, has been largely bereft of the dismal trend of bankers committing suicide, but as Bloomberg reportsThierry Leyne, a French-Israeli banker and partner of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former chief of the IMF, was found dead Thursday after apparently taking his own life by jumping off the 23rd floor of one of the Yoo towers, a prestigious residential complex in Tel Aviv. This is the 16th financial services executive death this year.

Bloomberg reports that Thierry Leyne, the French-Israeli entrepreneur who last year started an investment firm with former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has died. He was 48.

Leyne died yesterday in Tel Aviv, according to his assistant at the firm, who asked not to be identified. Le Figaro newspaper reported that he committed suicide.

Last year, Leyne joined Strauss-Kahn in establishing the Paris-traded firm Leyne, Strauss-Kahn & Partners after the former IMF head bought a 20 percent stake to help develop the investment-banking franchise of Leyne’s company, Luxembourg-based Anatevka SA. Leyne had taken Anatevka public in March 2013 before joining forces with Strauss-Kahn, commonly referred to in France as DSK.

The new partnership — usually called LSK & Partners by using both men’s initials — waspart of Strauss-Kahn’s efforts to rebuild his post-IMF life after he was charged in 2011 of criminal sex, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and the forcible touching of a chambermaid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan. Strauss-Kahn denied the charges, which were later dropped. He settled the maid’s lawsuit in 2012.

And NYTimes adds,

Mr. Leyne, 48, jumped off the 23rd floor of one of the Yoo towers, a prestigious residential complex, according to Israeli officials.

Leyne’s Background:

Leyne, who resided in Tel Aviv, built his career as a financier in France, Israel and Luxembourg. He founded the investment firm Assya Capital in 1994 and listed it on Euronext in Paris in 2001. Leyne merged the business with Global Equities Capital Markets in 2010 to provide financial advice and private banking to clients in eastern Europe, Le Figaro reported.

Anatevka, which had a market value of 50 million euros ($63 million) when Strauss-Kahn purchased his stake, controlled the merged entity, known as Assya Compagnie Financiere, offering asset management, brokerage, corporate finance and capital investment. Anatevka had a staff of about 100 people in six countries — Luxembourg, Belgium, Monaco, Israel, Switzerland and Romania — in September 2013.

In 1996, Leyne founded the company Axfin, one of the first independent investment firms in France, according to the website of Assya Capital. Axfin listed on the Paris stock exchange in 1999 before it was bought by Nuremberg, Germany-based Consors Discount Broker AG. Leyne was the supervisory board chairman of Consors France until the end of 2002.

Leyne was born in September 1965, according to French public records. He held French and Israeli citizenship, Figaro said. He had an engineering degree from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, his LinkedIn profile shows.

*  *  *

This is the 16th financial services executive death this year…

1 – William Broeksmit, 58-year-old former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG, was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide in South Kensington in central London, on January 26th.

2 – Karl Slym, 51 year old Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on January 27th.

3 – Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old JP Morgan employee, died after falling from the roof of the JP Morgan European headquarters in London on January 27th.

4 – Mike Dueker, 50-year-old chief economist of a US investment bank was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State.

5 – Richard Talley, the 57 year old founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.

6 – Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, however the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.

7 – Ryan Henry Crane, a 37 year old executive at JP Morgan died in an alleged suicide just a few weeks ago.  No details have been released about his death aside from this small obituary announcement at the Stamford Daily Voice.

8 – Li Junjie, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Morgan HQ in Hong Kong this week.

9 – James Stuart Jr, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO, found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say whatcaused the death

10 – Edmund (Eddie) Reilly, 47, a trader at Midtown’s Vertical Group, commited suicide by jumping in front of LIRR train

11 – Kenneth Bellando, 28, a trader at Levy Capital, formerly investment banking analyst at JPMorgan, jumped to his death from his 6th floor East Side apartment.

12 – Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, the former CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro found dead at home near Amsterdam with wife and daughter.

13 – Li Jianhua, 49, the director of China’s Banking Regulatory Commission died of a sudden heart attack

14 – Lydia _____, 52 - jumped to her suicide from the 14th floor of Bred-Banque Populaire in Paris

15 – Julian Knott, 45 - killed wife and self with a shotgun in Jefferson Township, New Jersey

16 – Thierry Leyne, 48 - jumped from 23rd floor apartment in Tel Aviv.

 

 

IMF Head Christine Lagarde in Paris court in fraud probe

IMF head Christine Lagarde in Paris court in fraud probe

Source

PARIS (AP) — International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is facing questions at a special Paris court Thursday over her role in the 400 million euro ($520 million) payoff to a controversial businessman when she was France’s finance minister.

The court hearing threatens to sully the reputations of both Ms. Lagarde and France. The payment was made to well-connected entrepreneur Bernard Tapie as part of a private arbitration process to settle a dispute with state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over the botched sale of Adidas in the 1990s. It is seen by many in France as an example of the cozy relationship between big money and big power in France.

Ms. Lagarde has earned praise for her negotiating skills as managing director of the IMF through Europe’s debt crisis and is seen as a trailblazer for women leaders. Her decision to let the Adidas dispute go to private arbitration rather than be settled in the courts has drawn criticism, and French lawmakers asked magistrates to investigate.

Ms. Lagarde, smiling at reporters, left her Paris apartment Thursday morning and appeared at a special court that handles cases involving government ministers. She has denied wrongdoing.

At the time of the payment, Mr. Tapie was close to then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was Ms. Lagarde’s boss. Critics have said that the deal was too generous to Mr. Tapie at the expense of the French state and that the case shouldn’t have gone to a private arbitration authority because it involved a state-owned bank.

Investigators opened an inquiry in 2011 into possible charges of “complicity to embezzlement of public funds” and “complicity to forgery.” The probe may not result in a trial. If it does, and if Ms. Lagarde were to be convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

The dispute over the Adidas deal had been dragging through French courts for years, and one question for Ms. Lagarde is why the government didn’t let the courts continue to battle it out.

“What she is being criticized for today is taking the disputes between the bank, Mr. Tapie and the French state out of the national court system and submitting them to three private arbitrators, who decided basically behind closed doors how to resolve the dispute,” said Christopher Mesnooh, a lawyer from Field Fisher Waterhouse in Paris who is not connected to the case.

Ms. Lagarde and the Washington-based IMF were aware of the probe when she took over as managing director of the fund from Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011. The IMF has expressed its confidence in Ms. Lagarde throughout the investigation.

In March, French investigators searched Ms. Lagarde’s Paris home. Her lawyer said at the time that she welcomed the search as a step toward proving her innocence.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici told Le Monde newspaper this week that the government may seek to annul the arbitration deal if enough evidence emerges of wrongdoing.

Mr. Tapie — a flashy tycoon and former football club owner who also has tried his hand as an actor, singer and government minister — insists that he deserved the settlement. He says the investigation into the deal is “bogus,” a politically motivated hunt by the governing Socialists against Mr. Sarkozy’s conservatives. Mr. Tapie himself may be targeted in a separate probe.

Lagarde’s fate doesn’t concern me,” Mr. Tapie said on Europe-1 radio Thursday. “When evidence is discovered, then we’ll talk.”

• Catherine Gaschka contributed to this article.

Read more: http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/23/imf-head-christine-lagarde-paris-court-fraud-probe/#ixzz32aWo4t89
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Prominent Economists Call for End to Fractional Reserve Banking

Submitted by George Washington on 05/01/2014 

Excessive leverage by the banks was one of the main causes of the Great Depression and of the 2008 financial crisis.

As such, lower levels of “fractional reserve banking” – i.e. how many dollars a bank lends out compared to the amount of deposits it has on hand – the more stable the economy will be.

But economist Steve Keen notes (citing Table 10 in Yueh-Yun C. OBrien, 2007. “Reserve Requirement Systems in OECD Countries”, Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve Board):

The US Federal Reserve sets a Required Reserve Ratio of 10%, but applies this only to deposits by individuals; banks have no reserve requirement at all for deposits by companies.

So huge swaths of loans are not subject to any reserve requirements.

Indeed, Ben Bernanke proposed the elimination of all reserve requirements for banks:

The Federal Reserve believes it is possible that, ultimately, its operating framework will allow the elimination of minimum reserve requirements, which impose costs and distortions on the banking system.

Economist Keen informs Washington’s Blog that about 6 OECD countries have already done away with reserve requirements altogether (Australia, Mexico,  Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK).

But there is a growing recognition that this is going in the wrong direction, because fractional reserve banking can destabilize the economy (and credit can easily be created by the government itself.)

It was big news this week when one of the world’s most prominent economics writers – liberal economist Martin Wolf – advocated doing away with fractional reserve banking altogether… i.e. requiring that banks only loan out as much money as they actually have on hand in the form of customer deposits:

Printing counterfeit banknotes is illegal, but creating private money is not. The interdependence between the state and the businesses that can do this is the source of much of the instability of our economies. It could – and should – be terminated.

***

What is to be done? A minimum response would leave this industry largely as it is but both tighten regulation and insist that a bigger proportion of the balance sheet be financed with equity or credibly loss-absorbing debt. I discussed this approach last week. Higher capital is the recommendation made by Anat Admati of Stanford and Martin Hellwig of the Max Planck Institute in The Bankers’ New Clothes.

A maximum response would be to give the state a monopoly on money creation. One of the most important such proposals was in the Chicago Plan, advanced in the 1930s by, among others, a great economist, Irving Fisher. Its core was the requirement for100 per cent reserves against deposits. Fisher argued that this would greatly reduce business cycles, end bank runs and drastically reduce public debt. A 2012 study by International Monetary Fund staff suggests this plan could work well.

Similar ideas have come from Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University in Jimmy Stewart is Dead, and Andrew Jackson and Ben Dyson in Modernising Money.

***

Opponents will argue that the economy would die for lack of credit. I was once sympathetic to that argument. But only about 10 per cent of UK bank lending has financed business investment in sectors other than commercial property. We could find other ways of funding this.

Our financial system is so unstable because the state first allowed it to create almost all the money in the economy and was then forced to insure it when performing that function. This is a giant hole at the heart of our market economies. It could be closed by separating the provision of money, rightly a function of the state, from the provision of finance, a function of the private sector.

(The IMF study is here.)

In fact, a lot of experts have backed this or similar proposals, including:

Interestingly, the Chicago Plan for full reserve banking came very close to passing in 1934. But the unfortunate death of one of its main Congressional sponsors – Senator Bronson M. Cutting  – in a plane crash reversed the momentum for the bill.

As Wikipedia notes:

Cutting played a key role in the political struggles over the reform of banking which Roosevelt undertook while dealing with the Great Depression, and which resulted in the Banking Reform Acts of 1933 and 1935. As a supporter of the Chicago Plan proposed by economist Irving Fisher and others at the University of Chicago, Cutting was among a handful of influential Senators who might have been able to remove from the private banks their ability to manipulate the money supply by enforcing a 100 percent reserve requirement for all credit creation, as stipulated in the Chicago Plan. His unfortunate death in an airliner crash cut short what may have been his most enduring legacy to the nation.