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ANR: Consultant Supervision (or Lack Thereof); Starbucks Brews Up Some Taxes; Colorado, Washington, Colorado Racing for Revenue to Nowhere? | 06.24.13

Senator Criticizes Lack of Supervision for Banks’ Consultants [DealBook]
Sherrod Brown of Ohio is writing a letter: "The pressure from Capitol Hill comes as fresh details emerge about one of the consulting industry’s most lucrative assignments. When several consulting firms were enlisted to pore over home foreclosures as part of a federal enforcement action, they collectively received about $2 billion for their work, even though the consultants reviewed only a fraction of the loans. New documents suggest that the Promontory Financial Group, which examined loans for Wells Fargo, Bank of America and PNC, was the highest paid of the consultants. The firm, run by a former comptroller of the currency, Eugene Ludwig, received $927 million for reviewing more than 250,000 loan files, according to documents provided to the Senate Banking Committee and reviewed by The Times. PricewaterhouseCoopers, which reviewed files for four banks, was paid about $425 million. Deloitte, which handled JPMorgan’s foreclosure review, was paid $465 million."

Lionel Messi Pays $13 Million in Back Taxes, Vanguardia Says [Bloomberg]

Lionel Messi, the four-time world soccer player of the year who’s being investigated for alleged tax evasion, paid 10 million euros ($13.1 million) to correct his tax situation for 2010 and 2011, La Vanguardia reported. The payment to Spain’s tax authority could mean Messi is seeking to settle the judicial probe he is involved in relating to 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Barcelona-based newspaper said, citing unidentified people familiar with the case.
Starbucks Pays UK Corporation Tax For First Time Since 2008 [AFP]

US-based coffee giant Starbucks said on Sunday it had paid £5 million in British corporation tax and will pay another £15 million by next year after facing a backlash from lawmakers and customers over non-payment. The move comes despite Starbucks claiming that it remained unprofitable in Britain, and that it was looking at closing its struggling stores in the country. Corporation tax is levied on a company's profits and currently stands at a rate of 23 percent in Britain.

Washington Races Colorado for Billions in Pot-Tax Revenue [Bloomberg]
In Washington and Colorado, legalization of marijuana may draw as much as $2.1 billion in revenue for the states from new taxes in five years. The states, whose voters in November became the first to legalize the drug for adult use, may not claim those windfalls if U.S. authorities, which still label pot an illegal substance, decide to step in. “The projections are really premature because we don’t know what the federal government is going to do,” said Jeffrey Miron, who teaches economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “All that uncertainty and that legal risk means the industry is likely to stay somewhat still in the shadows.”

Daredevil Nik Wallenda completes high-wire walk across Grand Canyon [Reuters]
Daredevil Nik Wallenda completed a historic high-wire walk on a 2-inch (5-cm) steel cable over the Grand Canyon on Sunday and was greeted by wild cheers after his hair-raising stunt. Wallenda, the self-described "King of the High Wire," took 22 minutes and 54 seconds to walk 1,400 feet across the crimson-hued canyon with just a distant ribbon of the Little Colorado River beneath him. The event was broadcast live around the world. Wallenda, the first person to cross the canyon, made the walk without a tether or safety net. Wallenda could be heard praying almost constantly during the walk, murmuring "Thank you, Jesus." He kissed the ground when he reached the other side. "It took every bit of me to stay focused that entire time," Wallenda said. "My arms are aching like you wouldn't believe."


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