And in the most-interesting of them all, the NYT goes C1 with news that the feds arrested the girlfriend of Samuel Israel III, the ex-Bayou hedge-fund manager, for helping him flee after faking his suicide last week.
The girlfriend denied her role for ten days but finally folded yesterday and admitted she helped Israel carry out the ruse, which involved an RV, a motor scooter, a GMC Envoy and a dust-scrawled note saying “suicide is painless” near a bridge. Ahh, that dry New York Times wit:
When Mr. Israel’s body failed to turn up and the message turned out to be the theme song of “M*A*S*H,” authorities began to suspect he was on the run…
According to a wanted poster released by the United States Marshals Service on Thursday afternoon, the vehicle Mr. Israel is suspected of using as a getaway car was a white 2007 Coachmen Freelander…
The marshals said the public should be on the lookout for Mr. Israel in “R.V. parks, campgrounds or highway rest areas,” and added that he had been known to use the aliases of Sam Ryan and David S. Clapp.
Try outrunning the coppers in that!
Israel pleaded guilty three years ago to defrauding investors of $400 million and was sentenced to 20 years in prison a couple of months ago.
Sandy’s house of sand
The Journal says analysts predict as much as $10 billion in write-downs in the second quarter on losses on its leveraged buyout loans and those linked to bond-insurer downgrades. The FT says Citi’s consumer businesses, including mortgages and credit cards, were likely to take hits also. The NYT in the C1 story on valuing assets mentioned above drops that its chief financial officer Gary Crittenden said the bank will use its own “internal models” instead of just market prices, since they’re so low. Here’s the Journal:
Mr. Crittenden’s remarks were the latest indication that giant banks such as Citigroup are continuing to struggle with write-downs on their securities portfolios. In recent months, some investors had bet that those losses were largely in banks’ rearview mirrors.
That rosy outlook may have stemmed in part from past comments by bank executives, including Mr. Crittenden. In April, discussing Citigroup’s first-quarter results, Mr. Crittenden hinted that the worst of the write-downs was likely over.
Whoops! He was just off by several billion bucks in a couple of months.
China flexes it muscles
The Journal and the FT front news that China raised its energy prices, a move that will dampen demand and that the papers say helped send oil prices down $4 a barrel on the day to $132.32. The Journal:
China, widely seen as the one nation most responsible for the soaring demand and price of oil in recent years, reminded the world it can nudge both in the other direction as well.
China raised its price controls for gasoline and diesel 17 to 18 percent—the biggest hike in more than ten years—and its electricity prices by 5 percent. The FT in its lede says the move could boost its “already high” rate of inflation and that before the price jump, China’s subsidies helped make its gas prices 40 percent below those in the U.S.
The NYT notes the environmental benefits of higher energy prices:
The government has come under intense pressure recently from both environmentalists and other governments to ease up on its fuel subsidies, which are blamed for distorting global markets, encouraging greater consumption and pushing oil prices higher for other nations.
Big Brother is listening
Congress agreed to “the most sweeping rewrite of U.S. domestic-spying power in three decades,” as the Journal puts it on A1 and as the NYT concurs on A1, in a move that if passed would give legal immunity to the telecommunications companies who helped the government’s eavesdropping program. The companies, including AT&T face about forty lawsuits for that activity.