ICE Futures

In BP We Trust

During the recent weeks, when we learned that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is refused access to research and measure the spill by British Petroleum (BP), and the US Coast Guard warns reporters, research scientists and engineers away from the area, stating that they are simply following orders --- from BP --- one might surmise the sovereignty of the United States of America has been ceded to an oil multinational.

It would certainly appear that way. Many complaints have been heard from a variety of scientists and engineers, eager to monitor, research and learn from this catastrophe, in order to better prepare, and avoid, future such occurrences.

But what of the past decade and BP's other adventures?

Well, in this study by the GAO from October of 2007 (p.54):

In another case, on June 28, 2006, CFTC brought an enforcement action against BP Products North America, Inc., alleging, among other things, that BP cornered the physical propane market and manipulated the price of propane in February 2004.63 Also on June 28, 2006, DOJ announced that a former BP trader had pled guilty to conspiracy to manipulate and corner the physical propane market.(emphasis added - JW)

Hmmm......interesting stuff here!

Hedge Funds, LBOs and Banksters, oh my!

The other day many of us were exposed to a BBC interview where a business reporter kept repeating the tired old mantra that hedge funds had no involvement with the global economic meltdown.

Oh really?

Then surely, given the opaque nature of these private investment concerns, there would be no surprises forthcoming if they were to be intensively audited by forensic accounting teams together with certified fraud examiners?

And while we're at it, might not the same auditing processes yield interesting results if also directed at those private equity leveraged buyout funds (LBOs) and the major credit derivatives dealers, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bank of America (with Credit Suisse FB, UBS and Deutsche Bank in the mix as well)?

Awhile back, Dr. John L. Goldberg of the University of Sydney, was brought in by the Australian government as a consultant to research the financing behind a number of public-private partnerships concerning Australian toll roads and infrastructure projects.

Now public-private partnerships, where securitizations with the subsequent generation of credit derivatives occur, incorporate the same underlying fundamental financial model as hedge funds, private equity firm LBOs and credit derivatives dealing by major ("too big to fail") banks.

Dr. Goldberg's three principal points, taken from one of his executive summaries, were as follows:

"Paying equity dividends with virtually no cash flow available (CCT)"