WikiLeaks and Financial Regulation News to Know This Blizzard

If you are in the northeast you are more than likely stranded at home and hopefully you’ve got power, water, broadband and cable/telco TV. While you’re there enjoying the first snow of the season and contemplating the reality of global warming as you shovel, feel free to take a break and catch up on the following news about leaks and banks.


Julian Assange Temporarily $1.5M Richer

Julian Assange will write an autobiography and get paid $1.5M for the trouble. He says he needs to write the book to defend himself against charges of sexual assault brought on by two women in Sweden and further explains these cases have already cost him 200,000 pounds.

The WikiLeaks situation is one of the greatest demonstrations of hypocrisy I have ever witnessed. Many people who say Assange is a terrorist and should be killed or brought up on charges, etc are pundits at news organizations. Ironically, these same people are using the information in the leaks either to support their positions or as part of their news delivery. Apparently you can have it both ways.

International Regulators Struggle to Prevent Future Meltdowns

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision published new rules designed to prevent the next banking crisis by limiting risk-taking. Part of the plan requires bankers to receive payment based on long-term performance rather than year-end bonuses which can be grossly inflated via the injection of massive short-term risk-taking.

The question worth asking is if virtually everyone missed the housing bubble collapse and the federal government even pushed the market ever-higher via a myriad of regulations designed to get virtually everyone into a home, how can anyone claim to know what sort of behavior in the future will be risky?

Case in point, municipal bond insurers were pushed by regulators into guaranteeing/insuring financial products based on mortgages – in the name of diversification. This move bankrupted Ambac, one of the players in the market and almost wiped out its competitors as well.

Hopefully regulators are brighter than I give them credit for and have somehow mastered clairvoyance they have been lacking in the past.

WikiBank Leaks

The WikiLeaks story will get interesting next year as the site turns its focus to the banking industry including Bank of America. Already, the bank has refused to take payments for the site dedicated to leaking. We can expect the hostility between Wall Street and Assange to pick up next year and as it does, we will likely start to see more private information from global companies leaked through a variety of copycat leak sites looking to become as famous as WikiLeaks.

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