Finance (International)

More Trudeau Foundation trouble

The Montreal-based Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation tried unsuccessfully to refund a 2016 Chinese donation due to concerns about political interference. It turned out to be legally difficult because the named donor was a Chinese billionaire but the actual source was the Chinese government. [node:read-more:link]

Oil prices surge on production cut

International benchmark crude oil prices rose after Saudi Arabia, Iraq and several Gulf states announced April 2 that they were daily production by more than a million barrels (159,000 cubic metres). Russia also said it will extend its cut of 500,000 barrels a day until the end of 2023 as economists warned that higher prices could make it harder to deal with inflation in export markets. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. targets unexplained wealth

The B.C. government is planning to widen the scope of its money-laundering legislation to crack down on organized crime assets by compelling people to explain how they acquired assets. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said March 30 that it will, among other things, facilitate finding criminal assets hidden with family members but the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says B.C. “are going to have to go to court to prove that they are not criminals, and that's just unconstitutional.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. ordered to compensate Iran

The International Court of Justice has ordered the U.S. to compensate Iranian companies whose assets have been frozen. The UN court did not specific exact amounts in its March 30 ruling and acknowledged it has no jurisdiction over Iranian central bank assets frozen in a New York Citibank account. [node:read-more:link]

Swiss banks on notice

Four bankers who enabled a family friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin to deposit the equivalent of US$30 million in Swiss banks over three years have been fined and suspended for two years. The three Russians and one Swiss national helped cellist Sergei Roldugin to deposit the funds even though he could not explain their provenance. Their lack of due diligence evidently puts the famously secretive Swiss banking sector on notice to heed the country’s banking laws [node:read-more:link]

Hungary fed up with critics

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says “inacceptable” criticism of his country’s democratic and cultural issues is undermining cooperation within NATO and the EU. Members of the European Parliament say Hungary is “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under President Victor Orban, who has not criticized Russia for invading Ukraine and continues to block Swedish and Finnish membership for Sweden and Finland. [node:read-more:link]

Britain hikes key lending rates

The Bank of England today raised its key lending rate by a quarter of a point to 4.25 per cent, its highest in 14 years, after inflation spiked unexpectedly in February. “We were really a bit on a knife edge as to whether there would be a recession, Bank Governor Andrew Bailey said. “But I’m a bit more optimistic now” even though the economy was “not off to the races.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada moves to ease banking fears

The Bank of Canada was among the ranks of the world’s largest central banks which came together on the weekend to stop a banking crisis from spreading as Swiss authorities persuaded UBS Group to buy rival Credit Suisse Group for the equivalent of C$4.4 billion while assuming C$7.4 billion in losses. [node:read-more:link]

Major drug trial collapses

A trial arising from the largest “international drug takedown” in Toronto’s history has fallen apart after all charges were stayed. “No reasons for the stay were provided,” the Public Prosecution Service of Canada confirmed March 7, but a defence lawyer said that “a combination of witness issues, disclosure issues and delays in the progress of the proceedings.” Project Brisa’s six-month investigation led to the seizure of more than a tonne of smuggled drugs and a total of 182 charges against 20 persons [node:read-more:link]

Suspected money-laundering for Putin

Four former executives at the now-closed Swiss branch of Russia's Gazprombank are on trial in Zurich for allegedly helping a Russian musician to launder funds on behalf of Vladimir Putin. Sergei Roldugin, who presents himself as a cellist with a modest income and is a personal friend to the Russian president, is said to have deposited the equivalent of US$50 million in Swiss accounts between 2014 and 2016 with no credible explanation of its provenance. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese-linked donation refunded

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is returning $200,000 received in 2016 from a billionaire donor linked to the Chinese government. “We cannot keep any donation that may have been sponsored by a foreign government and would not knowingly do so,” Foundation CEO Pascale Fournier said March 1. [node:read-more:link]

A law with unintended consequences

Federal legislation designed to improve housing affordability is causing more harm and good, according to the Canadian Bank of Commerce. Benjamin Tal, its Deputy Chief Economist, says that The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act, which took effect January 1, is blocking investment in new housing stock because of how it is worded. [node:read-more:link]

More U.S. sanctions on Russia

Banks and defence suppliers are among more than 100 entities within Russia and abroad targetted in new U.S. sanctions today, the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. also announced $2 billion in new aid for Ukraine as well as $550 million to help Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova to strengthen their energy infrastructure. [node:read-more:link]


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