Regulators in various financial centers are showing, for the moment, energy and motivation for reviewing and upgrading policies and practices. The Singapore Exchange’s head continues to work on organic growth rather than mergers, and has his eye on boosting Asian IPOs. Following their failed merger, NYSE Euronext looks to cost cutting and increased clearing services to light its way forward. In First Read today, Jim Kharouf experiences the pain of theft, and finds it’s not much different being ripped off by a financial thief or a common household burglar.
I was robbed
By Jim Kharouf
My house was broken into this weekend. The back door was forced and when that didn’t give way the thief broke the door glass and opened the dead bolt by hand. From there he rifled through a few drawers – he or she took a laptop, small electronics, most of our jewelry, then stuffed them in my favorite backpack and was gone.
I live on the north side of Chicago about a mile away from Wrigley Field. The police came and looked over the scene, dusted for fingerprints but got nothing. I was disturbed and felt violated, edgy and angry at the guy who took our stuff. And I was hopeful the cops would catch this person and bring him to justice. But that’ll likely not happen.
In a way, it’s a metaphor for how the victims of the MF Global case and the Peregrine Financial Group, and ordinary taxpayers feel today. Someone broke into their account and stole their money. Russ Wasendorf Sr. got caught, but only after 20 years of stealing customer funds and then writing a suicide note detailing the fraud. The MF Global case is still ongoing and many in the industry wonder if there will ever be charges filed against anyone at the company.
Hey, Dick Fuld at Lehman got away with saying he didn’t know anything about the poor positions of the firm, or that he was inaccurately reporting the company’s financial status to his shareholders. I thought the “I didn’t know” defense went out with Bernie Ebbers at Worldcom. And with the financial collapse led by Lehman, the bailouts came from the pocketbooks of the taxpayers. Some can argue that most or all of those TARP funds have been paid back, but no one at AIG, the epicenter of the financial meltdown, got busted. Shareholders and the taxpayers got fleeced though.
And what many friends outside the financial markets tell me, is what people tell me about living in the city – you shouldn’t be there. That’s where bad stuff happens. Well, many customers of MF Global and PFG and many other futures customers are saying the same thing about the futures industry today – “Don’t go there. It’s not safe, day or night.”
So what does this all mean? All the CFTC and NFA busts of small time ponzi schemes and low-brow FX scams don’t mean a thing if you don’t bust the big-time crooks. And on that note, they are falling way short. Letting Russ Wasendorf Sr. steal customer funds while doing a lousy job auditing is reprehensible. And if many in this industry had their way, regulators would be held financially and legally accountable. Not moving forward with a case against Jon Corzine and others at MF Global who were ultimately responsible for dipping into customer funds, is frustrating and damaging to this industry. It may be the blow that cripples this industry for years.
That said, the industry is trying to address these problems with several proposals. Better electronic audit controls, more transparent reporting of customer account information, an insurance system to back up customer accounts, just to name a few. All of those and more might help customers feel a bit better about their accounts, but really, who wants to continue to be the guinea pig for the futures industry’s brand-new, reactive and piecemeal account security system?
In the meantime, customers are moving to new neighborhoods like ETFs, which are providing roughly the same type of commodity exposure with the SIPC protection of the securities world. Some are switching to large, established securities brokers who also offer futures. They can sweep futures accounts into security accounts overnight to provide that insurance protection, which seems like a bit more hassle for futures customers.
Now I’ve gone through the process of filing a police report. I called my insurance company and hope to have some of my stolen items replaced. I hope they catch the guy. I tell myself that it could happen to anybody, anywhere. And in the futures industry, that’s the problem isn’t it?
Futures Overseer Plots Revamp
BY JACOB BUNGE, SCOTT PATTERSON AND MICHAEL ROTHFELD – Dow Jones
The collapse of Peregrine Financial Group Inc. has prompted new scrutiny of the futures industry’s front-line regulator and triggered plans to change its practices just as the agency prepares to take on a bigger role in policing derivatives markets.
**JK – Interesting that this story says Dan Roth reportedly told regulators “it isn’t NFA auditors’ responsibility to look for fraudulent activities.” A spokesperson was on record two paragraphs later saying, that ”It’s core to our mission to prevent and detect fraud as quickly as possible.” So which is it?
Scams shatter investors’ faith in supervision
The Des Moines Register
Madoff, Stanford, and now, Wasendorf. The names of those discredited financial titans make up the rogues’ gallery of the current economic crisis, just as bank robbers once did during the Great Depression. They have become the John Dillingers of our time — helping themselves to billions of dollars in customer funds and undermining investor confidence in U.S. financial markets.
**JK – Nice to be moving from paper verification…in 2012.
Chuck Jaffe: Money-fund reform fixes last problem, not next one
While regulators and the fund industry are at loggerheads over the “right” solution, involved politicians are desperately trying to fix issues that led to the last crisis without acknowledging it most likely won’t stop the next one.
**JK – Well said. A look at money-market problems.
Orc partners with Blue Trading Systems to provide tablet systems to floor traders
Orc, a leading provider of technology and services for the global financial industry, today announced a partnership with Blue Trading Systems, a trading technology firm focused on the options markets.
**JK – Does this mean iPads are coming to the floor?
New Product Offers Stock-Like Returns With Less Risk
By KIRSTEN GRIND – WSJ
It is the eternal investor dilemma: How to invest in the stock market, without the risk? Eaton Vance Corp. thinks it has a solution. The Boston-based company, with $192 billion in assets under management, earlier this year launched an unusual structured product with returns that are tied to the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. Experts say it could be the first of similar products to follow.
Sheila Bair On New York Fed’s Role In Libor Scandal: ‘I Don’t Understand Why They Didn’t Investigate’
The Huffington Post
Sheila Bair discussed the Libor scandal on CNBC on Friday. When it comes to the Libor scandal, Sheila Bair says Timothy Geithner just didn’t do a very good job watching over Wall Street.
**JK – When Sheila Bair feels like this, how should the rest of us feel?
The Hedge Fund Trail In Liborgate Gets Hotter: Mega Fund Brevan Howard Next?
Two days ago we made the “missing link” connection between traders in Libor manipulating banks (all of which curiously had a hub in Singapore: something else for the media that has been about 4 years too late on this topic to focus on) and hedge funds (most of which curiously centering on the otherwise sleepy bastion of banking: Geneva, Switzerland).
Bank Watchdog Will Test Euro-Zone Nations’ Flexibility
By BRIAN BLACKSTONE – WSJ
The proposed creation of a single euro-zone bank supervisor is shaping up to be a test of the willingness of countries to give up national powers for the sake of the euro. Though still in its infancy, the effort—which envisions a key role for the European Central Bank in supervising the bloc’s largest and most internationally active banks—faces hurdles as officials try to streamline a patchwork of regulators and supervisors numbering in the dozens.
Stock market urged to trim go-betweens
By David Oakley, Investment Correspondent – Financial Times
The stock market needs to move closer to simpler times by cutting the number of go-betweens that divide investors and companies, a government-sponsored review into equities will say on Monday.
Cinnober CEO Javier Tordable Discusses the Company’s Recent Partnerships
Javier Tordable, who took the CEO post at Cinnober in March, has inked notable trading platform, clearing and surveillance technology deals with the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) and The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). This week, the firm announced a deal to provide clearing technology for the London Metal Exchange (LME). In our recent interview during the FIA-FOA International Derivatives Expo in London, Tordable talks about the DGCX deal, the acquisition of Nomura’s Swedish technology development center in Umeå, Sweden, as well as where technology is heading. Interview by John Lothian News editor-in-chief Jim Kharouf.
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Time for a change
Galen Stops – FOW
As the burst of shocking revelations about Peregrine Financial Group’s misappropriation of client money slow to a steady drip of press releases from the US legal and regulatory bodies, the key question now is how the second of two major fraud cases in less than nine months may affect the structure of the futures industry.
Singapore Exchange chief eyes Asia IPOs
By Jeremy Grant – Financial Times
One of the first things that strikes a visitor to Magnus Böcker’s office — aside from the neat piles of papers and a bulky company prospectus on his desk — is a wooden toy battleship on display at the back. It was a gift from a banker in the 1990s to mark the takeover by OM Gruppen, the Nordic exchange operator where Mr Böcker was a senior executive at the time, of the Swedish stock exchange.
NYSE Seeks Clearing Expansion, Cost Cuts, Deputy CEO Says
By Nandini Sukumar – Bloomberg
NYSE Euronext, which spent a year working on a failed merger with Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1), is seeking to expand clearing services and reviewing ways to cut costs in the deal’s aftermath, a senior executive said.
U.S. SEC, CFTC seek Japan’s help in Tibor probe: Nikkei
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have asked Japanese banks and regulators for help in checking whether the Tokyo interbank offered rate, known as Tibor, was manipulated by U.S. banks and others, the Nikkei business daily said.
HSBC scandal erupts as British banks face shake-up
AFP via Yahoo! News
A scandal erupting at Europe’s biggest bank HSBC has added to concerns over the state of Britain’s financial sector amid the Barclays rate-rigging affair and as the industry faces a major shake-up.
Deutsche Bank co-CEO ‘under fire over Libor probe’
AFP via Yahoo! News
One of the two new co-chief executives of Deutsche Bank is facing uncomfortable questions over his role in the Libor interest-rate rigging scandal, according to a newspaper report on Friday.
Libor Case Documents Show Timid Regulators
By BEN PROTESS and MARK SCOTT – NY Times
As an interest rate manipulation scandal grips the banking industry, regulators have defended their actions and trumpeted their efforts to overhaul the flawed system during the financial crisis. But documents released on Friday show that regulators balked at playing a more public role in reform efforts during 2008, and some British officials resisted certain fixes.
Analysis: For brokers like Peregrine, from bad times to worse
By Ann Saphir and Jeanine Prezioso – Reuters
Long before Peregrine Financial Group’s dramatic collapse last week, months before MF Global’s meltdown triggered an industry-wide crisis of confidence, the world of the independently owned futures broker was not a happy one.
Two-thirds of Dodd-Frank still not in place
Two years after Congress enacted sweeping reforms intended to rein in risky practices on Wall Street, only a third of the new rules are actually in force.
Oil Could Be The Focus Of The Next Manipulation Scandal
Now that the Libor manipulation scandal has been revealed, it looks like oil prices could be the focus of the next search for misreporting. According to the International Organization of Securities Commissions , the current system of oil price reporting is “susceptible to manipulation or distortion.
Into the Bailout Buzz Saw
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON – NY times
IT might seem remarkable that there’s more to say about our late Bailout Age. But there is more — a lot more. Nearly four years after Washington began its huge rescues of banks with taxpayer dollars, an important player in this, one of the great financial dramas of all time, is offering a damning account of how the Bush and Obama administrations handled the whole episode.
Another investor files suit against PFG
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
Another investor caught in the downfall of Cedar Falls-based Peregrine Financial Services has filed a suit against the bankrupt futures trading firm over allegedly mishandling funds.
Peregrine Receiver Can Hire Pilot, Restaurant Manager
The receiver for Peregrine Financial Group Inc. has authority to hire Russell Wasendorf Sr.’s head pilot and restaurant manager to help find and secure assets controlled by the bankrupt future brokerage’s former chief executive officer, a judge said.
NFA Plans to Bulk Up Its Auditing After Peregrine Collapse
By Jacob Bunge
The chairman of the National Futures Association on Thursday outlined steps to add more industry expertise to its auditing functions, after the chief executive of Peregrine Financial Group Inc. allegedly hid a long-running fraud from the agency.
US lawmakers propose greater SEC powers
By Shahien Nasiripour in Washington – Financial Times
A bipartisan pair of senior US lawmakers are to introduce legislation on Monday that would expand the authority of the main securities regulator to pursue larger penalties against companies and individuals accused of wrongdoing.
SEC in Pact for Real-Time System on Order, Trade Data
By Nina Mehta – Bloomberg
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission took a step toward improving its oversight of equity and options markets, contracting for a system that collects quote and trade data sold mainly to private users.
Effective Date of NFA Interpretive Notice to NFA Bylaw 1301 Regarding the Assessment Fee for Diminutive Notional Contracts and Security Futures Products
NFA has adopted an Interpretive Notice entitled NFA Bylaw 1301(b): NFA Assessment Fee – Diminutive Notional Value Contracts and Security Futures Products. The Interpretive Notice implements a reduced assessment fee rate for contracts designated by NFA’s Executive Committee as diminutive notional value contracts (DNVCs) and for security futures products (SFPs). The Interpretive Notice also provides that NYMEX’s micro crude oil contract (clearing symbol MCL) has been designated a DNVC. The Interpretive Notice and reduced assessment fee rate are effective September 1, 2012.
CFTC Certifies Euro STOXX 50 Volatility Index Mini Futures Contract Submitted by Eurex Deutschland
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Market Oversight issued a letter advising Eurex Deutschland that its Euro STOXX 50 Volatility Index Mini Futures contract submitted by Eurex Deutschland (Eurex) for review on June 4, 2012, was deemed certified.
Fear and Loathing in London
James Rundle – Waters Technology
It is, as the proverb goes, raining like the proverbial in England’s fair capital this summer. Just in time for the Olympics, naturally, but good news is on the way according to the Met Office. Apparently, the jetstream that dictates the weather on this island is moving away from being directly over the capital, and thus, we may get proper August weather soon. Not so for the dark and stormy clouds hanging over the City at the moment.
ESMA Announces Five New Vacancies
Economist/Financial Market Analyst (AD5)
IT Officer CRA (FGIV)
Senior Officer CRA Supervision (AD8)
Team Leader CRA Supervision (AD8)
Senior Facility officer (AD6)
ESMA Publishes An Update To The Q&A In The Area Of Prospectuses
ESMA has published a Q&A to provide guidance on the conditions for the consent to use a prospectus in retail cascades to apply until such time when, pending European Parliament’s approval, the requirements of the Commission Delegated Regulation (COM DR) dealing with this issue come into force.
[AMF France] Economic and Financial Newsletter – Spring 2012
Exchanges & Trading Facilities
SGX ‘not engaged’ in LSE merger talks
By Jeremy Grant in Singapore – Financial Times
The Singapore Exchange said on Friday it was not in merger talks with the London Stock Exchange, scotching speculation of a tie-up between the UK and Asian bourses.
Thai bourse moves to bolster clearing
By Jeremy Grant in Singapore – Financial Times
The Stock Exchange of Thailand has signed an agreement with the Korea Exchange (KRX) to upgrade its clearing and settlement system in the latest example of Asian exchanges moving to cope with increasing demand for automated trading and regulatory pressure for more use of clearing.
Nasdaq to up Facebook IPO payback to $62 Million
By Jacob Bunge – Dow Jones
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. announced plans Friday to increase compensation to brokers that lost money trading in Facebook Inc.’s problematic stock-market debut to $62 million.
NASDAQ OMX And The NASDAQ Stock Market File Proposed Voluntary Accommodation Program For Review By Securities and Exchange Commission
The NASDAQ OMX Group and The NASDAQ Stock Market today announced that it will file a proposed voluntary accommodation program with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for qualifying members who were disadvantaged by technical problems that arose during the Facebook IPO on May 18.
MGEX Highlights USDA Involvement in New Apple Juice Concentrate Contract
MGEX, a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), is pleased to report the involvement of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Apple Juice Concentrate (AJC) cash price reporting.
Palo Alto Networks Celebrates Initial Public Offering and First Day of Trading on the New York Stock Exchange
CBOE Trader E-News
Irish Stock Exchange Equities Trading Activity Up 14% In First Half Of 2012
TOM MTF Statistics Week 29 2012
NASDAQ Welcomes Travel Site KAYAK (NASDAQ:KYAK) to The NASDAQ Stock Market
Hedge Funds & Managed Futures
As Big U.S. Bond Dealers Retreat as Middlemen, Smaller Firms Step Up
By Katy Burne – Dow Jones
As bulge-bracket dealers scale back their roles as middlemen in bond trading to conform to new regulations and corporate strategies, a host of smaller broker-dealers have been scurrying to fill the void. So far, however, views are mixed about how helpful the new entrants have been.
MARKET TALK: Euribor, Dollar Libor Reverse Typical Price State
Katy Burne – Dow Jones
The difference in borrowing rates between banks in euros within Europe and those in dollars offshore has flip-flopped. The European Banking Federation’s Euribor rate was fixed today at 0.451%, below the 3-month dollar Libor rate from the British Bankers Association at 0.4521%.
Hedge Fund Places Faith in Euro Zone
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ – NY Times
While other Wall Streeters who supported President Obama in 2008 are rushing to distance themselves from the White House, Mr. Lasry remains one of the president’s most loyal backers.
Venture Capital Firm Makes Long-Term Bet on Brazil
By VINOD SREEHARSHA – NY Times
At a time when the Brazilian economy is cooling, at least one Silicon Valley firm is doubling down. Redpoint e.Ventures announced Monday that it had raised $130 million to invest in early-stage Internet start-ups in Brazil, South America’s largest economy.
Banks & Brokers
Arrests May Come Soon in Libor Probes
Prosecutors in the U.S. and in Europe are close to making arrests in connection with the investigation into the possible manipulation of international benchmark interests rates, including the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, Reuters reports on its website Sunday.
Danish Bank Group Rejects Libor Parallels in Cibor Probe
The results of the Cibor probe are due to be released by the “end of the summer” and will be based on interviews with all stakeholders, including pension funds and mortgage lenders, Joergen A. Horwitz, the association’s director, said in an interview.
Europe’s banks stage U.S. retreat
Tracy Alloway and Tom Braithwaite, FT.com
Eurozone banks have retreated dramatically from the US over the five years since the financial crisis began, cutting their assets in the country by more than a third, according to a Financial Times analysis of Federal Reserve data.
Credit Suisse won’t sell investment bank: chairman
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Credit Suisse will not sell or spin off its investment bank but is seeking to improve its business model as tighter regulation makes the risky unit less profitable, the Swiss bank’s chairman was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Rake shuns Barclays chairman role: sources
Reuters via Yahoo! News
LONDON – Michael Rake, deputy chairman of Barclays Plc , has ruled himself out of contention to be its new chairman, striking a blow to the UK bank as it hunts for new leadership to steer it through its interest rate-rigging scandal. Rake, who was considered the favorite for the job, is not interested in the role, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
HSBC Needs CEO Who Will Clean Up and Break Up the Bank
Bankers have made some dramatic moves in recent years, but even the most cynical observers were stunned last week when David Bagley, HSBC Holdings Plc’s top compliance officer, resigned during a U.S. Senate hearing.
Blackstone, Haste to Bid for RBS Direct Line, Telegraph Says
Andy Haste, the former chief executive of RSA Insurance Group Plc , will lead a bid by private-equity firms for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s Direct Line Group, the Sunday Telegraph said, citing people it didn’t identify.
Ex-bankers go solo in the Gulf
Reuters via Yahoo! News
DUBAI – After a 16-year career at Morgan Stanley Lebanese-born banker May Nasrallah detected a gap in the Middle East market for advising small companies, prompting her to leave the bank and set up her own financial advisory firm in Dubai.
Morgan Stanley, Qatari Fund May Do Commodities Deal
CNBC via Yahoo! Finance
Morgan Stanley officials are in advanced talks with a Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, about an investment in the bank’s commodities unit, say several people familiar with the matter, and a deal could be imminent.
UBS’s Track Record of Averting Prosecution – Common Sense
New York Times
The Swiss bank, one of more than a dozen being investigated for manipulating interest rates, has a trail of transgressions that makes it stand out from other banks.
Reports of the death of SDPs are greatly exaggerated
Paul Caplin – FOW
Far from signalling the end of single-dealer platforms, the impending raft of new regulation in the US and Europe will create a new business environment in which the direct online channel is more important than ever for both banks and their clients, says Paul Caplin.
Ex-Bank of America Official Indicted in Muni Bid-Rigging
New York Times
Phillip Murphy, former head of the bank’s municipal derivatives desk, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and conspiracy to make false entries in bank records.
BBA Statement Regarding Emails Released By The Bank Of England
Bank Of England: Further Information And Correspondence In Relation To The BBA Libor Review In 2008
Indexes & Products
Nine New iShares Bond Index ETFs Launched On Xetra
Hong Kong-Listed China A-Shares ETF Launches
Tokyo Stock Exchange: New ETF To Be Listed On Aug. 9, 2012 (Thu.) – Mitsubishi UFJ AM
S&P Dow Jones Indices Announces Changes To The S&P/TSX Canadian Indices – A Deletion From The S&P/TSX Venture Composite And Venture Select Indices
MVM Partner Selects Trayport’s GlobalVision Trading GatewaySM To Drive Growth In Central And Eastern Europe
Trayport, a leading provider of energy trading solutions to traders, brokers and exchanges worldwide today announced that MVM Partner Zrt are now using GlobalVision Trading Gateway for power trading in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
Cullen Goes Live With Calastone
Dot Commodity To Enhance Low Latency Access To TOCOM On X_TRADER Platform – Addressing The Needs Of Professional Traders Globally With KVH Proximity Services
BCSC Executive Director’s Bulletin: Securities regulator issues notice of hearing and temporary order against B.C. reporting issuer and three B.C. residents
Investor Alert: BCSC issues warning about Master Benefit Card
Environmental & Energy
China keen to avoid CO2 rollercoaster ride
Price control mechanisms and tightly regulated markets are among the measures China is considering for its emissions trading schemes in a bid to avoid the price volatility and scandals that have hit Europe’s $148-billion scheme.
**RKB – China wants a ceiling and a floor.
When Beijing Cleared the Air
The New York Times
As the Olympic Games draw near in London and some fret about the environmental impact, it might be instructive to look back on the measures taken when Beijing played host in 2008.
How Brazil, India and China are redefining sustainability
In India, family-owned enterprises like the TATA group occupy a place in citizen’s hearts and minds that is not easily shifted. They are viewed as the “go to” institutions to build schools and other social institutions, and fulfilling these social needs guarantees these companies’ license to operate.
China Foreign Deals Must Obey Market Principles, Regulator Says
Chinese companies making foreign acquisitions must obey market principles, follow “international rules of the game” and play down national interest, the nation’s foreign-exchange regulator said.
Japan Ruling Party Seeks to Criminalize Stock Information Leaks
Japan’s ruling party is seeking changes to insider-trading rules that would allow criminal charges and fines for brokerages and bankers who leak stock offering information, according to a draft document obtained by Bloomberg News.
China’s Citic Securities to buy CLSA for $1.25 bln
Citic Securities Co. has sealed a deal to buy Hong-Kong based brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets from its struggling parent, France’s Credit Agricole SA, for $1.25 billion, the first major acquisition by a Chinese broker of a foreign competitor.
Thai Bourse Introduces Operations Master Plan, Agrees KRX To Develop Clearing Solution
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) continues its commitment to expand services and strengthen capabilities for investors and other market participants by introducing its Operations Master Plan and agreeing with Korea Exchange (KRX) to help develop its clearing and settlement system.
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. Further Builds Equities Team in Asia
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., a leading global financial services firm, announced that Saurav Chatterjee, formerly of Morgan Stanley, has joined as Managing Director in the Equity Capital Markets division.
HKEx Trading Arrangements Today
Due to the hoisting of typhoon signal No. 8 by the Hong Kong Observatory, trading on the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEx) was suspended at 17:40 HKT until further notice.
HKEx: Changes Of Designated Securities For Short Selling
Qatar Exchange introduces new data products
Qatar Exchange today announced the launch of 3 new market data products geared towards market professionals. A set of tools designed to provide market participants with greater market transparency; the new products allow for more accurate market tracking and encourage informed investment decisions.
MCX Weekly Market Report July 13, 2012 – July 19, 2012
Malawi Stock Exchange Weekly Trading Report-20th July, 2012
Merrill Lynch embezzler now faces bankruptcy woes
Associated Press via Yahoo! News
After getting out of prison in 2007 for stealing $43 million from Merrill Lynch, Daniel Gordon quickly was back in business, loaning hundreds of thousands of dollars to pro athletes at interest rates topping 75 percent per year and on his way to making multimillion-dollar business deals, court records show.