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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘bank’

The Investment Scam That Will Wipe You Out

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

A new fraudster has just turned himself into the police for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars (or shekels, actually, as this guy was in Israel). But the story is the same as when Mr. Ponzi himself was inventing the Ponzi scheme.

Want to blame the government or the regulators? As they say, all that blame and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee. I would not want to blame the victim, but let’s look at some of the facts in the case. In fact, these points are the same in almost all of the fraud cases I have read about in my two decades on Wall Street:

The clients gave money directly to the investment advisor.

The clients did not get statements from a bank or brokerage account.

The clients believed the investment advisor who said he could make totally unrealistic gains … guaranteed!

The clients believed there was little or no risk.

If these clients were children or severely mentally incompetent, I would agree with the argument that we need stronger regulations and better government oversight. But in the most recent case in Israel, and if we look at the biggest scandal ever – Madoff – we see that the clients were often very sophisticated professionals who were very experienced in all aspects of business.

Rather than going into the behavioral finance explanations for why even top-tier investors let greed trump caution, let’s get practical. (If you do want to learn about the psychological aspects of what makes people do the wrong thing, you can listen to my interview with Nobel Prize Laureate Daniel Kahneman on my radio show. You can see that interview on YouTube.)

In this blog post, I want to make only one basic point, and if you finish reading this article with this one take-away, you can feel pretty confident that you won’t get suckered into a fraudulent investment scheme. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This idea came from my mother (also a Wall Street veteran, and author of a book for children about how the stock market works).

If Ponzi scam victims considered this core concept before getting involved, this is what they might have thought: “You’re promising me 1.5% profit every month. What do you think I am? Stupid? Not even Warren Buffet can do that.”

They would have continued to think: “You are guaranteeing my principal? Who do you think you are? A government guaranteeing its bonds? Germany guaranteeing the Greeks? You couldn’t possibly have enough money.”

Finally, they would have considered who custodies the money: “You are saving me the trouble of opening my own bank account and putting my money into your own account? And then you will just print up statements on your own laser printer? Come on, buddy, I wasn’t born yesterday.”

Which investment scammer has you in his sights? Who knows? But one thing is for sure – if you start by asking the most basic questions and not believing the unbelievable, you’re well on your way to protecting yourself. The scammer will just move on to his next victim.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Jordanian Bank Fires Female Employees – Primarily Christians – Refusing to Wear the Hijab

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Several Arabic news reports appeared on Tuesday, May 22, exposing the new hijab policy of the Jordanian Dubai Islamic Bank. Under new ownership, bank management recently decreed that all females must wear the hijab, the Islamic veil, or be terminated. According to Najem News —which says the bank’s policy “contradicts Jordan’s laws and constitutions”—the bank “fired all female employees who refused to wear the hijab, after warning them that it is mandatory, despite the fact that some of the employees are Christians.” There are also suspicions that, along with Islamizing the bank’s atmosphere, this new policy was further set to target and terminate the Christian employees, since it is they who are most likely to reject the hijab.

One female Christian employee who had worked at the bank for 27 years is among those just fired. Though not available for comment, an associate of hers said in response to the new hijab rule: “Is this to be the new approach in Jordan during the Arab Spring revolutions—suppression of freedoms, intolerance for others, the exercise of intellectual terrorism, the quantization of minds, and the imposition of obligations in the name of religion?”

Some may be tempted to draw parallels between this and similar precedents in the West. For instance, some Western banks refuse to serve Muslim women in full hijab. However, this is done for security measures — proven by the fact that the hijab is not singled out, but also hats, hoods and sunglasses—whereas the Jordanian Dubai Islam Bank is basing its policy entirely on religious discrimination.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Raymond Ibrahim

Obama Tightens Sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The White House announced on Monday that US President Barack Obama has signed another executive order prescribing harsh sanctions on Iran and its central bank, in an effort to combat Iranian attempts at subterfuge of the current sanction regime.

“I have determined that additional sanctions are warranted, particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties,” Obama wrote to Congress.



Jewish Press Staff

Cyber Attacks UPDATE: Israeli Banks Block Int’l Access to Websites

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In efforts to limit exposure and minimize vulnerability to the recent wave of anti-Israel cyber attacks, Israel Discount Bank and First International Bank of Israel have blocked international access to their websites.

This move is likely to cause hardship for Israelis living abroad as they will not have web-access to their accounts.

Jewish Press Staff

Angry Israeli Investors, Consumers Gearing Up For New Protests

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Expect to see new rounds of protests by Israeli investors and consumers against financially strapped business leaders and supermarket chains and food conglomerates that have raised prices drastically on basic foodstuffs over the past few months.

The frustration among local investors and consumers comes against the backdrop of a slowing Israeli economy, which is feeling the effects of the economic turmoil within the European Union. According to financial sources, the Israeli economy, which grew by nearly 5 percent last year, will grow at a rate of less 3 percent in 2012.

Israeli economists have speculated that the resignation of Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor, who announced on Monday that she was stepping down after 17 years at Israel’s second largest bank, was a telltale sign that the Jewish state’s economy was entering a period of uncertainty.

In just the past few weeks, leading Israeli financial publications reported that local and foreign business owners in the EU owe tens of billions of dollars to Israeli banks including Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi. Bank of Israel Chairman Stanley Fischer has assured the Israeli public that local banks were fiscally sound despite the outstanding debts.

But Israelis are growing increasingly impatient and angry with moguls such as Yitzhak Tshuva (Delek Corporation), Ilan Ben-Dov (Tao Tsuot Ltd./Partner Communicatons) and Yossi Maimon (Ampal Corporation), who’ve lost billions of shekels through bad investments and have asked public and private corporate bondholders to forgive large portions of their debts.

An increasing number of Israelis who’ve invested in corporate bonds and stocks have threatened legal action against the tycoons unless they invest large sums of their personal money to cover their debts and agree to cease using corporate monies to provide stratospheric salaries and other perks to business associates and family members.

Meanwhile, prices on basic foodstuffs such as mayonnaise, tea, ketchup, tuna fish and soup mixes at major supermarkets such as Shufersal, Mega and Rami Levi have risen between 60 and 150 percent since the end of the Rosh Hashanah/Sukkot holiday season in October.

Bnei Brak social activist Yitzchak Alrov, who last summer spurred a nationwide protest against skyrocketing cottage cheese products via a simple Facebook campaign, is working with student leaders and other social justice activists to orchestrate another boycott unless the supermarkets and food conglomerates substantially cut their prices.

Steve K. Walz

Will Anyone Admit Wrongdoing?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

“We anticipate a direct conflict with Egypt in the near future,” explained Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, one of the great patrons of the peace accords with Egypt, recently.

Israel’s direct conflict with Egypt has never ended. But for the last three decades it had assumed a more subtle form that tied Israel’s hands. The peace accords with Egypt were nothing more than a miserable illusion that robbed us of the Sinai and its settlements. They forced Israel into recognition of the Palestinian “nation” and its right to our land, to the Madrid Conference, and finally to Oslo – the loss of Gush Katif, and Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Throughout this process, thousands of Israelis paid the price of mushrooming terror and Israel lost its oil fields and major financial resources. Now, when the direct conflict begins, it will happen just outside of Beersheba and not on the banks of the Suez Canal, as was the case in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Who is responsible for this fiasco? Menachem Begin is at the top of the pyramid. But the pyramid rests on layers of officials that developed political, media, academic, legal, military, and, of course, economic careers from Camp David, Madrid, Oslo and the entire Orwellian “peace process.”

Where are all the experts and advisers who day in and day out pressured Israel to give the Golan Heights to the Syrians immediately? Where is Ron Lauder, who mediated between Israel and Syria in Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous government? Where are all the journalists, commentators and Middle East analysts? Do any of them feel the need to apologize and admit his or her mistakes? Do any of them have the courage to say that it is a good thing that Israel did not succumb to their demands and didn’t repeat the mistake they made with Egypt?

Let us say that a bank robber escapes from the bank with a sack of money over his shoulder. Passersby identify him and shout, “Catch the bank robber!” Chances are that he will be caught within a short time.

But now let us change the scenario. It is not the robber making his quick escape from the bank, but the bankers. Instead of running away, they distribute the money from the sacks to the passersby. Is anybody going to shout, “Catch the bank robber?” Ben-Eliezer gleaned invaluable benefit from the “peace spoils.” His friendship with ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak afforded him great prestige and was his main calling card. Like Ben-Eliezer, major layers of Israeli society basked in the glow of the so-called peace process and enjoyed its abundant and multifaceted perks. Only “nut cases” (the left’s term) opposed the accords and did not partake of its spoils.

The peace process representatives have nothing to worry about. Nobody is going to demand that they pay for robbing Sinai, Gaza and parts of Samaria from Israel. They have distributed so many dividends to such wide circles of society that everyone has enjoyed the spoils of the robbery.

The relatively few sane people who remain have nowhere to turn to demand justice. As long as those responsible for the scandal remain in the government and in influential positions, nothing will change. They will never admit their mistakes, they will never take responsibility, and they will continue to push the State of Israel over the cliff – employing the same principles that they have so successfully used in the past.

The peace process fiasco is the product of governments from both left and right. The Likud is no less responsible for the bizarre situation in Israel than Labor and Kadima. Both the left and right wings of Zionism are incapable of getting on a track other than the “peace” track, because they cannot define a destiny worth dying for. For if Israel is nothing more than a “safe haven” for the Jews, then the Zionist experiment has utterly failed. In no other place on the globe are Jews targeted by tens of thousands of terrorist rockets, waiting for the nuclear salvo that is supposed to pick up where the missiles left off.

Manhigut Yehudit is changing the situation from the foundation up. Our candidacy for leadership of the Likud is the way to break out of the “peace process” trap. Our Jewish destiny is the only factor that makes Israel’s existence values-based, something worth fighting for – and not just surrendering for.

Moshe Feiglin

Score Another Victory For Israel’s Radical Left

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Bank Leumi, the National Bank of Israel, initiated a campaign, called Two Million Good Reasons, aimed at rewarding Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with funding for their efforts on behalf of the good of society.

One hundred forty NGOs entered the contest, uploading videos to YouTube showcasing their volunteer work in an effort to amass the greatest amount of votes. Based on public support, the bank would distribute two million shekels ($540,000) between the sixty leading organizations.

Upon witnessing the widespread success of Im Tirtzu in the competition, the radical left in Israel vehemently lashed out against Bank Leumi for consenting to the movement’s participation. Members of Peace Now threatened to start a boycott and close their accounts at Bank Leumi unless Im Tirtzu were disqualified.

Despite accusations from radical leftists that Im Tirtzu has political affiliations, their real grievance stems from the fact that they are unable to tolerate views or beliefs that differ from their own. In fact, Bank Leumi initially announced that the mission of Im Tirtzu coincides, completely, with the guidelines of the competition. Moreover, one of the guiding principles of the competition was to promote Zionism. It was only after the bank found itself in the midst of a barrage of negative PR that is issued a statement closing down the contest.

Im Tirtzu prides itself on providing a voice that is diametrically opposed to the anti-Zionist and post-Zionist sentiments prevalent in today’s public discourse. At the same time, it prides itself on remaining apolitical, not affiliated with any political party or group. In fact, Im Tirtzu continues to receive support from across the political spectrum.

As an institution dedicated to the people of Israel and land of Israel, Im Tirtzu spends its time, energy and funding on programming and activities designed to assist, inspire and contribute to all walks of Jewish life. We promote Zionism on university campuses, help new immigrants with their absorption into Israeli society, support students in need of assistance, visit and support Holocaust survivors, work with farmers in the Negev and Galilee, volunteer in Sderot, help minorities acclimate to Israeli society, support soldiers, plant forests and stand firmly against anarchist demonstrations.

The objections to Im Tirtzu’s pro-Israel activities and advocacy come from many of those on the radical left who accept funding from foreign governments and impede, inhibit and undermine the sovereignty and democracy of the country.

Clearly, the thought of Im Tirtzu emerging victorious from this competition, with the support of the public, is something they simply could not bear.

Unfortunately, Bank Leumi succumbed to ugly left-wing threats. Im Tirtzu was in first place as the most popular non-profit organization when the bank decided to stop the project.

Thanks to its unrelenting efforts, Peace Now had its way with Bank Leumi. But this is hardly about one group or one competition. The leaders of Peace Now consider it legitimate to accept funding from foreign countries. By doing so, they undermine Israeli democracy. Not only do they silence the values of Zionism and nationalism, they undermine organizations that seek to improve the lives of sick children, Holocaust survivors, victims of cancer and so many other people in need.

Ronen Shoval is founder and chairman of Im Tirtzu.

Ronen Shoval

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/score-another-victory-for-israels-radical-left/2011/12/17/

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