Monthly Archives: May 2015

Hiding in plain sight

Fugitive arrested after hiding out on Appalachian Trail for six years

Escape to the country

If you’re on the FBI’s most wanted list, what’s the best place to lay low? Turns out the Appalachian Trail is the perfect spot if you’re keen to evade the strong arm of the law, as it emerges that multi-million-dollar embezzler James T Hammes eluded capture for six years by posing as a hiker.

Hammes had been on the run since 2009 for allegedly embezzling more than $8.7m from a Pepsi bottling plant in Kentucky. He was apprehended earlier this month in Virginia and is expected to return to Ohio to face charges.

Continue reading

Hoffman case puts trader bonuses in spotlight

Banker sues for lost bonus payments totalling $83

More embarrassment for Barclays

In the same week Barclays pleaded guilty to charges of rigging foreign exchange rates, potentially embarrassing details have emerged that one of the bank’s traders was paid more than $260m in a period of just five years.

Jonathan Hoffman earned the breathtaking salary at the same time as banks were under pressure to scale down bonuses in a bid to restrict the reckless behaviour that triggered the global economic crisis in the late noughties. The payment raises the issue of the huge sums of money that were still being paid to bankers even in the wake of the recession.

Continue reading

Will big data influence future election campaigns?

Big data enabling political parties of all colours to more effectively target voters

Changing the game

With the outcome of the recent British parliamentary elections confounding the pollsters who were predicting another coalition government, it seems as if the ‘floating voter’ is having a bigger influence on elections than ever before. A pre-election poll showed that around 40% of Brits were undecided right up to the big day, so how are political parties trying to secure their share of the floaters?

Continue reading

Tesla announces ‘Powerwall’ domestic energy solution

Tesla announces the development of a rechargeable battery for domestic use

Energy for free?

What if you could supply all the energy need for your home from a set of rechargeable batteries? Well it seems that this futuristic vision could be more than just an eco-pipedream in the wake of Tesla’s announcement that it intends to enter the domestic energy market with low-cost solar batteries for homes, businesses and utilities.

Continue reading

Hound of Hounslow arrested

Hound of Hounslow arrested for helping to cause 2010 flash crash

The Hound of Hounslow

It’s an unlikely story. A solo British trader stands accused of being instrumental in triggering a multi-billion-dollar US stock market crash from his parent’s suburban west London home.

Dubbed ‘the Hound of Hounslow’ in a wry reference to Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in the 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street, Navinder Singh Sarao is currently being held at the request of US authorities over allegations that he was involved in causing the 2010 ‘flash crash’ which caused a brief but significant 6% plunge in the world’s biggest stock market.

Thirty-six-year-old Sarao is fighting extradition to the US and so far hasn’t been able to raise the £5million bond required as bail money. He faces 22 charges including wire fraud, commodities fraud and market manipulation, carrying sentences totalling a up to 380 years. The US Justice Department claims Sarao and his company, Nav Sarao Futures Limited, made £26 million illegally over a five-year period using an ‘automated trading programme’ to manipulate the market for futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Continue reading

Fed resists early interest rate rise

Low interest rates continue as the Federal Reserve eyes sustained economic recovery

Rate rise ruled out

It seems there’s to be no early rise in US interest rates following a statement from the Federal Reserve that indicated it would be looking for significantly stronger economic performance before it could agree an increase in borrowing costs.

The move follow news that growth has stalled, with data showing that the world’s largest economy grew by an annualised rate of just 0.2% in the first quarter of 2015, with only some of the poor performance due to ‘transitory’ factors like the record-breaking winter weather that affected large areas of the country in the early part of the year.

Continue reading