Reports: Obama paid $1.7 billion ‘ransom’ to Iran for hostages’ release

The Obama administration has paid a “ransom” of $1.7 billion in U.S. taxpayers’ funds to Iran for the release of American hostages, critics and Iran officials said.

The administration insists the payment was a decades-old legal settlement with Teheran and was not tied to the recent release of five American hostages, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon. The payment was made to Iran prior to the hostages being freed. Continue reading

Deutsche Bank Exodus Continues As Real Estate Chief Leaves For Blackstone

Have you ever wondered which big bank after Lehman Brothers would be next to fall? This is why you see so much shuffling from within and people resigning suddenly and going to work for another institution.

Moreover, with over $72 TRILLIONyes trillion, in derivatives exposure — we have likely found it. To put this tiny bit of risk in perspective, the GDP of Germany itself is a mere humble $2.7 trillion.

This is why Germany is also worried in this high stakes game of chicken. If Greece goes, Deutsche Bank who’s heavily invested will go, and creates the possibility of bringing the country with it. From there you can only see how such a scenario would spread to the rest of the world.

 

Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank’s co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen were shown the door (well, technically they resigned, but with shareholder support plummeting amid skepticism about both financial targets and ongoing legal problems, it’s easy to read between the lines). The bank, which has paid out more than $9 billion over the past three years alone to settle legacy litigation, has become something of a poster child for corrupt corporate culture. Consider the following rundown of the legal problems the bank faced as of the beginning of its 2015 fiscal year:

We are currently the subject of regulatory and criminal industry-wide investigations relating to interbank offered rates, as well as civil actions. Due to a number of uncertainties, including those related to the high profile of the matters and other banks’ settlement negotiations, the eventual outcome of these matters is unpredictable, and may materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and reputation.  Continue reading

Former European leaders call on EU to up pressure on Israel

Letter sent to EU foreign policy chief urges labeling of settlement products, refers to Netanayahu as an obstacle to peace

A group of former high-ranking European officials is set to send EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini a joint letter Wednesday calling on the union to adopt a proactive and more aggressive attitude to pressure Israel on the Palestinian issue.

The letter, which was obtained by the news site Ynet, is addressed to Mogherini and the foreign ministers of EU countries, with copies to US Secretary of State John Kerry, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz. Continue reading

Obama uses EU to confront Israel with tough interlinked choices: borders or nuclear-armed Iran

It doesn’t take a political genius to see how US Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival in Amman Tuesday, July 16, for his sixth bid to bring Israelis and the Palestinians to the table, ties in with the new EU anti-Israel funding guidelines published on the same day. To avoid a head-on clash with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the US president has loosed the Europeans in full cry against Jerusalem and its policies. European Union foreign affairs executive Catherine Ashton chairs the international negotiating forum with Iran. And so, the EU has given Tehran a broad wink that it is worth its while to come to a fresh round of nuclear diplomacy while Israel is kept on the run in the settlements-cum-borders dispute.

Israel is further weakened by its own internal political difficulties. Continue reading