Opening Bell: 09.25.13

Opening Bell: 09.25.13

ICAP Former Brokers Face Felony Charges in Libor Case (Bloomberg)
Three former ICAP Plc employees were charged by U.S. prosecutors and the interdealer broker was fined $ 88 million as the five-year-old probe into the rigging of benchmark interest rates ensnared another financial institution. The brokers were charged with two counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement today. ICAP, the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks, was fined $ 65 million by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and 14 million pounds ($ 22.5 million) by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, the regulators said in separate statements.

Pakistan Earthquake That Created New Island Kills 271 People (Bloomberg)
The quake struck 41 miles (66 kilometers) north-northeast of Awaran in Balochistan province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its website. An island measuring 100 meters (328 feet) in length and about 35 feet in height emerged off the Gwadar coast after the quake, Moazzam Jah Ansari, the district police chief, said by phone today.

Prosecutors Pursue Big SAC Settlement (WSJ)
Federal prosecutors, seeking to cap a major chapter in an insider-trading crackdown, proposed settling a criminal case against hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors LP for $ 1.5 billion to $ 2 billion, people familiar with the case said. At a meeting late last week at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, SAC lawyers argued for a lower settlement amount—and that a separate $ 616 million civil regulatory penalty SAC agreed to pay earlier this year be deducted from any criminal sanction, according to the people. SAC lawyers are expected to present a counteroffer to prosecutors in coming weeks, the people said.

Wall Street Wistful About New York Life Without Mayor Bloomberg (Reuters)
“There is a great deal of wistfulness and preemptive nostalgia for Bloomberg within the industry,” said one Wall Street executive who asked to remain anonymous because he did not want to be seen as publicly taking sides in the election.

Monte dei Paschi hopes to buy time on $ 3.4 billion fundraising: sources (Reuters)
Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena has delayed approval of a restructuring plan because it is hoping the European Commission will give it more time to raise a planned 2.5 billion euros ($ 3.4 billion), two sources close to the situation said.

CNBC Host Uses Indian Accent, Makes 7-Eleven Joke (Gawker)
Early Friday morning on CNBC Squawk Box, host Joe Kernen had some really interesting things to say about rupees. Actually he didn’t, but that didn’t stop him from adopting an Indian accent while talking about the currency.

AIG’s Benmosche Backs Off Inflammatory Comments (MoneyBeat, earlier)
American International Group Inc. chief executive Robert Benmosche said Tuesday that he regretted his phrasing when he compared the outrage about banker pay during the financial crisis to inflammatory rhetoric from the civil-rights era. “It was a poor choice of words. I never meant to offend anyone by it,” he said in a statement.

Klarman Returns Money To Investors (NYP)
The so-called smart money is bailing. That seems to be the message from hedgie Seth Klarman, who is telling investors in his $ 28 billion Baupost Group that he’s going to give them some of their money back at the end of the year. The fourth-largest hedge fund in the US wants to limit its size to $ 25 billion, according to Institutional Investor, which first reported the news.

Regulators Look Into Timing Of Trades (NYP)
US regulators are looking into how trading in financial instruments linked to gold in New York and Chicago occurred so quickly after the release of a Federal Reserve statement in Washington last week. “It’s standard practice to look at moves like this from a surveillance perspective,” Bart Chilton, a Democratic commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said in a statement Tuesday.

China Beige Book Shows Slowdown, Opposite Official Data (Bloomberg)
Increases in business-investment and real estate revenue also slowed, while service industries picked up and employees became tougher to find, the survey from New York-based China Beige Book International said yesterday. The report is based on responses from 2,000 people from Aug. 12 to Sept. 4 as well as 32 in-depth interviews conducted later in September.

Las Vegas Oddsmakers Eye Twitter IPO (NYP)
Las Vegas is putting its money on Twitter listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Kevin Bradley, the Sportsbook Manager at Bovada.lv., puts the odds of the San Francisco microblogging site choosing the NYSE at 4 to 7 — a clear favorite…Nasdaq’s odds for grabbing the listing is 7 to 5, according to Bradley. Although it’s unusual for bookies to formulate odds on a Wall Street IPO, Bradley says that the buzz around popular tech companies like Twitter make them good betting plays. “We offered odds on the Facebook IPO back when it went public,” Bradley noted via email.

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