Germany has admitted that the number of victims of far-right crimes may be far higher than reported. According to Der Spiegel, German Interior Ministry say police have re-examined a total of 3,300 unsolved killings and attempted murders between 1990 and 2011 and have concluded that there could be far-right involvement in 746 open cases with 849 victims. For years, police had ruled out right-wing extremism as the motive behind those killings.
"In a total of 746 cases across Germany there were leads in that direction," ministry spokesman Hendrik Lörges told reporters in Berlin. "Let me stress that at the moment there are only indications that may not stand up to scrutiny," he said. We should wait and see in how many cases this gets verified."
At the same time, Germany's 16 states are moving to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) after the federal government failed spectacularly a decade ago to outlaw a party its critics say shows an affinity for Hitler's Nazis. According to a report in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the application will focus less on the NPD's xenophobic and antisemitic rhetoric and more on its anti-constitutional tendencies. The party's stated aim is to create "a community of physically and spiritually homogeneous people".
Plenty of talk lately about the US Justice Department investigation into JP Morgan's China ties and decisions to hire the children of China's ruling elite. Basically, they're looking at whether the bank swapped contracts and jobs for business deals with state-owned companies. The investigation began with an examination of the bank's decision to hire the daughter of a Chinese railway official and the son of a former banking regulator who is now the chairman of a state-controlled financial conglomerate. The contract with the consulting firm of Wen Ruchun, 40, indicates that the bank's hiring practices also touched the highest rungs of political power in China. Her father was premier from 2003 until earlier this year. Her mother has served as a government official with oversight of the nation's gem and diamond industry. And since 2006, Wen Ruchun's husband has been an official at the China Banking Regulatory Commission, according to online database China Vitae.
Now we have reports that authorities have obtained spreadsheets that list the bank's "track record" for converting hires into business deals. The New York Times goes into more detail.
All this is in breach of the the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1977 law that makes it illegal for United States companies to exchange "anything of value" with foreign officials to win "an improper advantage" in obtaining business.
Bernie Madoff is now serving a 150 year sentence for orchestrating the world's biggest Ponzi scheme which siphoned $17.5 billion from thousands of investors, wiping them out in a long-running, pyramid-style deception. But he dropped JP Morgan right in it when he told investigators the bank was complicit in his scheme and turned a blind eye to it, leaving him alone because he was one of their big clients. JP Morgan has always said it didn't know about or participate in the fraud.
Now The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Justice department is examining why JP Morgan didn't provide US regulators with a formal "suspicious activity report" raising concerns about Madoff. The paper tells us the JP Morgan is negotiating a settlement with the Justice Department that will likely include a deferred-prosecution agreement and a fine relating to alleged inadequate warnings about Mr. Madoff. A deferred-prosecution agreement is a pact under which a company pays a penalty and prosecutors file charges that are dismissed after a set period if the company lives up to certain conditions.
In other words, JP Morgan escapes prosecution for its collusion with Madoff. Another example of how banks are a protected species in the United States.