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By Madalena Araujo, CNN
Britain’s Treasury Minister said on Wednesday that she hopes those investigating financial corruption cases such as the foreign exchange rate-rigging scandal find a way to send those responsible to prison and called their actions "disgusting."
“I sincerely hope that they [the Serious Fraud Office] do find the ability to literally send people to prison over this. I think that certainly taxpayers in Britain would feel a lot better if they felt those responsible went to prison,” Andrea Leadsom told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Following a year-long investigation, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) hit six of the world’s biggest banks in the UK, the U.S. and Switzerland with a record fine of $4.3 billion.
Over a period of six years, the banks attempted to rig the foreign exchange market by allowing traders to share confidential information regarding client orders, and to scheme with colleagues to fix rates and profits.
By Mick Krever, CNN
There have “clearly” been consequences for the Russian economy because of the crisis in Ukraine, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
The IMF said Wednesday that the Russian economy was in recession, and is expected to grow by only 0.2% in 2014.
“If you look at the monetary policy, if you look at the capital flows, if you look at their own forecast, there have been consequences on the Russian economy as a result of the geopolitical situation, the uncertainty, and the sanctions that have been decided,” Lagarde told Amanpour.
In a key sign of international support for Ukraine, the International Monetary Fund approved a $17.1 billion bailout for the country on Thursday.
The bailout, Lagarde, said, is “obviously not without risk, but it's a necessity to respond to a member's request.”
In terms of crisis management, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been the “grown-up in the room,” Financial Times Assistant Editor Gillian Tett told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.
They spoke moments just after the Fed announced its decision to begin reducing its simulative measures.
Wednesday was Bernanke’s last scheduled public appearance before he hands the reigns over to his expected successor, Janet Yellen.
It was, in other words, his swan song.
Bernanke was “pretty slow and timid” in reacting to the economic bubble, Tett said, but kept his cool when the crisis hit.
“In terms of providing stimulus to the economy” through the Fed’s extensive and unprecedented programs – “he’s done that well.”
“If the Fed now handles the exit well, Bernanke will indeed go down in history extremely well,” she said.
A top economic aide to U.S. President Bill Clinton said that unlike the last government shutdown, in 1995, the Republican party of 2013 has no idea what it wants.
“We do not have anyone in charge,” Laura Tyson, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. “Speaker Boehner cannot control the Republican majority.”
By contrast, during the 1995-96 shutdown, she said, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was a “powerful” leader.
“He was able to control his party,” she said. “It was a failed tactic on their part – they ended up suffering in the polls and they ended up helping to re-elect President Clinton the next year – but he had control of the tactic and he had control of what they wanted to get.”
“Here we have a situation where the Republicans are not united,” Tyson told Amanpour. “Boehner cannot raise a deal, as we saw just yesterday. And there a number of people in his party who have different demands.”
Get your act together, America. That is the message Angel Gurria, who represents the 34 wealthiest countries of the world, had for U.S. lawmakers in an interview Tuesday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Gurria is secretary general of the OECD, or Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“We’re getting a little purple here, because we thought we would have more breathing a lot sooner,” he told Amanpour. “It’s very difficult to understand why the U.S. are doing this to themselves.”
Gurria met with the 34 OECD member states on Tuesday, and said that the U.S. crisis was “practically the only thing we were discussing.”
Like a policeman pleading with someone not to jump off a bridge, Gurria begged with the U.S. to recognize how good it had things.
“They were the only bright spot so far,” he said. “It was a good place; things were happening. Jobs were being put back and growth was happening in the United States. And then this happens.”
NASA’s unmanned Voyager 2 spacecraft may have put it best when it “tweeted” from beyond the solar system: “Farewell, humans. Sort it out yourselves.”
Most employees at NASA are now among the million U.S. government employees on forced leave because congress has failed to pass a spending bill, forcing a shutdown.
The world is watching in seeming disbelief. So, is America a failed state?
Not quite, but the apparent failure of the American congress to govern certainly raises the question. If we were covering some of the far-flung failing states we often do, we’d know just how to put it.
“The capital’s rival clans find themselves at an impasse, unable to agree on a measure that will allow the American state to carry out its most basic functions. … The current crisis has raised questions in the international community about the regime’s ability to govern this complex nation of 300 million people.”
That, of course, was a satirical post; it appeared in the online magazine Slate, but it just about fits.
A small cabal of representatives in the House have blocked passage of a government spending bill, and are threatening to default on America’s debts, because they disagree with a bill, Obamacare, passed by congress three years ago.
At stake, unlike a “Banana Republic” is the world’s largest economy and the currency of global trade.
An American default on its debt could do “nothing good” for the economy, either in the U.S. or abroad, Former Republican Senator Judd Gregg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
Gregg spoke with Amanpour as the U.S. faced dual financial crises: An impeding government shutdown imposed by a congress unwilling to fund the government, which could come Monday night, and a possible default on the government’s debts, which would come in about three weeks.
It is that second problem, a default on America’s debts, that would be the much “bigger problem,” Gregg said.
“It would,” he told Amanpour, “obviously [have] significant ramifications for the country and for our fiscal policies.”
There are a group of Republicans in the House of Representatives who do not want President Obama’s healthcare reform – dubbed Obamacare – to go into effect, and are willing to do anything possible to block it.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday that things are looking up for Europe, and she expects economic growth next year.
“From having had quarters and quarters of negative growth, we are seeing progress next year,” she said. “I don’t want to use the green shoots analogy, but we’re seeing some positive news on that front.”
Many people have suggested that the IMF itself is partially responsible for the long-lasting European recession, and that it was too slow to respond to the crisis in Greece among other Southern European countries.
Yet Lagarde told Amanpour that she did not think they had dropped the ball.
“It was a question of when and how do you cut the arm,” she said, “and how do you stop contamination from possibly putting the whole system down.”
In other words, in a nose-diving plane, please put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you.
The former head of a top U.S. financial oversight agency issued a stark warning over the upcoming, déjà vu battle over America’s debt ceiling.
“As sympathetic as I am to some of the Republican concerns about our fiscal situation,” Sheila Bair, former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday, “those are nuclear bombs that you can never actually use.”
Bair served under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama as head of the FDIC, which guarantees the deposits of Americans’ bank accounts.
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