As you probably remember, Countrywide Financial once owned a lot of shitty mortgages. This wasn’t clear to many of the company’s investors so when the things turned sour, lots of those investors lost boatloads of money and then Bank of America came in to pick up the scraps. KPMG was the auditor of Countrywide and the shareholders sued both companies because, gosh, that’s basically what happens when a bunch of money is lost for no good reason and you had a front row seat for the action. Accordingly, the two firms settled with CTW shareholders last year for $624 million. KPMG, for its part, chipped in $24 million. That’s rumored to be in the ballpark of what John Veihmeyer spends every year on Notre Dame gear, so the firm was probably thinking it got off pretty easy. Unfortunately, things are just getting started since other countries hadn’t had a chance to jump into the mix.
From Zero Hedge:
Norway’s Government Pension Fund, which is another name for its Sovereign Wealth Fund, has just announced it is suing Bank of America for mortgage fraud. Not only that but it is also going after Countrywide, obviously, but far more importantly, is also suing KPGM [sic], the auditor on the Countrywide transaction, and, drumroll, ole’ Agent Orange himself [That’s former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo for those of you not up to speed].
So what, you say? Norway is just some Scandinavian wasteland with a lot of blondes and the occasional psychopath? Not the point!
[J]ust like the US lawsuit spigot opened ever so slowly at first, it is now gushing, and is absolutely certain that every company (ahem insolvent German banks) that ever bought a mortgage from Countrywide, Merrill and Bank of America will serve the local branch of the bank with a summons over the next month.
In other words, this little breakout may turn into a full-fledged epidemic.
Bank Of America’s Legal Woes Go Global After Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Sues For Mortgage Fraud [ZH]
The Fund suing large bank in the U.S. for fraud [DN.NO (Beware, the translation is brutal)]
And, unfortunately for Bank of America and KPMG, that could mean digging through the couch cushions.
Several large institutional investors have rejected a court settlement where Countrywide Financial Corp. had agreed to pay $600 million to a number of national pension funds. Those pulling out of the agreement include BlackRock Inc.; the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers; T. Rowe Price Group Inc.; Nuveen Investments Inc.; and the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, according to a document from the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The investors decided the settlement, initially agreed to last May, wasn’t enough and will seek their own terms with the mortgage originator and its current owner Bank of America Corp., as well as Countrywide’s auditor KPMG LLP. KPMG had committed another $24 million to the settlement.
In typical HofK fashion, the firm didn’t bother commenting for the Journal’s story however BofA managed to express their disappointment, “It is unfortunate that some investors chose to opt out of what we believe is a fair and equitable agreement to settle these issues.” Right. Because the likes of BlackRock and Calpers should be tickled pink with the pleasure of splitting $624 million with dozens of other investors.
Geithner defends Obama policy on tax cut extension [AP]
“Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday it would be ‘deeply irresponsible’ for the Obama administration to support a wholesale extension of Bush era tax cuts, including breaks for the wealthy.
Geithner said in a nationally broadcast interview that President Barack Obama strongly believes those reductions should be retained for the ’95 percent’ of taxpayers with individual incomes under $200,000 a year and families below $250,000.”
Bank of America, KPMG Settlement With Countrywide Investors Wins Approval [Bloomberg]
“Bank of America Corp. and KPMG LLP’s $624 million settlement with investors in Countrywide Financial Corp. led by New York pension funds won initial court approval.
U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer in Los Angeles ruled today on the accord. A fairness hearing will be held on final approval for the settlement, first announced in May.”
Snooki Tanning-Bed Protest Splits Sin From Taxes [Bloomberg]
“[P]eople don’t like government moralizing. If there’s one thing people dislike even more than taxes, it’s being told what to do.”
So does that mean that Alabama is imploring reverse psychology?
Reznick Group Promotes Four New Principals [Business Wire]
Reznick Group promoted Dan Fox and Renee Matthews in Bethesda, MD, Eric Jones in Sacramento and Daniel Worrall in Atlanta are the big winners.
Accounting & Consulting Group acquires Roswell’s Miller & Associates [New Mexico Business Weekly]
“With 95 employees overall, Accounting & Consulting Group is now the third-largest accounting firm in the state. Headquartered in Albuquerque, it has offices in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Clovis, Hobbs and Roswell, and has a member firm office in Lubbock, Texas. The firm specializes in audit and financial reporting, tax compliance, business consulting and trust and estate planning.”
Becoming the Boss Can Cost Plenty [WSJ]
“When starting a business on a tight budget, a single spending gaffe can spell disaster. For this reason, experts in entrepreneurship recommend taking precautions, such as doing research to identify potential hidden fees, focusing only on necessities and setting aside emergency funds.”
SAP Business ByDesign 2.5: time to invest? [AccMan]
Dennis Howlett gives the lowdown on the “general availability of SAP Business ByDesign 2.5,” which means that it is available for any to purchase. Dennis reports that starter packs for as few as ten users are available for CRM, ERP and PSP.
Investors who lost money in King Oompa Loompa’s house of no hassle mortgages announced that they have reached a $624 million settlement with KPMG and Countrywide. Maybe that’s why the Kaptains of Klynveld were in such an optimistic mood.
KPMG’s share of the settlement was $24 million which hardly seems worth it. Think about it. Bank of America could probably cough up an extra $24 mil without any trouble and KPMG would probably be fine not cutting a check at all. It’s just like your friend that hassles with you over the check at, “My share was only $18.25.” Eventually you just tell them to f**k off and pay for the whole thing yourself.