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Goldman Sachs agrees to largest penalty ever in 1MDB scandal – Times of India

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NEW YORK: Global financial titan Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $2.9 billion in penalties to settle criminal charges in the 1MDB Malaysian bribery scandal, the largest US fine ever in a corruption case, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
Acting US Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt said Goldman “accepted responsibility” in the case that involved $1.6 billion in bribes, the largest ever recorded, and massive gains laundered through the US financial system.
Goldman Sachs helped raise $6.5 billion for the Malaysian government’s sovereign wealth fund. The US Justice Department has said more than $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by high-level officials at the fund and their associates between 2009 and 2015.
The investment fund “was looted by corrupt officials and their co-conspirators, including senior Goldman bankers” turning it “into a piggy bank for corrupt public officials and their cronies,” Rabbitt said at a press briefing.
In a first for Goldman Sachs, the company’s Malaysian unit pleaded guilty in a US court Thursday for violations of American bribery law as part of a deal to end the criminal probe in the sweeping case that involved authorities in nine countries.
The guilty plea could curtail activities of Goldman Sachs Malaysia but allows the parent company to avoid admitting wrongdoing in court — which would have damaged its ability to do business.
The parent company pleaded not guilty in US court and agreed to “deferred prosecution” for three-and-a-half years, during which time the firm will face increased monitoring by regulators.
But Rabbitt stressed that despite the deal, the company has been charged in the bribery scandal, “so there has been a significant amount of criminal liability” for Goldman and “imposes meaningful consequences” in the cases.
The Justice Department has charged three individuals in the case including two former Goldman executives. Tim Leissner, the former Southeast Asia Chairman, has pleaded guilty, while Ng Chong Hwa, also known as “Roger Ng,” former head of investment banking for GS Malaysia, is awaiting trial, and Low Taek Jho remains a fugitive.
“Goldman admitted today that, in order to effectuate the scheme, Leissner, Ng, Employee 1, and others conspired with Low Taek Jho” to pay the bribes and ignored red flags, the statement said.
In another stunning turn, the company said it will demand repayment of $174 million in salary and bonuses paid to current and former executives including Chief Executive David Solomon and his predecessor Lloyd Blankfein.
These so-called clawbacks are almost unheard of in corporate cases.
Solomon said in a statement “it is abundantly clear that certain former employees broke the law, lied to our colleagues and circumvented firm controls,” adding, “we recognize that we did not adequately address red flags.”
Included in the total penalty amount, Goldman will pay a $400 fine to the SEC and repay $600 million in earnings, and pay a $154 million fine to the Federal Reserve, which also will require the company to improve its risk management and internal oversight.
The Malaysian government dropped the charges against Goldman in July after reaching a $3.9 billion settlement with the financial giant.
The firm, which posted profits of $3.5 billion in the latest quarter, had set aside more than $3.1 billion as of September 30 “for litigation and regulatory proceedings.”
Goldman shares closed US trading 1.2 percent higher after settling the uncertainty.

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Ontario reports slight increase in COVID-19 cases, record high for Toronto – 680 News

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Ontario is reporting 1,746 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

This is only a slight increase from the 1,708 cases reported a day earlier, however it comes with a much lower number of completed tests.

The province completed over 50,000 tests the previous three days. This number dropped to 39,400 completed tests reported Monday.

The provinces seven-day average reached a new high with Monday’s report.

There were 8 new deaths reported. This is a significant drop as the number has hovered around 20 in the past week.

There are 1,320 more resolved cases.

There is now a total of 116,492 confirmed cases in the province since the onset of the pandemic with 3,656 deaths. 98,639 cases have been resolved.

The number of COVID related hospitalizations in the province spiked to over 600.

Among active cases, 618 people are currently in the hospital compared to 586 the day before. Among the hospitalized, 168 are in the ICU and 108 are currently on ventilators.

Over the past week there’s been an average of just over 2,000 patients being treated in hospitals across the country. That number has nearly doubled since the end of October.

New modelling suggests that the number of Canadians hospitalized with COVID-19 will soon surpass the peak of the first wave.

Locally, Toronto reported over a third of all cases. The 622 new cases represents a single-day record for the city.

All regions in the GTA reported an increase except for Peel. After four straight days of over 500 cases Peel reports 390 on Monday.

York Region increased to 217 from 185. Durham is up to 108 from 73, a new single-day high. Halton reports 35 compared to 31 the day prior.

Ottawa saw a significant drop, reporting 29 cases compared to 79 a day earlier.

COVID-19 in schools

Ontario is reporting 102 new cases in schools.

Among the cases in schools, 86 are related to students, while 15 are linked to staff.

RELATED: 19 cases of COVID-19 discovered at Thorncliffe Park PS after asymptomatic testing

670 schools in the province currently have a reported case. Four schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of COVID-19.

You can find which schools are reporting cases on the province’s website, when it is updated daily at 10:30 a.m.

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Freeland to deliver Liberal plan to revive Canada's post-pandemic economy today – CBC.ca

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The federal government will release its long-awaited fiscal update today — a spending plan to help Canadians cope with COVID-19 while recharging the national economy and key sectors battered by the global crisis.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will rise in the House of Commons at 4 p.m. ET today to outline details of her plan to both boost job creation and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Government sources have told CBC News the plan will include new but time-limited spending measures to support hard-hit industries and vulnerable Canadians, while laying the groundwork for the policy priorities presented in September’s speech from the throne.

CBC will have live coverage of today’s fiscal update starting at 4 p.m. ET. Watch it on CBC News Network, listen to it on CBC Radio One or stream it on CBC Gem or our CBC News app.

The update comes in the wake of optimistic reports suggesting promising vaccine candidates could roll out early in the new year — and as COVID-19 caseloads continue to grow alarmingly in some parts of the country. Numbers have reached record highs in some regions, prompting new or extended restrictions and business closures.

The measures in today’s economic statement are expected to include:

  • Support for airlines and the tourism and hospitality sector, hit hard by heavy losses due to border closures and lockdowns. The sources suggest the update will include assistance for airlines, hotels and restaurants, and for the companies that supply them.
  • Money to help long-term care homes stop the spread of infections.
  • Support to help women return to work.
  • Stimulus spending for infrastructure projects tied to the government’s promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the economic recovery.

Record deficit projected

The government has not tabled a budget for this fiscal year, but in July delivered what it called a “fiscal snapshot” that projected the deficit would hit a record $343.2 billion.

The Trudeau Liberals last delivered an actual budget in March 2019, when they were still in their first mandate.

The Trudeau government has pushed back at calls to deliver an economic forecast since the current health crisis began, maintaining that the pandemic made it impossible to accurately predict economic growth or the scope of necessary emergency spending.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said the government’s delays in procuring rapid testing and vaccines have put workers and the economy in a “risky” situation.

“There is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible,” he said during a news conference in Ottawa Sunday.

“We’re already seeing small businesses teetering on the edge. That is leading to the uncertainty and the concern out there about the wellbeing of tens of thousands of Canadian families that have invested everything in their restaurant or their autoshop or a range of businesses that are close to bankruptcy.”

WATCH | What to expect in the long-awaited fiscal update:

CBC News’s David Cochrane breaks down what Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to announce in Monday’s federal fiscal update, including details on the deficit and new pandemic spending. 1:16

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today’s update is the perfect opportunity to announce “bold measures” to address the needs of the Canadians most severely affected by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how fragile the services that were supposed to help people are, and the importance of strengthening our social safety net so that no one is left behind,” he told CBC News.

NDP pushes for child care support

The NDP is calling on the federal government to fund child care services that would allow more parents to return to work safely. It’s also pressing the government to launch a universal pharmacare program.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul said it’s not enough for the government to present a “laundry list” of spending today. With a vaccine expected next year, she said, it must present a green recovery plan with economic and social investments.

“With a glimmer of hope on the horizon, it is vital that we seize this moment to prepare a green recovery plan that will engage every possible innovation, technology and resource at Canada’s disposal to enhance our ability to face challenges,” she said. 

The Green Party is calling for a guarantee that any supports the Liberals offer carbon-intensive sectors are “responsible and conditional.” It also wants to see larger investments in projects and sectors that speed up progress toward a net-zero emissions economy.

Business hopes to see long-term growth plan

Business groups say they hope to see a plan today that charts a course through the ongoing crisis to long-term economic recovery and growth.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Perrin Beatty said he wants to see a shift from broad supports to smaller, more targeted federal programs to help the most vulnerable Canadians and sectors, including the restaurant, accommodation, arts and entertainment and retail sectors.

He said he hopes to see a plan that will boost Canada’s business investment and competitiveness — and not a suite of “unaffordable” new permanent programs.

“Even as we navigate our way through this second wave of the pandemic, Canada needs its government to set the conditions for a strong, business-led recovery. Canadian families and businesses continue to pay a high price because of COVID-19, and the hard work of getting Canada’s economy ready for recovery must start now with a clear and coherent plan,” he said in a media statement.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday, November 23, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Cash-strapped municipalities are also looking for good news in today’s statement.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities president Garth Frizzell said he hopes to see “clear successor arrangements” to the safe restart agreement, which saw the federal government set aside $19 billion for the provinces to help them weather the second wave and drive job growth post-pandemic.

“The fall economic statement is an opportunity to build on the federal-municipal partnership that has kept Canadians safe, and essential front line services running strong, since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.

“They rely on us to keep doing that through 2021, and that’s why municipalities need to see a clear commitment that the federal government will continue to work with us to ensure support for municipal operating and transit costs.”

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Moderna says will request US, Europe vaccine authorisation Monday – Aljazeera.com

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Authorisation requests in the US and Europe to come after results confirm a high efficacy estimated at 94.1 percent.

US firm Moderna said it would ask US and European regulators on Monday to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection — ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

“Moderna plans today to request EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” Moderna said in a statement, adding it would also “apply for a conditional marketing authorization with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).”

Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, which has been on the upswing in the US and Europe.

US hospitals have been stretched to the limit as the nation has seen more than 160,000 new cases per day and more than 1,400 daily deaths.

Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide.

Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the US in December.

Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.

Moderna created its shots with the US National Institutes of Health and already had a hint they were working, but said it got the final needed results over the weekend that suggest the vaccine is more than 94 percent effective.

Of 196 COVID-19 cases so far in its huge US study, 185 were trial participants who received the placebo and 11 who got the real vaccine.

The only people who got severely ill — 30 participants, including one who died — had received dummy shots, said Dr. Tal Zaks, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company’s chief medical officer.

When he learned the results, “I allowed myself to cry for the first time,” Zaks told The Associated Press.

“We have already, just in the trial, have already saved lives. Just imagine the impact then multiplied to the people who can get this vaccine.”

Moderna said the shots’ effectiveness and a good safety record so far — with only temporary, flu-like side effects — mean they meet requirements set by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use before the final-stage testing is complete.

The European Medicines Agency, Europe’s version of FDA, has signaled it also is open to faster, emergency clearance.

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