Ukraine Bank – Pivdencom Bank Sun, 07 Aug 2022 09:00:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ukraine Bank – Pivdencom Bank 32 32 US banks tout fossil fuels after Republican ESG backlash Sun, 07 Aug 2022 09:00:22 +0000

In recent years, Wall Street companies have attempted to assert their commitment to the environment and social justice. Now they sing a different tune.

Major US banks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are among a group of global financial services companies that tout their business relationships with oil and gas companies. They do this to appease Republican-run state politicians who penalize them for not doing enough to support the fossil fuel industry.

So far, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Last month, West Virginia banned five financial firms — BlackRock, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo — from doing banking business in the state.

Riley Moore, West Virginia state treasurer, accused the companies of having “policies aimed at weakening our energy industries” in a state where coal and fossil fuel taxes are the third largest revenue earner.

West Virginia’s decision is the latest in a wave of attacks on financial institutions that Republican lawmakers say have gone too far in adhering to the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, agenda.

Some of the targeted lenders in West Virginia have responded by brandishing their fossil fuel financing, a jarring about-face that follows years of trying to convince climate change activists that they are not complacent. environmental screw.

In a July letter to the West Virginia Treasurer, Goldman said it had provided more than $118.9 billion in funding to fossil fuel companies since 2016, and $17.8 billion in funding last year alone. .

In a similar letter, JPMorgan general counsel Stacey Friedman touted the bank’s $42.6 billion credit exposure to oil and gas companies as proof that it did not discriminate against the regard to fossil fuel companies. Friedman also said that in 2021, the bank had funded and facilitated $106 billion for green goals, such as renewable energy.

“This decision is short-sighted and disconnected from the facts. Our business practices do not conflict with this anti-free market law,” JPMorgan said in a statement. Goldman Sachs declined to comment beyond its letter.

The restrictions in West Virginia follow two Texas laws passed last year that ban financial companies over their gun policies as well as their treatment of oil and gas companies for climate change purposes. .

Texas laws require the state comptroller to identify companies that should be banned and require companies to verify that they are not boycotting firearms, ammunition and energy companies.

A handful of companies — including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman and Bank of America — pulled out of the Texas municipal bond market after the legislation took effect in September 2021, according to academic research published last month. Citi said it has since resumed underwriting Texas muni bonds.

Nearly 90 global companies have written to Texas to point out that they invest in oil and gas companies. Private equity giant Apollo said in a June letter that chief executive Marc Rowan “has publicly stated that funds managed by Apollo will continue to fund fossil fuel companies.” Sumitomo Mitsui, one of Japan’s largest banks, told the state it had funded $208 million in oil and gas projects in the United States.

The restrictions put in place by Republicans do not yet pose a significant risk to revenue, but that could change if efforts to freeze banks from state operations become widespread, analysts said.

“From an optical point of view, it’s not the headlines you want,” said Gerard Cassidy, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, adding, “As this gains in materiality, then certainly, I think there will be more talk about it.”

Cassidy said: “The pendulum has swung so far to the left over the past five years, especially with sustainable energy [and] ESG policies. Now the pendulum swings back. . . we are not yet ready to jump into a world of sustainable energy.

The swing of this pendulum is felt, to varying degrees, across Wall Street. Last month, BlackRock said it voted for fewer environmental and social shareholder petitions this year compared to 2021. The world’s largest fund manager argued that shareholder proposals were becoming too prescriptive and that the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had changed his calculation.

Banks will soon face another test in Florida. Last month, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would propose legislation next year to “protect [voters] of the ESG movement,” which he accused of “targeting disadvantaged individuals and industries to advance a woke ideological agenda.”

DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said he wants to ban trustees of the agency that oversees state pension funds from using fund managers who consider ESG factors. Instead, they would be required to “only consider maximizing return on investment on behalf of Florida retirees.”

The challenge with such restrictions is that there are no established definitions of ESG in the United States, said Joshua Lichtenstein, partner at law firm Ropes & Gray. “If you’re a real estate fund, you can’t ignore sea level rise when buying coastal buildings. It actually becomes a matter of investor caution,” he added.

Some West Virginia state Republicans have said they fear banning global banks over their ESG commitments will lead to higher borrowing and funding costs for outlets. Two Arizona Republicans thwarted similar legislation on such grounds earlier this year.

In July, economists estimated that Texas state and local borrowers will pay between $303 million and $532 million in additional interest on the $32 billion in municipal bonds issued after the boycott measures were introduced.

“We are seeing a massive increase in yields in these hardest hit locations in Texas,” said Daniel Garrett, a University of Pennsylvania professor and co-author of the research.

Latest news on the Russian-Ukrainian war: live updates Thu, 04 Aug 2022 18:12:19 +0000
Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

DRUZHKIVKA, Ukraine — Long-standing Ukrainian defense strongholds in the east have come under intense attack in recent days, according to the Ukrainian military and Western military analysts.

The fact that Ukrainian soldiers still hold the labyrinthine trenches and fortifications in two suburban towns, Avdiivka and Pisky, on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk, testifies to the value of their entrenched positions to the east. Ukraine’s strong defensive positions slowed the advance of the Russian army, with only two major cities, Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, and a few tens of kilometers of territory changing hands despite thousands of soldiers killed on both sides.

It is unclear exactly why the assaults on the fortifications have intensified, and the assaults are an exception to a general decrease in Russian attacks in the eastern region of Donbass, which had been at the center of the war for months. Some military analysts believe the relative lull is partly the result of the diversion of Russian forces south to repel a Ukrainian counteroffensive there.

The two cities, mostly deserted and destroyed, are not big prizes to capture, but if they were to fall, it could facilitate Russian advances towards the three major cities in the Donetsk region remaining under Ukrainian control, Bakhmut, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

The Ukrainian army and paramilitary groups built the fortifications of the two cities during the eight years of low-intensity warfare that followed Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in 2014 to support a breakaway region, the Donetsk People’s Republic. They are now part of the easternmost positions in Ukraine.

Weaving through abandoned factories and mines, taking advantage of the root cellars of country houses, and using swamps as natural barriers, the defensive lines have withstood countless assaults. After failing to flank Avdiivka, Russia launched direct tank assaults this week, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research organization.

The institute noted Russian propaganda videos suggesting that Russian troops overran a position at the ventilation shaft of the Butiyka coal mine, which had been the closest Ukrainian position to the city of Donetsk since 2015. a few kilometers from what the separatists claim to be their capital. .

The Ukrainian General Staff said the tank assaults did not push its soldiers from Avdiivka, but noted that they were a partial success, in a possible recognition of the loss of the strategically and politically important position.

“For days in a row, the enemy has not ceased its attempts to attack,” the Ukrainian military governor of Avdiivka, Vitaliy Barabash, told Radio Liberty on Wednesday. “Everywhere is hit by artillery and aviation” bombs.

Credit…Alessandro Guerra/EPA, via Shutterstock

The Russian military also fired into the city with rockets that spray flammable material into the air and then ignite it, creating a giant ball of fire. The Russian thermobaric rocket system, nicknamed Heatwave, is one of the most destructive weapons in the Russian arsenal.

“People are living in horrific and inhumane conditions,” Barabash said. He said around 2,000 civilians remained in Avdiivka out of a pre-invasion population of around 20,000. “Every day the city is bombed about 20 times,” he said.

Overall, the Russian campaign in the Donbass has slowed down in recent weeks after the appearance on the battlefield of the American HIMARS, the long-range rocket launching system used to strike the ammunition depots behind Russian lines, and the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive around the southern city of Kherson, according to Serhiy Grabskiy, a former Ukrainian army colonel and war commentator for Ukrainian media. Russia diverted around 10,000 troops from the Sloviansk attack to defend the south, he said.

“Ukrainian forces have created quite effective defensive positions in the Donbass over the past few years,” Grabskiy said in a phone interview. The Russians “are frankly stuck in the Donbass now with no real success”, he said. “And they have a new puzzle: the south, which from the point of view of the Ukrainian armed forces is a more important strategic objective.”

Inflation in South Korea accelerates to 6.3% Tue, 02 Aug 2022 16:00:00 +0000

The Bank of Korea is expected to raise rates by at least 25 basis points this month as consumer prices rose 6.3% in June

Inflation in South Korea accelerated further last month, underscoring the need for the central bank to continue raising interest rates in an attempt to curb mounting price pressures.

Consumer prices rose 6.3% from a year earlier, rising from 6% in June and matching estimates, government data showed yesterday.

Bank of Korea (BOK) Governor Rhee Chang-yong said a day earlier that the central bank would likely raise rates by 25 basis points this month, while refusing to rule out a bigger hike .

Photo: EPA-EFE

Policymakers expect price growth to remain high for a few months before starting to slow.

Risks to this outlook include an escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine or an outbreak of other geopolitical hotspots.

Inflation has been broadly in line with projections and is expected to stay above 6% for some time to come, the central bank said in a statement after the release.

War, global commodity prices and summer weather conditions, such as typhoons or heat, add to uncertainties about the price outlook, he said.

The latest inflation report also showed that consumer prices rose 0.5% last month, compared to the previous month, with core inflation at 4.5% year on year. former.

The next BOK rate decision will be on August 25.

Policymakers rose half a percentage point last month, joining their global counterparts, including the US Federal Reserve, in opting for outsized increases.

Rising consumer prices have increased pressure on wages, causing disputes between workers and employers in some of the country’s key industries, such as automobiles and shipbuilding.

“The pressure on the BOK to raise rates, like the Fed, will be strong again if previous hikes fail to suppress wage growth and oil prices rise again,” said Lee Seung-suk, economist at the Korea Institute of Economic Research. “Inflation drove up wages and now wages will start to fuel inflation,” Lee said.

He estimates that inflation increases by 0.6% for every 1% increase in wages.

A year into its tightening cycle, the BOK is increasingly wary of risks to the economy, including the potential for a global recession as the Fed steps up rate hikes and war in Russia keeps energy prices high.

The COVID-19 shutdowns in China are also increasing pressure on international supply chains and weakening demand for South Korean products.

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Zelensky warns of a disastrous harvest in Ukraine as the world faces a food crisis Sun, 31 Jul 2022 14:37:00 +0000

Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Ukraine’s harvest could be cut in half by Russia’s invasion in a move that threatens to trigger a global food crisis.

Ukraine’s president warned of a catastrophic impact on this year’s harvest in “Europe’s breadbasket”, but insisted the country was finding a way to deliver grain alternatively.

It came as John Rich, chairman of MHP, Ukraine’s largest agricultural products company, said a push by Ukrainian forces into the south of the country – and an associated increase in hostilities – could affect the reconstruction of ports and surrounding roads that are crucial to boost grain exports.

The blockade of Ukrainian ports by Vladimir Putin’s war machine has cut off the wheat, corn and sunflower seed giant and hampered production, leading to global food shortages and price hikes.

Mr Zelensky said in a tweet on Sunday that Ukraine‘s harvest threatened to be “twice” lower than normal.

He said: “Our main objective — to prevent [a] global food crisis caused by [the] Russian invasion. Yet the grains find a way to be delivered alternately.

Ukraine’s president said on Friday grain shipments were ready and waiting since a UN-led pact between Ukraine and Russia was signed last month to resume exports for the first time since the outbreak. of the war.

But Mr Rich, an Australian executive and agribusiness adviser to the World Bank, said MHP would use a “wait and see” approach and stockpile produce.

He said: “I am the greatest optimist in the world. But in this case, reality tells me that it will not be an easy task. The Ukrainian government has the wit to try to get all this grain out. Everyone tries to do their best. But you can only do this within the physical limits.

“First, the ports need to be repaired. Second, we have road infrastructure to ports that needs to be repaired. Third, we need to clear these ports.

Often referred to as “Europe’s breadbasket”, Ukraine accounts for 12% of world exports of wheat, 16% of corn and 18% of barley. Its exports were enough to feed up to 400 million people worldwide before war broke out.

Inflation reaches a record 8.9% in 19 countries using the euro Fri, 29 Jul 2022 10:06:48 +0000

BRUSSELS (AP) – Inflation in European countries using the euro hit a new high in July, pushed by rising energy prices partly driven by Russia’s war in Ukrainebut the economy still managed weak growth.

Annual inflation in the 19 euro zone countries reached 8.9% in July, against 8.6% in June, according to the latest figures published on Friday by the European Union statistics agency. Inflation is at its highest level since 1997, when the registration of the euro began.

Energy prices jumped 39.7%, slightly less than the previous month, while food, alcohol and tobacco prices rose 9.8%, faster than the increase recorded on last month.

The eurozone economy, meanwhile, grew from April to June, growing 0.7% from the previous quarter and 4% from the same period in 2021.

This contrasts with the United States, whose economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters, raising fears of a recession with inflation at its highest level in 40 years. But the labor market is still stronger than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and most economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, said they don’t think the economy is in good shape. recession.

Many, however, increasingly expect an economic downturn in the United States to begin later this year or next, much like in Europe.

Europe’s proximity to the war in Ukraine and its dependence on Russian energy mean it risks a recession as Moscow chokes off natural gas flows that fuel factories, produce electricity and heat homes in winter.

Further cuts this week via a major pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream 1, have heightened fears the Kremlin could cut off supply altogether. It would force rationing of energy-intensive industries and drive up already record levels of inflation due to soaring energy prices, threatening to plunge the 27-nation bloc into recession.

As European Union governments this week approved a measure to cut gas consumption by 15% and passed tax cuts and subsidies to ease a cost-of-living crisis, Europe is at the mercy of Russia and the weather.

A cold winter, when demand for natural gas soars, could reduce storage levels that governments are currently scrambling to fill, but which have been made infinitely more difficult by Russian cuts.

“With the region’s gas supply now tight and inflation expected to remain elevated for some time, the eurozone is likely to slide into recession,” Michael Tran, deputy economist at Capital Economics, said in an analysis. this week.

Economists’ forecasts vary on the impact on economic output, particularly from country to country, but ING Bank says the hit of a complete Russian gas cut to the 19 countries sharing the euro would be 1 to 3% of GDP in the short term.

“Given that we are already expecting a mild recession, that would be enough to get to a real recession,” ING analysts said in a research note this week.

To combat soaring inflation, the European Central Bank raised interest rates last week for the first time in 11 years by half a point higher than expected. It should be followed by another increase in September.

The ECB had followed other central banks like the Fed and the Bank of England in making credit more expensive, fearing the outsized impact of the war-related spike in energy prices.

Mozambique: African Development Fund approves additional $5.6 million grant to strengthen food security and resilience – Mozambique Wed, 27 Jul 2022 08:24:04 +0000

The African Development Fund Board has approved a $5.6 million grant in additional funding for the Idai and Kenneth Emergency Post-Cyclone Recovery and Resilience Program in Mozambique.

This additional financing under the Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility aims to strengthen the resilience of Mozambican food systems in response to the current global food crisis, aggravated by the war in Ukraine. The funds will come from the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group.

Like many other African countries, Mozambique depends on Ukraine and Russia for main grain and grain supplies and the country has been affected by the global rise in food prices caused by the war in Ukraine and the persistent Covid-19 pandemic.

The $5.6 million grant will help provide certified climate-smart seeds, fertilizers and extension services, facilitate modern inputs for farmers, and support policy reforms, including strengthening national institutions with laboratory equipment, supervision of input markets and agro-dealer associations.

The additional financing targets the production of corn, soybeans and sesame. The Bank is also expecting additional funding of $5 million from the US Agency for International Development and $2 million from the Nordic Development Fund.

The project aligns with the National Agriculture Development Program, which aims to contribute to food security, incomes and profitability of the agricultural value chain and to foster a competitive and sustainable increase in production focused on the market. It is also part of the Bank’s Feed Africa initiative, its Country Strategy Paper 2018-2022 for Mozambique and the Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy 2016-2025.

In mid-2019, the Bank Group approved a $47 million post-cyclone recovery program to help Mozambique restore livelihoods, rebuild socio-economic infrastructure, and boost agricultural production in following a series of devastating cyclones that killed dozens and displaced thousands in southern Africa. . Malawi and Zimbabwe have also been hard hit.

Russo-Ukrainian War: List of Key Events, Day 152 | Russo-Ukrainian War Mon, 25 Jul 2022 07:53:01 +0000

As the Russo-Ukrainian War enters its 152nd day, we take a look at the major developments.

Here are the key events so far on Monday, July 25.

Get the latest updates here.


  • The Ukrainian military reported that Russian forces were leading the way for an assault on the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region and continued efforts to assert control of the area around the Vuhlehirska power plant, 50 km (31 miles) northeast of the city of Donetsk.
  • Russia has charged 92 members of Ukraine‘s armed forces with crimes against humanity and proposed an international tribunal backed by countries like Bolivia, Iran and Syria, says head of the Russian investigative commission Alexander Bastrykin .
  • Russia likely continues to struggle to extract and repair thousands of battle-damaged combat vehicles in Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defense said.
  • The Ukrainian military said 66 members of the Russian military had been killed in the fighting over the past 24 hours, according to the Interfax news agency.


  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Russian missile raids on Odessa were blatant “barbarism” that showed Moscow could not be trusted to implement the grain deal.
  • The United Nations, European Union, United States, Britain, Germany and Italy have condemned the attacks.
  • Pope Francis has said he looks forward to visiting Ukraine in his efforts to try to end the war.
  • Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has advised Ukraine and the West not to cede any Ukrainian territory occupied since the start of the war to Russia in future peace talks aimed at ending the conflict.


  • Germany was back on track with decent gas injection levels, and the task now was to reach its target of 75% gas storage levels by September 1, said Klaus Mueller, the head of the country’s regulator.
  • Ukraine could export 60 million tonnes of grain in eight to nine months if its ports were not blocked, an economic adviser to the Ukrainian president has said.
  • The Russian Central Bank forecasts a 4-6% recession in 2022, compared to its pre-war forecast of 3% growth. The bank expects the economy to return to growth by 2024.
Russia-Ukraine: Breaking News – The New York Times Sat, 23 Jul 2022 18:20:50 +0000
Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

ODESA, Ukraine – A series of explosions rocked the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on Saturday, hitting one of the country’s most important ports less than 24 hours after an agreement was signed to securing the transit of millions of tons of grain through the Black Sea routes.

The strikes risk undermining the agreement to facilitate the shipment of grain from Ukraine, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, before the deal can even be implemented. The deal was seen as key to bolstering global supplies after a sharp drop in Ukrainian grain exports raised fears of food shortages in poorer countries.

Ukraine’s Southern Military Command said on Saturday that Russian forces fired four Kalibr cruise missiles at Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port. “Two rockets were shot down by the air defense forces, two port infrastructures hit,” he wrote in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

Officials said it was the first time since the start of the war that the port of Odessa had been targeted.

The condemnation of Ukraine was swift. Oleg Nikolenko, the country’s foreign ministry spokesman, said on Facebook that with the strikes, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin “spit in the face” of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. after the two “exerted enormous efforts to reach this agreement”.

The deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general denounced the strikes, saying in a statement that full implementation of the agreement was “imperative”.

There was no immediate comment from the Kremlin. The attack came a day before Russia’s foreign minister is due to start a tour of Africa, where he is expected to try to blame food shortages on the West.

The shockwave from the missiles hitting the port could be felt miles away, although it’s unclear exactly where they hit. The huge port stretches for miles along the Black Sea coast of Odessa with towering silver grain silos clustered in several different locations.

It was unclear what the strikes were targeting and whether any grain infrastructure had been affected. Russia may not technically have breached the deal because it has not pledged to avoid attacking parts of Ukrainian ports that are not directly used for grain exports, according to a senior official. the UN. If there were military targets nearby, Russia might have tried to exploit a loophole.

Still, the damage appeared to be extensive and Mykola Solskyi, the country’s agriculture minister, said the strikes would affect Ukraine’s efforts to export grain.

“If you attack one port, you attack everything,” he said in a phone interview. “You use a lot of the same infrastructure for oil, for grain. It impacts everything – no matter what you hit.

Mr Solskyi added that some of the destroyed infrastructure was “important for the processing of all imports”, but said Ukraine would proceed as if the grain agreement would continue to be in force.

“We understand that we still have a war with Russia,” he said. “Our deal was with the United Nations and Turkey, not with Russia.”

Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, said Russian strikes caused 10 explosions in Odessa and strikes on the port caused a fire.

“This is how Russia fulfills its responsibility to ensure the safety of Ukrainian grain exports,” he wrote on his public channel on the social media app Telegram. “Now not only the West but China and other countries that Putin was counting on to relieve sanctions pressure know that you cannot trust Putin at all, not one bit,” he added. .

On Friday, Biden administration officials had expressed skepticism about Russia’s honoring of its commitments to allow safe passage of ships through the Black Sea.

European Central Bank joins global push for higher rates Thu, 21 Jul 2022 10:18:54 +0000

FRANKFURT – The European Central Bank will join the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks on Thursday in raising interest rates. The only question is how much – and whether – the rush to make credit more expensive will push Europe and other major economies into recession at the cost of fighting record inflation.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said last month that the bank would raise rates for the first time in 11 years by a quarter of a percentage point at Thursday’s meeting and by at least as much in September. That has led to talk of a half-point hike coming for the 19 countries using the euro, and analysts say a bigger hike could also come on Thursday.

The ECB is late to the party in its rate takeoff – a sign of inflation that has proven higher and more tenacious than expected and of the more fragile state of an economy heavily exposed to war in Ukraine and to a dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. Recession forecasts have increased for the end of the year and into next year, with soaring electricity, fuel and gas bills dealing a severe blow to businesses and the purchasing power of individuals.

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“The economic outlook is deteriorating day by day,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief eurozone economist at ING Bank. “At the same time, headline inflation continues to rise and, in our view, will only decline gradually towards the end of the year, if Looking back, the very gradual and cautious normalization process that the ECB began at the end of last year was simply too slow and too late.

Recession fears have helped push the euro to a 20-year low against the dollar, adding to the ECB’s inflation-fighting task by adding to already high energy prices. This is because the price of oil is in dollars.

Raising rates is seen as the standard remedy for excessive inflation, which currently stands at 8.6% in the euro zone in June and is largely driven by soaring energy prices. Bank credentials affect banks’ cost of borrowing – and thus help determine what they charge to lend.

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But by making credit harder to get, rate hikes can slow economic growth, a major conundrum for the ECB as well as the Federal Reserve. The Fed hiked rates an outrageous three-quarter point in June and may do so again at its next meeting. The Bank of England began the bull run in December, and even the Swiss central bank surprised with its first hike in nearly 15 years last month.

The objective for all central banks is to bring inflation down to acceptable levels – for the ECB, it’s 2% per year – without tipping the economy into recession. It’s hard to fix as central banks reverse what has been a decade of very low rates and inflation. The ECB’s hike is the first since 2011.

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Yet Europe’s economy is additionally worried about a possible cut off of Russian natural gas which is used to generate electricity, heat homes and power energy-intensive industries such as steel, glass and glassmaking. ‘agriculture. Even without a full shutdown, Russia has steadily cut gas flows, leading European leaders to accuse the Kremlin of using the gas to pressure countries over sanctions and support for Ukraine.

These recession-related concerns lead analysts to believe that the trajectory of ECB rate hikes may have an upper limit after the hikes expected in September and through the end of the year.

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The interest rate hike follows the end of the bank’s 1.7 trillion euro ($1.7 trillion) stimulus program that helped keep long-term borrowing costs low for government and businesses as they weathered the pandemic recession.

These borrowing rates in the bond market are rising again, especially for the most indebted countries in the euro zone such as Italy. The resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has brought back bad memories of the European debt crisis ten years ago. There are fears that the former ECB president, who pushed policies intended to keep debt manageable and boost growth in Europe’s third-largest economy, is not there to help prevent the eurozone from sliding back into crisis.

Lagarde is expected to unveil at least some aspects of a new financial safety net that would combat unwarranted government borrowing rates fueled by market speculation. However, this would likely not cover the higher borrowing costs resulting from imprudent government decisions.

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The hassle is unique to the ECB because it oversees 19 countries that are in different financial situations but use a single currency.

The main ECB benchmarks are at historic lows: zero for loans to banks and minus 0.5% for demand deposits that commercial banks leave with the ECB. The negative rate is a penalty aimed at pushing banks to lend money instead.

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Ukrainian resident pleads guilty for his role in a sophisticated international scheme to steal money from US bank accounts | takeover bid Tue, 19 Jul 2022 17:28:57 +0000

A US citizen who previously resided in Ukraine has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to court documents, Harold Sobel, 69, was a member of an international criminal enterprise that illegally debited money from the bank accounts of ignorant American victims. Members of the criminal enterprise set up shell companies in an effort to receive funds from victims and created fake websites for the shell companies that claimed to offer products or services, such as cloud storage. Members of the criminal enterprise made unauthorized debits from the victims’ bank accounts, while falsely stating to the banks that the debits were authorized by the victims in payment for non-existent goods and services.

“The department will prosecute members of international criminal enterprises who defraud Americans and deceive American banks,” said Assistant Deputy Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “No matter where they are, the department will prosecute the perpetrators of these fraud schemes.”

“A sophisticated transnational criminal enterprise executed false debits against unsuspecting victims and deceived banks – victimizing American consumers and financial institutions in the process,” said Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the Criminal Investigations Group. of the United States Postal Inspection Service. “The guilty plea demonstrates the tenacity and determination of the United States Postal Inspection Service and its law enforcement partners to hold criminals accountable for their unscrupulous actions.”

Unauthorized debits from victims’ accounts, caused by conspirators, resulted in returned transactions and high return rates that often drew scrutiny from banks. To conceal and continue to make these unauthorized debits, members of the criminal enterprise made false statements to financial institutions about the transactions, claiming they were authorized. In some cases, members of the criminal enterprise have caused accounts used by the criminal enterprise to also “micro-debit” other bank accounts controlled and funded by or for the criminal enterprise. The “micro-debits” were used to artificially lower return rates to levels that the conspirators believed would reduce banking oversight and thus reduce the likelihood of closure of accounts used by the criminal enterprise. The criminal enterprise also operated a call center that received complaints from victims of unauthorized removals. The call center sought to dissuade victims from making statements to victims’ banks and government agencies.

As part of the business, Sobel opened bank accounts in the United States under a co-conspirator who organized and directed the affairs of the company from outside the United States. For example, on or around October 16, 2019, Sobel opened four business deposit accounts at a bank branch in Las Vegas. Sobel opened the accounts for a shell company called “Silver Safe Box” and registered as the only member and authorized signatory in the account opening documentation. The criminal enterprise then funded “micro-debits”, designed to reduce return rates, through Silver Safe Box accounts. Between December 2019 and approximately January 2021, Silver Safe Box accounts funded over 800,000 “micro-debits” for amounts ranging from $0.99 to $1.85. Sobel also recruited at least two associates in the United States to help the foreign co-conspirator, among other things, open additional bank accounts and register front companies.

Sobel’s involvement also included providing support to the criminal enterprise’s call center operations in Ukraine. Sobel devised a script to be used in response to victim complaints by call center staff to retain as much of the proceeds of the criminal enterprise as possible and – only in cases where these efforts failed – to then issue full refunds, to deter victims from reporting to victims’ banks and government agencies. Sobel also devised a metric by which he and the alien co-conspirator could gauge the effectiveness of the call center staff. As part of his guilty plea, Sobel admitted that more than $1.5 million in debits from the victim were reasonably foreseeable to him.

Sobel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He is due to be sentenced on October 12 and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

The United States Postal Inspection Service is investigating the matter.

Trial Attorneys Meredith Healy and Wei Xiang of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mina Chang of the District of Nevada are pursuing the case. The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas provided substantial assistance.