Posts tagged with "Reuters"

Trump Organization receives maximum fine for New York tax fraud scheme

January 16, 2023

On Friday, January 13, the Trump Organization received the maximum fine under New York law after it was convicted last month of running a 15-year tax fraud scheme, reports Axios.

A New York judge ruled that a pair of the former president’s business entities must pay a $1.6 million penalty, the AP first divulged. The Trump Organization said it plans to appeal the ruling, per Reuters.

Last month, Trump Organization subsidiaries Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp. were convicted of 17 felonies, which included criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records, and conspiracy.

  • Under New York law, the company faced up to a $1.6 million fine from the verdict.
  • Trump and his family were not charged in the case.
  • Earlier this week, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail for his role in the scheme. He was taken into custody and is expected to serve his sentence at Rikers Island in New York.
  • Weisselberg pleaded guilty in August to assisting in the scheme and admitted to 15 felonies.

Friday’s ruling could lead to additional consequences if companies that are not allowed to conduct business with felons choose to cancel their contracts with the organization, ABC News reports.

In addition, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a civil lawsuit accusing the former president and members of his family of financial fraud and referring them to federal prosecutors and the IRS for criminal investigation.

Research contact: @axios

FTX confirms ‘unauthorized transactions,’ as upwards of $1B in crypto reportedly vanishes

November 15, 2022

Embattled cryptocurrency exchange FTX announced on Saturday, November12, that it would move funds into offline storage after reporting “unauthorized transactions.” Analysts said millions of dollars’ worth of assets—$1 billion or more—had been withdrawn from the platform, reports Fox Business.

Indeed, according to Fox, a full-fledged liquidity crisis forced FTX to file for bankruptcy on Friday, November 11.

Two sources told Reuters that FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried—in a meeting he confirmed took place—shared records with other senior executives that revealed the financial hole. Spreadsheets reportedly showed that between $1 and $2 billion dollars of the funds were not accounted for among Alameda’s assets and that the spreadsheets did not indicate where the money had been moved.

Reuters, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported that at least $1 billion of customer funds had disappeared and that people told the news outlet that Bankman-Fried transferred millions  of customer funds from FTX to his trading company Alameda Research.

Further, CNBC reports, the quant trading firm Sam Bankman-Fried founded was able to quietly use customer funds from his exchange FTX in a way that flew under the radar of investors, employees, and auditors in the process. The way they did it was by using billions from FTX users without their knowledge, says the source.

Today, Bankman-Fried’s wealth, which was estimated to be $15.6 billion earlier in the month, also has disappeared, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The index currently estimates Bankman-Fried has no material wealth.

“Following the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings—FTX US and FTX [dot] com initiated precautionary steps to move all digital assets to cold storage. Process was expedited this evening—to mitigate damage upon observing unauthorized transactions,” FTX U.S. General Counsel Ryne Miller tweeted.

Cold storage refers to crypto wallets that are not connected to the Internet to guard against hackers.

Miller had previously written that FTX was “investigating abnormalities with wallet movements related to consolidation of FTX balances across exchanges,” although noting that facts were unclear “as other movements [were] not clear.”

An administrator in the official FTX Telegram channel wrote that “Ftx has been hacked.”

That administrator told users not to visit the FTX site “as it might download Trojans,” adding, “Some funds were retrieved.”

Coindesk reports that the message was pinned by Miller.

FTX did not immediately return Fox Business’ request for comment on the matter.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

Boebert is locked in unexpectedly close race, as some constituents say they’re tired of a ‘mini Trump’

November 15, 2022

In the heart of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, a rural region spanning much of the southwestern part of the state, some people who voted for Republican U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert two years ago said they were fed up with what seemed like her desire to grab the national spotlight instead of fighting for them, reports NBC News.

The Donald Trump loyalist’s surprisingly close race against little-known Democrat and former Aspen city councilman Adam Frisch has become one of the nation’s most closely watched midterm election battles over a seat most political observers thought Boebert would win easily.

As of Friday morning, November 11, Frisch trailed Boebert by 1,122 votes in the U.S. House race. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report had rated the district as solidly Republican ahead of Tuesday’s election. Trump won the district twice—capturing 53.1% of the vote in 2016 and 52.9% four years later.

The results of the Boebert-Frisch showdown are likely to lead to a recount as control of the House hangs in the balance. Under state law, an automatic recount is required when a margin of victory in an election is less than or equal to 0.5% of the winner’s vote. Losing candidates may also request a recount at their own expense.

Apple Gibson, 69, of Pueblo County, who is registered as Independent, said she usually votes Republican but not this time around: “Her loud mouth; she’s a mini Trump. That was a turnoff,” Gibson said when asked why she switched her vote this time. Gibson said she believed Boebert wanted to create jobs at the expense of the Rocky Mountain region’s natural beauty and landscape.

Boebert could not be reached for comment Friday.

Observers said Frisch has gotten this far by running a steady campaign as a moderate Democrat who sometimes spoke out against President Joe Biden’s policies, got a head start on fundraising, and took advantage of a polarizing Republican incumbent who turned some voters off.

“He was just kinda written off,” said Steve Welchert, a Colorado-based Democratic political consultant, referring to how local and national Democrats never gave Frisch much of a shot to win. “The truth is, he did this by himself.”

Boebert, who was voted into office after besting five-term incumbent Scott Tipton in the 2020 primary, has helped Frisch by being an unwavering Trump loyalist and one of Congress’ most conservative members, some said.

“What she really cared about was being a television star,” Welchert said.

Frisch said on MSNBC on Friday that the race’s closeness can be partly attributed to citizens’ frustration. “Our country has been harmed by our current representative,” he said. “Our veterans have been harmed by our current representative. And our district has been ignored for two years while she’s been on this entertainment national circus.”

On the campaign trail, he vowed to improve medical care for military veterans, protect natural resources, and support abortion rights.

“I trust women and believe each woman deserves the freedom to choose what is best for her, her body, her family, and her future,” Frisch wrote on his campaign site.

His plan to remain competitive in a congressional race that includes rural Pueblo in southern Colorado and Grand Junction along the state’s western slope has worked, said Seth Masket, a Political Science professor at the University of Denver.

“A lot of this is about Boebert,” he said. “She’s been all about drawing a lot of attention to herself. Her style may have cost Republicans a seat that they should not be losing.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Kanye West erupts after Adidas puts Yeezy partnership ‘under review’

October 10, 2022

Kanye West’s partnership with sportswear manufacturer Adidas is “under review,” the company said on Thursday, October 6—and the star is not happy about the decision, reports Fox Business.

In a profanity-laced Instagram post, West scrutinized the sports retailer and claimed that the German multinational corporation “stole” his designs, according to TMZ.

“F—K ADIDAS,” West said in the since-deleted post to his nearly 18 million followers. “I AM ADIDAS,” he added. “ADIDAS RAPED AND STOLE MY DESIGNS.”

The German sports clothing manufacturer—the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world behind Nike—has maintained a business partnership with West to produce his Yeezy product line.

However, the company announced the review days after West wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt at a Paris fashion show and after he called the Black Lives Matter movement a “scam” on social media.

“After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review,” Adidas said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We will continue to co-manage the current product during this period.”

“Adidas has always been about creativity, innovation and supporting athletes and artists to achieve their vision,” the statement continued. “The Adidas Yeezy partnership is one of the most successful collaborations in our industry’s history.”

Adidas added: “All successful partnerships are rooted in mutual respect and shared values.”

West often takes to social media to voice his opinions and criticisms, including some in recent months that have been specifically addressed to Adidas and its CEO. The two have been partnering together since 2013, Reuters reported.

West previously partnered with Nike, from 2007 to 2013, when he famously released his Red Octobers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The star first

In West’s current agreement with Adidas, the star lends the company the rights to design and manufacture Yeezy products. In return, West receives about 15% royalties, according to the Journal.

The current deal runs through 2026. As recently as last month, West threatened to walk away from the agreement and to take the Yeezy line solo.

Adidas’ review announcement comes less than a month after West announced he was terminating his partnership with clothing retail company Gap.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

New Zealand to price sheep and cow burps to cut greenhouse gases

June 9, 2022

On Wednesday, June 8, New Zealand  released a draft plan to put a price on agricultural emissions, in a bid to tackle one of the country’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases: belching sheep and cattle, reports NBC News.

The proposal—first released by Reuters—would make New Zealand, a large agricultural exporter, the first country to have farmers pay for emissions from livestock, the Ministry for Environment said.

New Zealand, home to 5 million people, raises about 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep. Nearly half its total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane—but agricultural emissions have previously been exempted from the country’s emissions trading scheme, drawing criticism of the government’s commitment to stop global warming.

Under the draft plan, put together by government and farm community representatives, farmers will have to pay for their gas emissions starting in 2025. Short-and long-lived farm gas will be priced separately, although a single measure to calculate their volume will be used.

“There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that,” Climate Change Minister James Shaw said.

The proposal includes incentives for farmers who reduce emissions through feed additives, while on-farm forestry can be used to offset emissions. Revenue from the scheme will be invested in research, development, and advisory services for farmers.

“Our recommendations enable sustainable food and fiber production for future generations while playing a fair part in meeting our country’s climate commitments,” said Michael Ahie, chair of the primary sector partnership, He Waka Eke Noa.

The proposal would potentially be the biggest regulatory disruption to farming since the removal of agricultural subsidies in the 1980s, said Susan Kilsby, agricultural economist at ANZ Bank.

A final decision on the scheme is expected in December.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Putin ominously warns Sweden of Russian ‘response’ if it joins NATO alongside Finland

May 17, 2022

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday, May 16, that her nation will formally apply to join NATO; in unity with Finland, which had stated its intentions the day before.

Her announcement came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that there will be consequences that “could be nuclear” if both countries join forces with the North Atlantic alliance, reports Forbes.

Andersson confirmed Sweden’s NATO bid a day after Finnish President Sauli Niinisto  announced  his country’s intention to join the alliance.

Speaking at a meeting in Moscow earlier Monday with several Kremlin-aligned leaders, Putin said Sweden and Finland joining NATO would “certainly provoke our response” according to Reuters’ translation  of his comments.

According to Forbes, Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids break a long history of neutrality for the Nordic countries in a move that would add a significant land border between Russia and the military alliance—and represent a major fallout from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which Putin said was due to NATO’s increasing eastern presence.

Putin did not specify on Monday what Russia may do, should its Nordic neighbors join NATO, saying Russia “will see what threats are created for us,” according to Reuters.

Although Putin didn’t say Monday, the Kremlin has previously suggested it may respond to Finland and Sweden’s NATO potential accession with nuclear weapons.

Last month, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said Russia may deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea, should Finland and Sweden join NATO—and a presenter on the state-run Russia-1 television station said on May 15 that Russia will have “no choice” but to deploy nuclear weapons to “neutralize” the threat, according to the BBC’s translation.

Putin said Monday he has “no problem” with Finland and Sweden and that the two joining NATO doesn’t pose a “direct threat” to Russia, The New York Times reported.

Putin’s statement strays from the Kremlin’s prior comments about the countries’ NATO bids, as the Russian Foreign Ministry said last week that the move would threaten to upend the “stability and security” of Northern Europe, indicating the Russian government is on its back foot following the historic applications from Finland and Sweden.

Research contact: @Forbes

USA to announce hundreds of millions in new security assistance to Ukraine

April 14, 2022

On Wednesday, April 13, sources close to the Biden Administration said America would announce hundreds of millions of dollars in new military assistance to Ukraine, reports CNN.

The final amount had not been confirmed as of Tuesday, but most estimated that the bottom line would be $700 million, with President Joe Biden using his drawdown authority to authorize the new aid package for Ukraine.

Reuters first reported on the new security assistance package.

If approved, the addition of approximately $800 million in security assistance would bring the total aid to Ukraine to more than $3 billion since the start of the Biden Administration—including nearly $2.5 billion since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s 2020 defense budget was only about $6 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. In less than two months, the United States has provided nearly half of that in security assistance, underscoring the pace at which the White House has worked to send in weaponry and equipment.

U.S. shipments of an $800 million security assistance package approved in mid-March will likely wrap up by the middle of April, a senior defense official said Tuesday. And a $100 million package of Javelin anti-armor systems approved in early April will also likely complete delivery very soon, the official added. These packages came from Defense Department inventories, making it relatively easy and quick to transfer the weapons and systems to Ukraine.

According to a draft list of the shipment described to CNN that had been sent to Congress, the Administration was considering the delivery of weapons systems to Ukraine that would include MI-17 helicopters, coastal sea drones, Howitzers, armored Humvees, and other weapons that had been in previous aid packages.

As of Tuesday night, two sources said helicopters had been removed from the list, which officials say is heavily caveated, with items regularly changed or removed up until it receives the final authorization and signature from Biden.

On April 1, the White House also authorized a separate $300 million in security assistance to Ukraine, but this package will take more time, since it has to be procured from defense contractors first.

Research contact: @CNN

Biden agrees ‘in principle’ to meet with Putin, if Russia has not invaded Ukraine

Febraury 22, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden has accepted “in principle” a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in what could represent a last-ditch effort at diplomacy over tensions surrounding Ukraine and a possible avenue to avert a looming invasion directed by Moscow, reports CNBC.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Sunday evening, February 20,  that the summit between the two world leaders would happen following a meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. That meeting is scheduled for later this week.

Psaki noted that the agreement is conditioned on Moscow holding off on an invasion.

“As the President has repeatedly made clear, we are committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins,” Psaki said in a statement. “President Biden accepted in principle a meeting with President Putin following that engagement, again, if an invasion hasn’t happened. We are always ready for diplomacy.”

The Kremlin said on Monday, February 21, that there were currently no concrete plans for a meeting between Putin and Biden, according to Reuters.

News of a possible one-on-one between Biden and Putin comes as the White House warns that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could come at any time. Moscow has for weeks built up its military force on its ex-Soviet neighbor’s northern and eastern borders, with recent totals putting Russia’s force at about 190,000.

Research contact: @CNBC

French pet care firm stops selling goldfish bowls because they drive fish crazy

January 28, 2022

French pet care market leader AgroBiothers Laboratoire has announced that it will no longer sell any aquariums with a capacity of less than 4 gallons—and then only rectangular ones—because putting fish in small bowls without filtration and oxygenation is animal abuse, Canoe reports.

“People buy a goldfish for their kids on impulse, but if they knew what a torture it is, they would not do it. Turning round and round in a small bowl drives fish crazy and kills them quickly,” AgroBiothers CEO Matthieu Lambeaux recently told Reuters.

Goldfish can live up to 30 years and grow to about 10 inches in big aquariums or outdoor ponds, but in tiny bowls they often die within weeks or months.

Lambeaux says that goldfish are social animals who need the company of other fish, ample space, and clean water—and that having an aquarium requires a minimum of equipment and expertise.

France is Europe’s number one market for red aquarium fish, with about 2.3 million fish, according to Lambeaux.

Germany and several other European countries have long banned fish bowls, but France has no legislation on the issue.

“It is a French anachronism; that is why we decided to move. We cannot educate all our customers to explain that keeping fish in a bowl is cruel. We consider that it is our responsibility to no longer give consumers that choice,” Lambeaux said.

AgroBiothers, which has a French market share of about 27% in pet care products, sold about 50,000 fish bowls per year at about US$20 apiece in previous years.

“There is demand for fish bowls, but the reality is that what we offer children is the possibility to see gold fish die slowly,” he said.

Research contact: @Canoe

Peloton sues Lululemon in dispute over new apparel line

November 29, 2021

Peloton Interactive, the exercise bike company, has sued Lululemon Athletica after the athletic apparel maker threatened its own lawsuit over Peloton’s new apparel line, reports Reuters.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday night, November 24—just 2-1/2 months after Peloton launched its apparel brand following the end of its five-year co-branding relationship with Lululemon, a break Peloton characterized as amicable.

Peloton said Lululemon’s claims that five of its women’s bra and legging products – Strappy Bra, High Neck Bra, Cadent Peak Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Bra and Cadent Laser Dot Leggings—infringed on six Lululemon design patents “lack any merit.”

The new apparel line could help New York-based Peloton rely less on its bikes and treadmills, after sales growth slowed because more people received COVID-19 vaccines and stayed home less.

In a November 11 letter, Lululemon’s lawyer said the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company would sue Peloton unless it stopped selling its new apparel.

But Peloton said its products and Lululemon’s designs are easy to tell apart, and Lululemon’s designs are too “obvious” to deserve patent protection.

“On top of the numerous clear and obvious differences in design, Peloton and Lululemon’s brands and logos are also distinctive and well-recognized, making confusion between products a virtual impossibility,” Peloton said.

Peloton wants a court declaration that it has not infringed Lululemon patents and trade dress, and that Lululemon’s patent claims are invalid.

“At Lululemon we are known for our product innovation and iconic design,” Lululemon said in a statement on Friday, November 26. “We will defend our proprietary rights, to protect the integrity of our brand, and to safeguard our intellectual property.”

In late morning trading, Peloton shares were up $1.76, or 4%, at $45.68, as investors worried that a new coronavirus variant would spread and keep more people at home longer.

The case is Peloton Interactive Inc v Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-10071.

 Research contact: Reuters