ANR: PwC and Barclays; Ernst & Young’s Alleged Bribe and Cover-up; Obamacare Tax Increase Really Isn’t That Big | 07.02.12

Get Ready for the New Investment Tax [WSJ]
Until this week, investors were waiting to see what the Supreme Court would do about the 3.8 percentage-point surtax on investment income, part of President Obama's health-care overhaul. The Internal Revenue Service hasn't yet released guidance on the new tax. So when the court affirmed the law on Thursday, investors—and tax advisers—started scrambling. The new tax, which Congress passed in 2010, affects the net investment income of most joint filers with adjusted gross income of more than $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers). Starting on Jan. 1, 2013, the tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends for these earners will jump from their current historic low of 15% to 18.8%, assuming Congress extends the current law. If, on the other hand, Congress allows the tax rates set in 2001 and 2003 to expire on Dec. 31—an unlikely scenario, according to many experts—the top rate on capital gains will rise to 23.8% and the top rate on dividends will nearly triple, to 43.4%. Whatever the fate of the 2001-03 tax rates, advisers are telling clients to start making moves to minimize the new levy.

Barclays Manipulates Libor While Auditor PwC Snoozes [Forbes]
Francine McKenna: "What do Barclays, JP Morgan, MF Global and Chesapeake Energy have in common? They are all examples of risk management and audit failures and the auditor of all of them is PricewaterhouseCoopers."
 
Ernst & Young 'covered up judge bribe case’ [Telegraph]
Senior figures at Ernst & Young covered up allegations that the big four accountant bribed a judge to obtain a favourable outcome in a tax trial, it is claimed. A senior partner closed an investigation into a £100,000 “bribe” despite colleagues suspecting the money had been paid to a judge overseeing a multi-million-pound tax case the company was fighting. The allegations were disclosed by former E&Y partner and whistle-blower Cathal Lyons, who is suing the accountant for $6m for breach of contract.
 
Olympus Faces Setback in Court [WSJ]

Olympus Corp. lost a court battle against an employee who sued the Japanese camera maker for retaliating against him after he complained about actions by his boss, another blow as the company attempts to recover from a $1.5 billion accounting scandal. The victory by Masaharu Hamada, rare for a whistleblower in Japan, shed light on flaws in corporate governance at Olympus. It also raised broader questions about how effective systems at Japanese companies have been in monitoring and preventing misdeeds.
 
No, ‘Obamacare’ isn’t ‘the largest tax increase in the history of the world’ (in one chart) [Wonkblog/WaPo]
It's not even close, actually.

Yara CEO Apologizes for Improper Payments [WSJ]
Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara International ASA's chief executive, Jorgen Ole Haslestad, apologized Friday to the company's employees after an investigation uncovered millions of dollars in "unacceptable" payments in India and Switzerland, as well as "unacceptable offers of payments" in Libya. Some of the allegations have been reported for over a year, but the company, present in more than 50 countries, Friday confirmed it had evidence of irregular payments during its establishment of joint ventures abroad. […] "I apologize that the company seems to have done things it shouldn't have done," Mr. Haslestad said. "This is regrettable, and as the company's top boss I say that I am sorry," Mr. Haslestad said, adding he felt safe he wouldn't have to apologize again in the future.

Accountant accused of stealing $1.1 million found dead [WHEC]
That's one way to avoid an embarrassing trial.

 
Suspects Call Deputy To Ask For Drugs In North Carolina [AP]
Four people have been arrested in North Carolina after they mistakenly called the wrong person about drug purchases. The man they got was a Rowan County sheriff's deputy. The Salisbury Post reported that Deputy Jagger Naves was awakened by four calls to his cell phone around 4 a.m. Monday. Some of the calls complained about the quantity of drugs they had purchased and wanted him to correct the problem. Naves arranged to meet two of the callers and later met with two other callers elsewhere. All four were arrested.

 

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