Congo President’s Daughter Charged With Corruption in France

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Investigators have widened a corruption probe into the French assets of three African ruling families, charging the daughter and son-in-law of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, judicial sources told AFP on Sunday. Julienne Sassou Nguesso, 50, and her 53-year-old husband Guy Johnson were placed under investigation this week for “money laundering and misuse of public funds”, the sources said.

Investigators are trying to determine how the couple in 2006 were able to purchase a mansion valued at 3 million euros ($3.4 million) in the swanky Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine just north of the ritzy 16th arrondissement, according to a judicial source.

The tentacles of the case also reach out to ruling families in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Julienne Sassou Nguesso is an insurance agent by profession and her husband is a lawyer…..Congo Presidents Daughter Charged with Corruption

Women Are Finding Progress in Finance

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Women Are Finding Slow But Steady Progress in Finance. Female executives are seeing more positive shifts in their quest for full equality.

Jeff Bounds reports: After coming to Dallas early in her banking career, Carla Brooks got a surprise at a private club atop a downtown skyscraper, where a man had invited her for a business lunch. “We had to go to a separate dining room where women were allowed,” the Midwest native says of that late 1970s episode. “The main dining room was part of the men’s section.” Things have changed for women executives like Brooks, who today manages private equity funds’ investments in banks for Dallas-based Commerce Street Investment Management.

Where finding women in the boss’ office was once scarce, Elaine Agather, who helms both the 12,000-employee North Texas operation for JPMorgan Chase and the 200-employee southern region of its private bank, says she not only has a female boss, but sees women running the company’s consumer bank and credit card business.

“It’s not been directed from above,” Agather says about women’s high-level roles at Chase. “It’s because we have received opportunities and the support to be successful here.”
Despite decades of diversity efforts, management and executive roles in banking and finance remain male-dominated, an issue that crosses industries and job duties. In 2015, women made up 2.8 percent of CEOs in 60 finance and insurance companies in the S&P 500, according to Catalyst, a New York-based research and advocacy nonprofit….Women are finding progress in Finance

Your Money, Your Goals

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Effective Financial Literacy: What Youths Need to Know, When They Need to Know It. Emily Appel-Newby reports:  Almost 20 percent of all young people around age 15 are not financially literate — they don’t have skills like budgeting income and expenses, pulling a credit report or understanding the terms of a credit card. Young people who live in lower-income homes are even less likely to be financially literate. Research also indicates that the benefits associated with typical financial education classes are often short-lived: Participants gain some immediate short-term knowledge, but their ability to translate that knowledge into practice later is less likely.

The CFPB developed the toolkit in 2014 so that frontline staff who work directly with clients have ready-made, practical tools to help them build financial skills. The toolkit, which is free and available on the CFPB’s website, contains more than 35 tools that can be used with a variety of clients at different stages of life, including those getting their first jobs and transitioning to living independently. Tools are arranged in nine modules:

  • Setting goals and planning for large purchases.
  • Saving for emergencies, bills and goals.
  • Tracking and managing income and benefits.
  • Paying bills and other expenses.
  • Getting through the month (cash flow).
  • Dealing with debt.
  • Understanding credit reports and scores.
  • Money services, cards, accounts and loans.
  • Protecting your money.

Effective Financial Literacy

Wilhelm Busch: Teacher Lämpel (from Max and Moritz)

Female CEOs Make More Than Their Male Counterparts

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– but there are a lot less of them.

New data shows that the median pay for female CEOs was $1.5 million more than their male counterparts.

Women CEOs earned big bucks last year, but there’s still very few of them running the world’s largest companies.

The median pay for a female CEO was $13.1 million last year, up 9 percent from 2015, according to an analysis by executive data firm Equilar and The Associated Press. By comparison, male CEOs earned $11.4 million, also up 9 percent.

But the number of women in CEO roles has barely budged. Just 6 percent of the top paid CEOs in the U.S. last year were women, according to the Equilar and AP analysis, a slight increase from about 5 percent in 2015 and 2014.

The highest paid woman was Virginia Rometty of International Business Machines Corp., bumping out Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer from the top spot. Rometty earned $32.3 million last year from the technology company, a 63 percent jump from the year before, mainly due to $12.1 million in stock option awards she didn’t receive in 2015. Highest-paid female CEO? IBM’s Rometty tops Yahoo’s Mayer
Women and Paid Work

A Statue Of A Defiant Girl Now Faces The Wall Street Bull

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The Wall Street statue of the Fearless Girl won a permit to spend 11 months in front of the iconic Charging Bull statue. The roughly four-foot statue has become a social media sensation.

State Street Takes On Wall Street’s Gender Gap
Annalyn Kurtz reports: When the Fearless Girl statue appeared in lower Manhattan in March, it was, for a while, almost impossible to escape her. Here was a little girl, about four feet tall, staring down the massive bronze Charging Bull, a testosterone-charged symbol of Wall Street bravado. The imagery was captivating: High finance, Fearless Girl affirmed, was a woman’s world too.

The statue quickly became a sensation. Queues of tourists crowded around her to snap selfies, mimicking her Wonder Woman stance, hands on hips and chin held high. By one estimate, she drew more than 500,000 social media mentions in just one day. She was originally meant to stay at the Bowling Green ­plaza for only a week, but thousands signed a petition to make her a permanent public work of art, and by the end of March, the city of New York had agreed to let her stay for a year.

 But Fearless Girl had a commercial side too. The statue was part of a marketing push by State Street Global ­Advisors (stt), the $2.56 trillion asset-­management arm of financial giant State Street Corp. A plaque at her feet included a plug for SHE, a State Street exchange-traded fund that invests only in companies committed to gender diversity. Her ­arrival also coincided with State Street putting thousands of other companies on notice. The company announced that, as an institutional investor, it would vote against corporate boards that don’t make strides in adding women to their ranks…Fortune.com

Jeremy Nguyen
www.twitter.com/jeremywins

The Malta Files: How The Smallest EU Country Became A Haven For Global Tax Avoidance

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The Mediterranean republic of Malta operates a tax system where companies pay the lowest tax on profits in the EU – only five per cent.

Over the last three months, journalistic network European Investigative Collaborations EIC dug into over 150,000 documents that show how international companies take advantage of this system, using Malta as a pirate base for tax avoidance in the EU.

Although benefiting from the advantages of EU membership, Malta also welcomes large companies and wealthy private clients looking to dodge taxes in their home countries. This has made Malta a target for firms linked to the Italian mafia, Russian loan sharks and the highest echelons of the Turkish elite.

This damages the budgets of other EU countries, and reveals a weakness in the union, which allows member states sovereign rights over their taxation. The research was undertaken by the EIC, which has brought together 12 media and over 40 journalists in 16 countries.

This is how the scheme works:
A company in Geneva, London or Paris can open a parent firm in Malta, where it is taxed at 35 per cent, the highest income tax band.

However if the shareholders of the company are not based in Malta, and the bulk of the firm’s business does not take place in Malta, the Maltese Inland Revenue can refund up to 6/7 of this amount to the company.

De facto, this makes corporate tax in Malta only five per cent.
This compares to an EU average of around 22 per cent. In 2015, this scheme saw a shortfall of almost four billion Euro in taxes, according to a study by newspaper Malta Today. This figure has been steadily rising year on year. This is money “lost” to both the Maltese exchequer and to the tax base of European countries where the companies are headquartered.

Even if this situation appears legal, it seems Malta has not met all the requirements to control possible fraud cases associated with the fiscal status of the islands state. Malta joined the EU in 2004 and holds the EU Presidency between January and June 2017 – during a climate where the fight against tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering is top of the EU agenda.

Maltese Finance Minister Edward Scicluna says that due to Malta’s location and lack of natural resources, the country must be attractive for international companies.

Malta itself is the smallest country in the EU, with only 450,000 people. Its leaders have complained that controlling tax policy is the only tool left for small EU countries to remain competitive.

Using leaked documents and the Maltese company registry, The Black Sea reveals how companies have planned and operated these schemes to deprive countries across the world of valuable revenues…The Blacksea.EU/Malta-Files

Mark Scicluna
www.markscicluna.com

Women Investors Outperformed Men In 2016

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Who’s the better investor – women or men?

Lisa Scherzer reports:  According to a new report published Wednesday by Fidelity Investments, on average women investors performed better than men by 40 basis points, or 0.4%, last year. (It sounds like a pittance, but over time, it can add up; as the graphic below shows.) The Fidelity survey compared investing behavior of 8 million retail customers from January to December 2016.

The perhaps not-so-surprising part of Fidelity’s findings is that when asked who they believed made the better investor this past year, just 9% of women thought they would outperform men.

Analyzing gender differences in investing is practically its own field of finance at this point. As each new study attempts to shed light on which characteristics of each gender might lead to better investment outcomes, a few common themes have emerged – and most are reflected in Fidelity’s report.

Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Here’s why, and what to do about it. Confidence gap

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Too Many Women Jump In The Back Seat When It Comes To Their Finances

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Growing up, I didn’t understand what a stock or a bond was, or how much my parents made, or if we were rich or poor.

Judith Ohikuare and Stacy Francis report: The financial world was very scary to me, and I never pictured myself working in it. Money was not something that my family deemed appropriate to talk about in public — and we didn’t talk about it at home either. Growing up, I didn’t understand what a stock or a bond was, or how much my parents made, or if we were rich or poor. My parents were definitely middle-class, and even though things weren’t always easy for them, they managed to give my brother and me anything that was important to us.

As a teenager, I got a job at a Dairy Queen and started to chip in for my own clothes, which is when I began to learn that things cost a lot of money — and that I’d need to go to college and do something other than work at Dairy Queen if I wanted to have what I considered an abundant life…..A Depressing Reason Women Should Care About Money

Rudolf Schuppler
www.w-t-w.org/en/cartoon/rudolf-schuppler

The Dubious Friends Of Donald Trump Part Two: King Of Diamonds

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Although still in its early days, Donald Trump’s presidency is coming under fire. The Russians are alleged to be in possession of sensitive information about Trump. And that exposes Trump to blackmail. Fake news, tweets Trump: “I have nothing to do with Russia – no deals, no loans, no nothing!” Trump swears he has no ties with the Russians. But is that actually the case?

In the second part of our programme about Donald Trump’s controversial friends, we will set our sights on the Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, who is controversial because he is suspected of trading in blood diamonds. He is one of the world’s biggest diamond traders and owns prestigious stores in New York and Moscow, but he is also the owner of Siebel, the Netherlands’ biggest jewellery chain. Leviev has ties with Russian president Putin, US president Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Trump, however, claims he hardly knows this “King of Diamonds” . Zembla investigates Lev Leviev’s business empire.  The dubious friends of Donald Trump part two: King of Diamonds

Watch the first part of the dubious friends of Donald Trump: ‘the Russians’ here.

Blood Diamond/  Cartoon Movement

 

 

Cartooning for Peace Report

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On World Press Freedom Day, Cartooning for Peace publishes
its first 2016/2017 report on the situation of cartoonists around the world.

Whether their cartoons deal with politics, economics, sport or religion, cartoonists face the same threats as other types of journalists who cover sensitive subjects.

Whether they are victims of censorship, legal proceedings, unfair dismissal, physical assaults or imprisonment, the threats that hang over the cartoonists inform us about the status of democracy at times of insecurity and troubles.

In an international context in which freedom of expression is under frequent attack, it is crucial for cartoonists to express themselves, to share in their experience and recount their struggles. In doing so, they will help us to not close our eyes on what is going on around the world.

“Most importantly, let’s not give up. We should never abandon the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: freedom of expression is one of its pillars, freedom of the press one of its emanations.” Vladimir Vasak, Board member of Cartooning for Peace, Investigative reporter ARTE. Cartooning for Peace Report