The 50-year-old Versace was gunned down on the steps of his Miami apartment in 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
According to a new book by Giuseppe Di Bella, a former member of the Calabrian Mafia known as the N’drangheta, Versace was allegedly killed “over debts” he had with the Godfathers.
In the book Metastasi, Di Bella alleges that Versace was being used by Godfather Paolo De Stefano to launder money.
Di Bella told investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi:”There were rivers of money from drugs, extortion, protection rackets, loan sharking, mountains of money and it had to be made clean.
“Bars, restaurants, property and luxury goods were used but also clean businesses like that of Versace.”
Di Bella also describes how the N’drangheta plotted to steal Versace’s ashes from a cemetery near his family home on Lake Como on New Year’s Eve 1997 but it was never carried out.
Archive for the ‘Greed is Good’ Category
Perhaps the clue is in today’s date, Friday 13, but equity investors should be very afraid if the reappearance of a US technical indicator believed to herald an imminent market crash is to be believed.
The ‘Hindenburg Omen’ is the ominously-titled list of five separate indicators linked to the New York Stock Exchange which when they occur at the same time, have historically warned of an impending crash.
Named after the tragic events of 1937 when the zeppelin airship Hindenburg dramatically exploded into flames in New Jersey, influential US market blog Zero Hedge reported over night that the five technical indicators appeared to have occurred last Tuesday.
In fact Zero Hedge describes the Hindenburg Omen as: ‘Easily the most feared technical pattern in all of chartism (for the bullishly inclined).
Those who know what it is, tend to have an atavistic reaction to its mere mention.’
In the words of prosecutors, the bar tabs of Shawn Clark were “epic.”
Amid thumping music and twirling dancers, the former labor union official dropped $65,000 in seven years at go-go bars across New Jersey.
On average, prosecutors say, he hit clubs once or twice a week, buying pints of beer, bottles of chardonnay and shots of liquor chased by fizzy energy drinks at places like Johnny A’s Hitching Post in Paterson, Double D’s in Morristown and Pure Go Go in Manville. Some days he spent more than $1,000.
And every round, prosecutors say, was illegally charged to an American Express account belonging to the union where Clark was business manager.
“We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of liquid lunches, some lasting three to four hours … all on the union credit card,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow said during opening arguments today at Clark’s federal trial in Trenton.
If anyone has noticed the soaring share price of Priceline.com, it’s an easy bet that Canadian actor William Shatner had something to do with it.
Unofficial word on Wall Street is that Shatner, who was initially paid in Priceline shares when he became pitchman for the Internet travel website startup in 1997, is now worth a cool $600 million.
No wonder he looked so happy singing a duet of Total Eclipse of the Heart on Lopez Tonight the other week.
Priceline’s shares, which at one point plummeted to $1.80 during the dot-com crisis in 2000, are now trading close to $300 apiece.
And although the company won’t disclose how many shares (or salary) Shatner receives, it’s presumed to be plenty.
After all, it’s Shatner’s personality driven ads for the website that has made it so popular.
As he approaches his eighth decade on the planet, Shatner has gone through more ups and downs than a freight elevator.
After starring in the iconic role of Captain Kirk on Star Trek in the late ’60s, he later could find no work and lived in a truck he’d park on the street in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A.
A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.
The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the “immortal soul clause” to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.
“By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions.”
GameStation’s form also points out that “we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction.”
Tony Blair waged an extraordinary two-year battle to keep secret a lucrative deal with a multinational oil giant which has extensive interests in Iraq.
The former Prime Minister tried to keep the public in the dark over his dealings with South Korean oil firm UI Energy Corporation.
Mr Blair – who has made at least £20million since leaving Downing Street in June 2007 – also went to great efforts to keep hidden a £1million deal advising the ruling royal family in Iraq’s neighbour Kuwait.
In an unprecedented move, he persuaded the committee which vets the jobs of former ministers to keep details of both deals from the public for 20 months, claiming it was commercially sensitive.
The deals emerged yesterday when the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments finally lost patience with Mr Blair and decided to ignore his objections and publish the details.
Assisted suicide for anyone over 70 who has simply had enough of life is being considered in Holland.
Non-doctors would be trained to administer a lethal potion to elderly people who ‘consider their lives complete’.
The radical move would be a world first and push the boundaries even further in the country that first legalised euthanasia.
The Dutch parliament is to debate the measure after campaigners for assisted suicide collected 112,500 signatures in a month.
Euthanasia has been available for the terminally ill in Holland since 2002 in cases of ‘hopeless and unbearable suffering’ certified by two doctors, but this would be a far bigger step.
Investigators for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Office spent four hours Friday questioning Sherr-una Booker as it kicked off its probe into whether State Police — and possibly Gov. Paterson himself — intervened to quash her domestic-violence case against an administration official.
They asked about the incident last Halloween between Paterson’s top aide, David Johnson, and Booker in the Bronx apartment they shared, according to a person briefed on the investigation.
Booker had previously told cops that Johnson choked her, ripped off her clothes and pushed her into a mirror.
Later on Friday, investigators turned the heat on Maj. Charles Day, head of the governor’s security detail, who reportedly contacted Booker the day after the altercation and the day before she complained of State Police pressure in a Bronx Family Court appearance, the source said.
The Post revealed yesterday that the inquiry will also look at Booker’s purchase of a $40,000 Lexus shortly before she dropped her case.
The European Union has shown its righteous wrath by stripping Greece of its vote at a crucial meeting next month, the worst humiliation ever suffered by an EU member state.
The council of EU finance ministers said Athens must comply with austerity demands by March 16 or lose control over its own tax and spend policies altogether. It if fails to do so, the EU will itself impose cuts under the draconian Article 126.9 of the Lisbon Treaty in what would amount to economic suzerainty.
While the symbolic move to suspend Greece of its voting rights at one meeting makes no practical difference, it marks a constitutional watershed and represents a crushing loss of sovereignty.
“We certainly won’t let them off the hook,” said Austria’s finance minister, Josef Proll, echoing views shared by colleagues in Northern Europe.
Some German officials have called for Greece to be denied a vote in all EU matter until it emerges from “receivership”.
Seen on a recent Citibank (C) statement: “Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change.”
First, a disclaimer: Selling your organs is illegal in the United States. It’s also very dangerous. Handing off an organ is risky enough when done in a top hospital, even more so if you’re doing it for cash in a back alley.
There are many organs one can theoretically do without, or for which there’s a backup. Most folks can spare a kidney, a portion of their liver, a lung, some intestines, and an eyeball, and still live a long life.
That said, donating a lung, a piece of liver or a section of intestines is a very complicated surgery, so it’s not done frequently on the black market. And no one’s going to make much cash on an eyeball.
“In the U.S., there’s a fairly steady supply of donated corneas from corpses,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, director of public affairs at the New England Organ Bank. “There’s pretty much no market demand for eyes.”
Giving up a kidney, though, is a relatively simple surgery that has netted desperate people a few bucks.
Now, black-market organ dealers don’t do a great job of filing taxes, but here are some prices based on rumored deals and reports from the World Heath Organization.
In India, a kidney fetches around $20,000. In China, buyers will pay $40,000 or more. A good, healthy kidney from Israel goes for $160,000. Don’t expect to pocket all that dough, though.
“The person giving up the organ only gets a fraction of the fee,” says Sally Satel, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute think tank who studies the prices paid by legal and illegal organ-donor operations.
After the organ broker—the guy who sets up your kidney-for-cash transaction—takes his cut, he needs to pay for travel, the surgeon, medical supplies and a few “look-the-other-way” payoffs. Most people get $1,000 to $10,000 for their kidney (probably much less than you were hoping for).
I joined a Facebook group called “Who is Ellie Light?” This morning I was invited to join a new group: “Who is Mark Spivey?”
Who is Mark Spivey? I know only this: that he is the author of this pro-Obama letter that has appeared in numerous publications:
A recent Associated Press article stated that President Barack Obama’s hesitancy on the Afghan war buildup implies weakness. I wish world leaders had more of that kind of weakness.
Clearly, Obama does not want to send soldiers into harm’s way without a clear goal, a solid plan and an exit strategy, three aspects sorely missing from former President George W. Bush’s military ventures. I know that we Americans are used to presidents who play cowboy, who say things like “bring ’em on” and “mission accomplished” without a second thought; presidents who send Americans into battle on falsified weapons reports.
But it seems our current president understands that you don’t send soldiers into battle without first nailing down what they’re supposed to be doing, and why. So hats off to Obama’s “hesitation.” Soldiers are human beings, not chess pieces. It’s about time we get a president who understands that.
— Mark Spivey
The letter has appeared — at a minimum! — at The Minnesota Daily, at the Baltimore Chronicle (on the same page as Ellie Light’s letter!), at the San Diego Union-Tribune (where he claims to be from San Diego), at the Naples News (where he claims to be from Naples, Florida), and at Buzzflash.com. And there are more. You know what to do.
Also: Ed Morrissey forwarded me an e-mail he received from Ellie Light several days ago. The mail appears to have been routed through the IP address 184.108.40.206, which comes back to Saudi Arabia.
Hardcore bowlers don’t just call their main alley their lanes — it’s their house.
A beloved house burned down last week after 50 years on the edge of Vineland, a city in a part of New Jersey far from the historical home of the mob and the teeming chaos of the shore, a place where the state nickname, the Garden State, seems apt.
Sadness turned to anger Wednesday, when authorities announced that the manager of a rival bowling alley, the only other one in Cumberland County, had been charged with arson in the destruction of Loyle Lanes.
Steven Smink, the lessee-manager of Pike Lanes Family Fun Center in Deerfield, hired another man, Felix Manzano, 21, and a teenager to torch Loyle Lanes, police said.
Google said Tuesday that it may pull out of China because of a sophisticated computer network attack originating in China and targeting its e-mail service.
The company said it had evidence to suggest that “a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts” of Chinese human rights activists. The attack was discovered in December. Based on its investigation to date, Google said it does not believe the cyber attack succeeded.
“Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves,” the company said in a blog posting.
But David Drummond, Google senior vice president and chief legal officer, added that the attacks “have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China.”
Google has further decided it is no longer willing to continue censoring its search results in Chinese Google sites, Drummond said, and over the next few weeks it will discuss with the Beijing government how it may operate “an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all,” he said.
Citizens of Shanghai are aghast at the collapse of a major new bridge, pictured, which was revealed to be constructed partially out of rubbish instead of concrete.
The bridge, spanning the Wusong River in central Shanghai, was completed in 2009 and replaced a century old bridge with a more modern design.
However, after only a short period in operation the bridge began to collapse, with investigators finding such sturdy construction materials as bags of rubbish, Styrofoam, scrap wood and waste plastic used in the structure in place of reinforced concrete.
The investigation into the so-called Warmergate emails – the leaked data from the University of East Anglia’s climate change department – took a new twist last night when The Mail on Sunday tracked the stolen messages to a suspect computer which provides internet access to China.
The address used to post the emails is also on an international ‘black list’ which highlights suspicious behaviour on the internet. The revelation comes after the Russian security service, the FSB – the former KGB – authorised the release of confidential information that allowed us to retrace the route taken by the email traffic.
A computer company in Siberia was ultimately used to post the controversial messages – which cast doubt on the reliability of scientists’ global warming claims – on the internet. The revelation led to claims that the Russians were behind the release of the information.
But, anxious to distance themselves from the leak, the FSB revealed how the data had been sent to Siberia from a computer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The evidence passed to The Mail on Sunday now raises questions about whether Chinese hackers, backed by the communist regime, are the source of the emails.
The average New Yorker uses one-half to one-third the electricity of other Americans. Our carbon footprints are just 29 percent of people who live outside the five boroughs, and City Hall has practical plans to reduce even that amount by nearly a third over the next two decades.
No wonder that this month, in a talk at the New York Academy of Science, Rohit Aggarwalat, the mayor’s chief adviser on sustainability, said the city was “the most environmentally efficient society in the United States.”
So it makes perfect sense that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is going to Copenhagen on Monday and Tuesday to address the international conference on climate change: his administration is working to head off problems that will not emerge until long after he is gone.
A strong case can be made that when it comes to energy and climate issues, Mr. Bloomberg is the most visionary public official in the country. And a strong argument can also be made that on a personal level, he ranks among the worst individual polluters ever to hold public office. Mr. Bloomberg owns a helicopter and two jets, both Falcon 900s. He flies everywhere on private jets, by far the least efficient form of transportation on or above the earth. He takes his jet to Bermuda many weekends. He has flown around the globe on it. He uses it to go to Washington. He is planning to get to Copenhagen for the climate conference by private jet, too.
The carbon math works out like this: by taking his Falcon 900 to Denmark, Mr. Bloomberg will be responsible for the release of 37 times the carbon dioxide than if he and his entourage flew on a scheduled commercial flight. The calculations were done at my request by Dimitri Simos, the developer of software used by the airline industry to assess aircraft emission and performance.
Mr. Simos said that a Falcon 900 carrying eight people from Newark to Copenhagen would produce 21.6 tons of carbon dioxide. By adding eight people to the scheduled Scandinavian Airlines flight, the aircraft, usually an Airbus A330-300, would produce an additional 0.58 tons of carbon dioxide. Mr. Bloomberg’s routine trips to Bermuda are even more carbon costly: the private jet produces 130 times more emissions than going commercial. On those jaunts, Mr. Simos said, the Falcon produces 4.3 tons of carbon dioxide; putting another two people on an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 that flies to Bermuda would produce only 66 more pounds.
Global consulting firm Accenture Ltd. is ending its sponsorship of Tiger Woods, saying the golfer is “no longer the right representative” after the “circumstances of the last two weeks.”
Accenture’s announcement Sunday marks the company’s first statement since allegations of Woods’ multiple infidelities surfaced in recent weeks. The move makes Accenture the first sponsor to cut ties altogether with Woods since his marital troubles came to light and since his statement Friday that the 33-year-old is taking an indefinite leave from golf to work on his marriage.
The relationship between Woods and Accenture goes back six years, with the New York-based firm in 2006 crediting its “Go on, be a Tiger” campaign with boosted its image significantly. Accenture has used Woods to personify its claimed attributes of integrity and high performance.
“After careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising,” the company said Sunday, adding that “it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family.” Accenture said it will immediately transition to a new advertising campaign, with a major effort scheduled to launch later in 2010.
Times are tough, and people are sat at home chewing bellybutton fluff instead of eating out or ordering in. What are restaurant owners doing? Some are not paying staff, and others are sending abusive emails calling them “fucking lazy motherfuckers.”
Vadim Ponorovsky, the owner of Paradou, a restaurant in the Meatpacking district, described on its website as a “light-filled, airy oasis… filled with warmth and charm,” really REALLY wants waitstaff to collect email addresses from customers, presumably so he can spam them.
Here’s the happy, team-building email he sent out, from a tipster.
Please read this email carefully.
This is the last time we will be discussing this. This weekend, saturday and sunday we had 451 customers. Guess how many emails we collected? 60? 80? 40? No. None of those. We, or more acurately you, collected 2 emails. Thats less than half of one percent. 2 fucking emails.
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU ASSHOLES?!?!?! How many times do we have to tell you how important it is that you collect emails. Everytime we have a slow night and you make no money and you sit there bitching about how you make no money, remember its because youre fucking lazy motherfuckers. YOU SHOULD ALL BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!! ALL OF YOU, INCLUDING THE HOSTS!!!!
Let me guess, youre probably sitting there saying “Vadim is such a fucking asshole. How dare he speak to me like this. I dont need this.” Youre right, you dont, so why dont you get the fuck out. Any and all of you.
Youre probably sitting there saying “How dare he speak to me like this. How dare he not have respect for me”. Youre right there also. I have absolutely no respect for any of you. Why? Because every fucking day, all of you continue to show that you have absolutely no respect for me or Alex. So if you dont respect us enough to do the little that we ask you to do, then GET THE FUCK OUT YOU FUCKING LAZY DISRESPECTFUL ASSHOLES!!!!!
Effective immediately, any server or host who fails to collect at least 20 emails per week, will be fined $100. Anyone failing to collect at least 20 emails for two weeks in a month will be fired immediately. No matter what. No matter who you are. You dont want to do your job, you dont want to do what we ask, you dont belong at Paradou.
Go find another place to work. How dare you disrespect Alex and me this way. How dare you completely ignore what we ask of you time after time after time. I am sick of all this shit, you bunch of fucking children. This is what I have to deal with at 6AM?!?!? I wouldnt tolerate this from my 13 year old, and Im sure as shit not going to tolerate it from any of you assholes.
You give no respect, you get 10 times back.
Police say a gang in the Peruvian jungle has been killing people and draining fat from the corpses to sell on the black market for use in cosmetics, although medical experts say they doubt a major market for fat exists.
Three suspects confessed to killing five people, but the gang may have been involved in dozens more, said Col. Jorge Mejia, chief of Peru’s anti-kidnapping police. He said one suspect claimed the gang wasn’t the only one doing such killings.
Mejia said two of the suspects were arrested carrying bottles of liquid human fat and told police it was worth $60,000 a gallon ($15,000 a liter).
The fat was sold to intermediaries in Peru’s capital, Lima, and police suspect it was then sold to cosmetic companies in Europe, Mejia said Thursday, but he could not confirm any sales.
There are questions about how the federal government is spending tax dollars. It appears millions of economic stimulus dollars are being spent in Congressional districts that do not exist.
In Tennessee, federal economic stimulus money is being spent on several projects including the creation of thousands of jobs. The money became available when lawmakers passed the stimulus package earlier this year. President Obama promised government transparency.
Americans would be able to see where every dollar was spent by going to the government website Recovery.gov. People started checking and they’ve found problems.
Ben Cunningham is with Tennessee Tax Revolt, an advocacy group for taxpayers. “It just adds to the stereotype that government can’t find it’s behind with both hands if you’ll excuse the expression,” said Cunningham.
Recovery.gov showed stimulus money spent in imaginary congressional districts, seven districts that are in Tennessee. According to the website nearly $54 million had been spent in the districts, and nearly $41 million in a district called 00. There was an imaginary 47th district where the government had apparently spent $2.3 million.
“Yes, the 47th district in Tennessee. That’s right. Boy, we’re going to have a lot of pull in Congress next in redistricting,” said Cunningham. Tennessee has only nine congressional districts, and they are numbered one through nine.
The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination – and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year
The tropical waters that lap the jungle shores of southern Malaysia could not be described as a paradisical shimmering turquoise. They are more of a dark, soupy green. They also carry a suspicious smell. Not that this is of any concern to the lone Indian face that has just peeped anxiously down at me from the rusting deck of a towering container ship; he is more disturbed by the fact that I may be a pirate, which, right now, on top of everything else, is the last thing he needs.
His appearance, in a peaked cap and uniform, seems rather odd; an officer without a crew. But there is something slightly odder about the vast distance between my jolly boat and his lofty position, which I can’t immediately put my finger on.
Then I have it – his 750ft-long merchant vessel is standing absurdly high in the water. The low waves don’t even bother the lowest mark on its Plimsoll line. It’s the same with all the ships parked here, and there are a lot of them. Close to 500.
My ramshackle wooden fishing boat has floated perilously close to this giant sheet of steel. But the face is clearly more scared of me than I am of him. He shoos me away and scurries back into the vastness of his ship. His footsteps leave an echo behind them.
Navigating a precarious course around the hull of this Panama-registered hulk, I reach its bow and notice something else extraordinary. It is tied side by side to a container ship of almost the same size. The mighty sister ship sits empty, high in the water again, with apparently only the sailor and a few lengths of rope for company.
Here, on a sleepy stretch of shoreline at the far end of Asia, is surely the biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history. Their numbers are equivalent to the entire British and American navies combined; their tonnage is far greater. Container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers – all should be steaming fully laden between China, Britain, Europe and the US, stocking camera shops, PC Worlds and Argos depots ahead of the retail pandemonium of 2009. But their water has been stolen.
They are a powerful and tangible representation of the hurricanes that have been wrought by the global economic crisis; an iron curtain drawn along the coastline of the southern edge of Malaysia’s rural Johor state, 50 miles east of Singapore harbour.
A British playboy who held a fundraising event for Hillary Clinton is facing life imprisonment for the murder of a caretaker who stood in the way of a $3.2 million property deal.
Thanos Papalexis, 37, tortured and killed Charalambos Christodoulides after he refused to move out of a flat in a North London warehouse that the struggling developer was trying to sell.
Christodoulides, 55, a shy loner known as Bambi, was hooded, tied to a chair, beaten and strangled. His body was wrapped in a sheet, covered with paint-stripper and hidden.
The case against Papalexis was strengthened after a former Miami porn star and $2,800-a-night prostitute stated that he had confessed to the killing.
Rebecca DeFalco told U.S. marshals that her former lover told her he had killed a man who was a “problem” and gave her a graphic description of the murder.
The victim, a sitting tenant who had lived in the flat for most of his adult life, refused to move out after Papalexis received a $3.7 million offer for the derelict warehouse in Kilburn.
Whatever the final autopsy results reveal, it was greed that killed Michael Jackson. Had he not been driven – by a cabal of bankers, agents, doctors and advisers – to commit to the gruelling 50 concerts in London’s O2 Arena, I believe he would still be alive today.
During the last weeks and months of his life, Jackson made desperate attempts to prepare for the concert series scheduled for next month – a series that would have earned millions for the singer and his entourage, but which he could never have completed, not mentally, and not physically.
Michael knew it and his advisers knew it. Anyone who caught even a fleeting glimpse of the frail old man hiding beneath the costumes and cosmetics would have understood that the London tour was madness. For Michael Jackson, it was fatal.
GORDON Brown was last night on the brink of being overthrown in an unprecedented Labour uprising.
Around 100 Labour MPs were ready to sign a letter circulated by email, urging the Prime Minister to quit – for the sake of the country.
The brutal coup attempt began to snowball earlier yesterday after the vengeful shock resignation of Cabinet Minister Hazel Blears.
She quit the Government on the eve of today’s critical Euro and local elections in a calculated bid to cause the maximum damage to Mr Brown, becoming the fourth minister to resign in a sensational 24 hours.
Communities Secretary Ms Blears made clear her desire to destabilise Mr Brown by hitting the campaign trail yesterday wearing a brooch bearing the words “Rocking The Boat”.
In an increasingly febrile atmosphere of plotting at Westminster, Labour rebels claimed at least 80 backbenchers had already promised to sign the message urging the Prime Minister to go.
Time Warner Inc. will spin off the entire AOL Internet unit by the end of the year, reversing a failed $124 billion merger that triggered record losses. AOL’s online advertising and Internet-access businesses will be separated into an independent, publicly traded company, New York-based Time Warner said today in a statement.
“A separation will be the best outcome for both Time Warner and AOL,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Bewkes said in the statement. “The separation will also provide both companies with greater operational and strategic flexibility.”
Bewkes is getting rid of AOL, which has confronted falling ad sales during the recession, to focus Time Warner on its film and cable-television businesses. AOL has dealt Time Warner a series of setbacks since the 2001 deal: shareholder lawsuits, a regulatory probe and declining sales.
The parent company wasn’t able to sell or find a partner for the unit after talks last year with Google Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
“The obvious implication of spinning out all of AOL in one entity is that Time Warner’s efforts to sell AOL failed,” Fred Moran, a Boca Raton, Florida-based analyst at Benchmark Co., said in an interview. “Now, as a last resort, Time Warner is looking towards spinning the whole company out.”
The mysterious, media-blackout meeting was called by Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway; Bill Gates, co founder of Microsoft; and David Rockefeller Jr., chairman of Rockefeller Financial Services.
It was held in the President’s Room at Rockefeller University In New York at 3 p.m. on that Tuesday afternoon.
How so many giant figures in American life managed to interrupt and coordinate their schedules on such short notice, and meet in total secrecy in the world’s media capital remains a mystery — as does the ultimate outcome of the billionaires’ conference.
GORDON Brown was under pressure last night to call an immediate general election in the face of public fury over the Westminster expenses scandal. Angry voters across the country are demanding a mass clearout of MPs.
At the same time, Scotland Yard has announced a team of leading police officers and prosecution lawyers will meet next week to decide what action to take against those who have abused the public’s trust. A poll of voters yesterday found two-thirds want an election called as soon as possible. The same number want MPs who have been named and shamed to be forced to stand down, according to the ComRes poll.
Sickened by the amount of taxpayers’ money wasted on moats, trouser presses and mole catchers and chocolate snacks, many fear the depth of sleaze revealed by the leaking of MPs’ expenses details means a significant section of the ruling establishment needs to be swept away for good. Opposition MPs backed the call for an election as the only way of restoring trust in Britain’s political system.
Britain’s prime minister called for drastic steps to restore trust in the country’s scandal-tainted political class, as lawmakers across the political spectrum sought to take cover from public anger over their lavish expense claims.
Political leaders have been writing checks, making apologies, calling for inquiries and even threatening action against their own lieutenants in an effort to survive the publication of their expense claims in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper over the past few days.
The paper has stoked outrage in recession-hit Britain by revealing how lawmakers have asked to be reimbursed for everything from porn movies to chandeliers to housekeepers. One legislator even charged the public for sacks of horse manure, while an ex-minister submitted a claim for cleaning the moat that circles his country home.
Brown said “extreme action” was needed to reform the expense system “because politicians must show themselves worthy of public trust.”
The Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into whether the close ties among the boards of two of technology’s most prominent companies, Apple and Google, amount to a violation of antitrust laws, according to several people briefed on the inquiry.
Apple and Google share two directors, Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, and Arthur Levinson, former chief executive of Genentech. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 prohibits a person’s presence on the board of two rival companies when it would reduce competition between them.
The two companies increasingly compete in the cellphone and operating systems markets. Antitrust experts say the provision against “interlocking directorates,” known as Section 8 of the act, is rarely enforced. Nevertheless, the agency has already notified Google and Apple of its interest in the matter, according to the people briefed on the inquiry, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because the inquiry was confidential.
Six banks have failed the preliminary stress test, Bloomberg says. They’re now appealing.
The government wants these banks to raise capital by converting preferred stock to common stock, which would stave off the need for additional capital injections. This makes sense, but debtholders should be forced to do the same thing.
At least six of the 19 largest U.S. banks require additional capital, according to preliminary results of government stress tests, people briefed on the matter said. While some of the lenders may need extra cash injections from the government, most of the capital is likely to come from converting preferred shares to common equity, the people said.
The Federal Reserve is now hearing appeals from banks, including Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., that regulators have determined need more of a cushion against losses, they added. By pushing conversions, rather than federal assistance, the government would allow banks to shore themselves up without the political taint that has soured both Wall Street and Congress on the bailouts. The risk is that, along with diluting existing shareholders, the government action won’t seem strong enough.
Hope y’all were short the financials!
At a time when New York Times managers are forcing all employees to take a five percent pay cut, and demanding even larger sacrifices from the NYT-owned Boston Globe, top executives of the beleaguered newspaper received substantial bonus and fringe benefit payments over and above their salaries, according to a proxy statement released on March 11.
These bonuses and benefits to top Times company executives have provoked growing resentment among Times staffers, and frank anger from Globe reporters who have been warned by Times executives that their paper will be folded if they do not come up with $20 million in pay cuts and layoffs.
On Tuesday, the Times disclosed a $74 million first quarter loss, 221 times larger than the $335,000 loss in the first quarter of 2008.
Russia has become the first major country to call for a partial restoration of the Gold Standard to uphold discipline in the world financial system.
Arkady Dvorkevich, the Kremlin’s chief economic adviser, said Russia would favour the inclusion of gold bullion in the basket-weighting of a new world currency based on Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund. Chinese and Russian leaders both plan to open debate on an SDR-based reserve currency as an alternative to the US dollar at the G20 summit in London this week, although the world may not yet be ready for such a radical proposal.
Mr Dvorkevich said it was “logical” that the new currency should include the rouble and the yuan, adding that “we could also think about more effective use of gold in this system”.
The Gold Standard was the anchor of world finance in the 19th Century but began breaking down during the First World War as governments engaged in unprecedented spending. It collapsed in the 1930s when the British Empire, the US, and France all abandoned their parities. It was revived as part of fixed dollar system until US inflation caused by the Vietnam War and “Great Society” social spending forced President Richard Nixon to close the gold window in 1971.
The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.
DEAR Mr. Liddy,
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter.
Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context: I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
As the saying goes, read the whole thing.
The New York City Police Department issued more than 9,000 tickets yesterday to drivers caught using their cell phones while on the road. The 24-hour citywide crackdown began at midnight yesterday.
It served as a reminder to New Yorkers that using a hand held cell phone while driving is illegal in the state.
Drivers who were ticketed face a $120 fine. Police say they normally issue around 500 tickets for cell phone use per day.
This is either proof that the art collectors are still spending, or that they have lost their minds. Maybe both. The piece in question is a chair — resembling a turd with with tusks — that gaveled yesterday at Christie’s Paris auction for an eye-popping (pooping?) $28.3 million. The leather and wood chair that swaddled the ass of Yves Saint Laurent was among the items fetching $484 million, almost $60 million more than the estimated total sales of the “Auction of the Century,” which critics said would determine the future of all art auctions.
The couple that bought the 90-year-old armchair (entitled Dragons—yes, the chair is art, it has a title) paid far more than the $3.8 million estimate. “It is the price of desire,” sniffed the buyer. A Christie’s rep was astounded at the sale of Dragons, which was designed by Irish artiss Eileen Gray. “It was a remarkably strong piece, but what it went for was beyond our wildest imagination.”
Stocks were tumbling last fall as the new school year began, but at Harvard University, it was as if the boom had never ended. Workers were digging across the river from Harvard’s Cambridge, Mass., home, the start of a grand expansion that was to eventually almost double the size of the university. Budgets were plump, and students from middle class families were getting big tuition breaks under an ambitious new financial aid program.
The lavish spending was made possible by the earnings from Harvard’s $36.9 billion endowment, the world’s largest. That pot was supposed to be good for $1.4 billion in annual earnings.
Behind the scenes, though, a different story was unfolding. In a glassed-walled conference room overlooking downtown Boston, traders at Harvard Management Co., the subsidiary that invests the school’s money, were fielding questions from their new boss, Jane Mendillo, about exotic financial instruments that were suddenly backfiring. Harvard had derivatives that gave it exposure to $7.2 billion in commodities and foreign stocks.
With prices of both crashing, the university was getting margin calls–demands from counterparties (among them, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs for more collateral. Another bunch of derivatives burdened Harvard with a multibillion-dollar bet on interest rates that went against it. It would have been nice to have cash on hand to meet margin calls, but Harvard had next to none.
That was because these supremely self-confident money managers were more than fully invested. As of June 30, they had, thanks to the fancy derivatives, a 105% long position in risky assets. The effect is akin to putting every last dollar of your portfolio to work and then borrowing another 5% to buy more stocks.
This morning Rick Santelli went nuclear on the entire “fraudulent mortgage” game – the culmination of a series of rants that he has (correctly) launched over the last year.
Here’s the point folks, when you get down to it:
* The entire last two decades of so-called “Economic Growth” has been fueled by one fraud after another, starting with the Internet Bubble.
* This fraud has been systematic and the mainstream media has been both an implicit and explicit enabler of these frauds, instead of doing its job, which is to root them out. The looks on the faces of the other CNBC “anchors” was one of abject fear – perhaps parts of “The Fourth Estate” is coming to realize that when the pitchforks and torches come out – and they certainly will if we hold the course we’re on – they might have some trouble explaining why they shouldn’t be near the head of the list of those being “sought”?
* The conflicts of interest in the media, where their advertising dollars come from those who are promulgating and profiting from these frauds means that they must choose between their job of protecting the public (their essential purpose under The First Amendment) and being a willing accomplice in the theft being performed by the prime actors in these frauds.
* With the exception of a few months around 1995 (which roughly coincided with Microsoft’s release of Win/95, the first “consumer” system of wide acceptance that had a dialer built in along with a web browser) the Internet NEVER doubled in size every three months. Yet this was paraded as the statistic to justify all the bubble companies up until the bubble burst in the spring of 2000.
If mishandled by the world policy establishment, this debacle is big enough to shatter the fragile banking systems of Western Europe and set off round two of our financial Götterdämmerung.
Austria’s finance minister Josef Pröll made frantic efforts last week to put together a €150bn rescue for the ex-Soviet bloc. Well he might. His banks have lent €230bn to the region, equal to 70pc of Austria’s GDP.
“A failure rate of 10pc would lead to the collapse of the Austrian financial sector,” reported Der Standard in Vienna. Unfortunately, that is about to happen.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says bad debts will top 10pc and may reach 20pc. The Vienna press said Bank Austria and its Italian owner Unicredit face a “monetary Stalingrad” in the East.
The world’s first refrigerated beach is to be built at a luxury hotel in Dubai so the filthy rich holidaymakers don’t burn their feet on the scalding hot sand.
The revolutionary beach will sit next to the new Palazzo Versace hotel and will include a system of heat-absorbing pipes built under the sand and giant wind blowers, designed to keep tourists cool in the searing 40-50C heat.
The hotel, which is due to open late next year or early 2010, will be controlled by thermostats linked up to computers and feature a cooled swimming pool.
A NATIONAL ENQUIRER investigation has uncovered John Edwards’ mistress, Rielle Hunter – the mother of his “love child” – has been secretly receiving $15,000 a month as part of an elaborate cover-up orchestrated by the former presidential contender.
The money is being funneled to Hunter by a wealthy colleague who was closely tied to the Edwards’ campaign. This same man is also shoveling cash to Edwards’ pal and former aide Andrew Young – who tried to take the heat off the ex-Senator by claiming he is the father of Rielle’s baby.
And The ENQUIRER is also exclusively revealing that Rielle’s baby is a girl named Frances Quinn Hunter and was born at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
“A super-rich pal – who was closely involved with the campaign finances – is helping John. It’s likely this man doesn’t know all the dirty details of John’s extramarital affair, but is acting out of loyalty and is not asking a lot of questions – only writing the checks,” revealed a source very close to the situation.
Iconic US coffee chain Starbucks said Tuesday it would shut most of its Australian stores within a week, having already taken the axe to hundreds of US outlets as an economic downturn bites.
The company said it would shut 61 “underperforming” stores from a total 84 in Australia because it was refocusing to concentrate on the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and surrounding areas.
“This decision will result in the closure of 61 underperforming locations throughout the country by August 3,” it said without detailing how many jobs would be lost, although media reports put the figure at 685.
Starbucks said earlier in July that it would shut 600 US stores in a move widely taken to reflect the slowdown in the world’s biggest economy, where high fuel prices and a credit crunch are forcing consumers to tighten their belts.
The giant coffee chain’s chairman Howard Schultz said the firm had developed a transformation plan in January that had led to the “difficult but necessary” decision to close stores in Australia.
THE president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has been warned by Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, that he faces prosecution for the crimes he has committed during his 28 years in office unless he signs a deal to give up all effective power.
Mbeki, who has done all he can to shield and support Mugabe for the past eight years, has come under overwhelming western pressure and has had to tell Mugabe that he could no longer protect him and his key cronies from being charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The power-sharing talks between Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are shrouded in secrecy. But The Sunday Times has learnt that Mugabe, who has vowed that Tsvangirai will never be in government and that “only God can remove me from power”, faces humiliation over the terms of the deal that he will be forced to sign next month.
A lawyer who fervently contested the result of the 2000 presidential election and started an organization advocating voter reform used it to hide profits from another venture, the police say: a strip club that offered more than dancing.
The lawyer, Louis Posner, ran the Hot Lap Dance Club out of a fifth-floor loft in Hell’s Kitchen, where the police said the wealthy clientele paid as much as $5,000 for sex with dancers in private rooms.
The authorities raided the loft on Thursday night and arrested Mr. Posner, his wife, Betty, and 19 others on charges that included money laundering and promoting prostitution. No clients were arrested.
Hundreds of super-rich American tax cheats have, in effect, turned themselves in to the IRS after a bank computer technician in the tinyEuropean country of Liechtenstein came forward with the names of US citizens who had set up secret accounts there, according to Washington lawyers investigating the scheme.
Heinrich Kieber, a bank computer technician in Liechtenstein came forward with the names of US citizens who had set up secret accounts there, according to Washington lawyers investigating the scheme. He has been branded a thief by the government of Liechtenstein for violating the country’s bank secrecy laws.
He is now in hiding but scheduled to testify to the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Thursday via a video statement from a secret location, according to Congressional investigators.
While aggressive evictions are making rent-stabilized apartments increasingly scarce in New York, Representative Charles B. Rangel is enjoying four of them, including three adjacent apartments in a sprawling penthouse overlooking Upper Manhattan, courtesy of one of New York’s premier real estate developers.
Mr. Rangel, the powerful Democrat who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, uses his fourth apartment, six floors below, as a campaign office, despite state and city regulations that require rent-stabilized apartments to be used as a primary residence.
Mr. Rangel, who has a net worth of $566,000 to $1.2 million, according to Congressional disclosure records, paid a total rent of $3,894 monthly in 2007 for the four apartments at Lenox Terrace, a 1,700-unit, six-tower luxury development with doormen that is described in real estate publications as Harlem’s most prestigious address.
The search teams comb through the backyards of the half-million-dollar homes with metal detectors, placing red flags on the manicured lawns every time they get a hit. To the shock of residents, they sometimes find live bombs.
The bombs are left over from a 12,000-acre World War II bombing range. The area has become an Orlando neighborhood with thousands of homes.
The Army Corps of Engineers has launched a $10 million cleanup of what used to be the PineCastle Jeep Range, but it said bombs could remain there once they’re done.
“Chances are, it’s not a problem,” said Mike Ornella, the man leading the Army Corps cleanup.
But he conceded, “We’re never going to be 100 percent sure. We’re never going to give a 100 percent guarantee that the properties are clear.”
The developer refused comment for this story. Residents are enraged.
Former New York Stock Exchange chief Richard Grasso won a knockout victory on Tuesday in his four-year fight to keep every last penny of his $187.5 million pay package, as an appeals court threw out the state’s remaining claims against him.
The ruling, Grasso’s second court victory in the past week, prompted New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to throw in the towel.
The New York Supreme Court’s appellate division, in a 3-1 vote, dismissed two legal claims against Grasso brought by former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 2004.
With just a week to go before Zimbabwe’s run-off elections – and with the body count growing – President Mugabe has been warned that he could be hauled before the International Criminal Court in The Hague over the atrocities inflicted on his opponents.
A key Western diplomat, speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity, said: “He needs to know he is moments away from an ICC indictment.”
Twelve bodies of activists, most of them showing signs of torture, were found across Zimbabwe yesterday.
In New York, Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, convened a crisis meeting at the United Nations. She said: “By its actions, the Mugabe regime has given up any pretence that the June 27 elections will be allowed to proceed in a free and fair manner. We have reached the point where stronger international action is needed.”
The probe into the Rev. Al Sharpton’s finances intensified this week, with the IRS sending out a flurry of subpoenas to his most generous corporate donors, The Post has learned.
Anheuser-Busch, the brewer of Budweiser and Michelob, confirmed yesterday that it received a federal subpoena in connection to its charitable giving to Sharpton’s National Action Network.
“We have received a subpoena and are cooperating with the IRS,” the company said in a statement.
Morgan Stanley has suspended a trader in London after the individual allegedly cost the Wall Street bank $120m (£60m) by wrongly pricing investments.
The employee has been reported to the City regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Morgan Stanley discovered the problem in the second half of May and believes it had been going on for at least three months.
The trader appears to have placed too high a price on certain investments which are currently very hard to value because there is almost no market for them. Banks are struggling with these types of investments and have to mark them to a model which they believe reflects a fair value.
They have come under pressure to be very rigorous about these marks from investors who are nervous about possible new blackholes emerging in companies’ balance sheets. Morgan Stanley issued a statement saying: “The firm became aware of marks in a London-based trader’s book that were inconsistent with firm policies.
Two influential US senators got “VIP” loans from a leading subprime mortgage lender that saved them tens of thousands of dollars, it was reported last night.
The Democratic pols, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, both received the highly favorable loans under the designation “Friend of Angelo,” a reference to embattled Countrywide head Angelo Mozilo, Condé Nast Portfolio reported.
Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, while Conrad is chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee. The two senators refinanced properties through the VIP program in 2003 and 2004, the report said.
Others who received “FOA” loans include Alphonso Jackson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bush who resigned in April, and Donna Shalala, who was secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday said the head of his vice presidential search team and former head of the mortgage giant Fannie Mae had decided to step aside.
Obama said in a statement that Jim Johnson had decided to quit the unpaid position in order to avoid distracting from the process of gathering information about possible vice presidential candidates.
Obama appointed Johnson last week to a three-member team heading the search for his running mate, but Johnson became embroiled in a controversy over questionable loans from lender Countrywide Financial.
The city’s chief crane inspector was arrested Friday and charged with taking bribes to allow cranes under his review to pass inspection and for taking money from a crane company that sought to ensure that its employees would pass the required licensing exam, the authorities said.
The man, James Delayo, the acting chief inspector for the Cranes and Derricks Unit at the city Department of Buildings, was in charge of overseeing the issuance of city licenses for crane operators.
He is also facing charges that he provided a copy of the crane operator’s exam and the test answers to a crane company in exchange for $3,000, said an official involved in the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not yet been formally filed.
An Indonesain businessman sparked a scramble for cash when he dropped $10,600 (100 million rupiah) in banknotes from an aircraft to promote a book he has written.
A 13-year-old girl lost consciousness running after the notes and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital, the Detikcom online news service said.
AN AUSTRIAN man who lost a six-figure sum in bad investments has admitted killing five family members with an axe to spare them the “disgrace” of financial ruin.
The 39-year-old public relations consultant, identified only as Reinhard S, walked into a Vienna police station at 3.20am yesterday, and told the duty officer: “In my apartment are my dead wife and my dead child.”
The man said that, after killing the two, he drove two hours to Linz, where he killed his father-in-law and his parents.
After trying and failing to hang himself, he turned himself in.
An action-man style doll of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has gone on sale in the Ukraine, with saleswomen comparing the doll to Barbie.
Supermarkets in the capital Kiev are stocking the 40 centimetre high figure of the fuhrer, complete with jackboots, leather trench-coat and swastika armband.
The £100 figure has a spare head “with a kind expression on it,” glasses and several changes of clothes.
It comes in a presentation box with the dates of Hitler’s birth and death on it.
One saleswoman said: “It is like Barbie. Kids can undress fuhrer, pin on medals and there’s a spare head in the kit to give him a kinder expression on his face.
“He has glasses that are round, in the manner of pacifist Jon Lennon”.
VENEZUELA will take control of the country’s largest steelmaker in the second major takeover of foreign businesses in a week as President Hugo Chavez resumes his socialist drive to nationalise key industries.
Just days after Mr Chavez announced the takeover of the cement industry, his government said today that steelmaker Ternium Sidor would fall back into state hands, sending the Argentine-controlled company’s shares tumbling.
Mr Chavez increased state control of swathes of the oil-rich economy in a multi-billion-dollar campaign last year but spent recent months focusing on day-to-day issues like crime and trash collection after voters rejected his push for wider powers in a December referendum.
The pitch to co-workers or bar patrons, police say, went like this:
“Hey, anybody interested in buying a trailer?”
Somebody was. Big-screen TVs, riding mowers, motorcycles, frozen food and more exchanged hands in what authorities charge was a sophisticated theft-to-order ring in the Rust Belt region stretching from Cleveland to Western Pennsylvania.
Police said the thieves, seeking quick cash for drugs, stole and sold high-demand items for more than 1 1/2 years, often at up to 85 percent discount from retail prices and sometimes to return customers.
“You don’t steal these things unless you have a customer,” said Canfield police Detective Sgt. Andy Bodzak.
Hat tip to Kara!
A Roman Catholic nun accused of taking more than $250,000 from the Archdiocese of Omaha and gambling much of it away has pleaded guilty to theft.
Sister Barbara Markey entered the plea to a charge of theft of more than $1,500 on Monday in Douglas County District Court, according to her attorney, J. William Gallup. She also agreed to pay $125,000 in restitution to the archdiocese.
In exchange, Gallup said, the state and the archdiocese agreed not to object to probation for the 73-year-old Markey. Her sentencing is set for July, and she faces up to 20 years in prison.
On a clear day, the view from the top will take in the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Ocean – providing you’ve a head for heights.
Plans for a mile-high tower in the Saudi Arabian desert have been unveiled by the billionaire owner of London’s Savoy Hotel.
At 5,250ft, the £5billion project, masterminded by two British engineering consultancies, will be twice as high as its nearest rivals, skyscrapers under construction in Dubai and Kuwait, and almost seven times as high as the Canary Wharf tower in London’s Docklands.
Police in Italy have issued footage of a man who is suspected of hypnotising supermarket checkout staff to hand over money from their cash registers.
In every case, the last thing staff reportedly remember is the thief leaning over and saying: “Look into my eyes”, before finding the till empty.
In the latest incident captured on CCTV, he targeted a bank at Ancona in northern Italy, then calmly walked out.
A female bank clerk reportedly handed over nearly 800 euros (£630).
The cashier who was shown the video footage has no memory of the incident, according to Italian media, and only realised what had happened when she saw the money missing.
HOLLYWOOD actor Charlie Sheen allegedly hired the same callgirl involved in the Eliot Spitzer scandal for a fantasy themed threesome.
Pimp Jason Itzler, 41, claims he sent Ashley Alexander Dupre under the name of Victoria and another girl, Cheryl to Sheen more than two years ago, the Daily Record reported.
He claims Sheen paid $20,000 for a threesome with the girls dressed up as cheerleaders.
“They loved Charlie. They said he was a great guy. A great lover.
“One time he had them dressed up like cheerleaders, chanting ‘Charlie! Charlie! He’s our man. If he can’t do it, nobody can!’”
Itzler also claims Sheen pretended he was a porn film director and asked the women to act out lesbian scenes for him.
POWER games between Scandinavian neighbours are nothing new – generations of monarchs fought bitter battles over land for the best part of a millennium.
But now Sweden and Denmark are involved in a new spat – over the unlikely matter of floor coverings. And Sweden’s omnipresent homeware retailer, Ikea, is at the heart of the row.
The firm has been accused of “cultural imperialism”, for encouraging its customers to walk all over Denmark, by giving its mats and carpets Danish names.
In contrast, its top-end products, such as sofas and beds, are named after Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish cities.
A rogue trader dealing in wheat future contracts has caused his company more than $140m (£70m) in losses.
Trading giant, MF Global, said it detected unusual trades at one of its US offices on Wednesday.
It found that an employee had been taking large, unauthorised bets on the direction of wheat prices, which cost the company $141.5m to reverse.
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: Quote) has won court orders freezing up to $12 billion in Venezuelan assets around the world as it fights for compensation for operations lost to President Hugo Chavez’s nationalization drive.
The largest U.S. company sought the asset freeze to guarantee repayment should it win arbitration over the Cerro Negro heavy oil project.
The move is the boldest challenge yet by an international oil major against any of the governments around the world that have moved to increase their holds on natural resources as energy and commodity prices have soared.
A woman with a long list of aliases and husbands remains in the Walton County Jail.
Officials arrested Shauna Keith last week. They said the 27-year-old woman married five men, all members of the military.
She is also accused of having five social security numbers.
According to authorities, Keith married a man in the army in Kentucky in 2006. She then allegedly married a marine on the front porch of a home outside Walnut Grove on Christmas Eve 2007. Officials also said Keith told the marine’s family she was the daughter of 82nd Airborne Division Commander Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez.