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ANR: PwC Gets Dragged Into MF Global Melee; Middle Class, Meet AMT!; There Are No Taxes In Heaven | 11.05.12

British banks face new crisis as a result of accounting rules [The Telegraph]
The UK's largest institutions – including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland – will require extra capital to meet the new standards. The need for fresh fundraisings – on top of the £100bn of capital injections required during the financial crisis – will cause concern for investors in an industry already suffering from allegations of energy fixing and almost £11bn in provisions for payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling. The fresh requirements will be the result of new international accounting rules regarding when banks take losses for loans on their balance sheets.

HSBC fears U.S. money laundering fines to top $1.5 billion [Reuters]
A U.S. fine for anti-money laundering rule breaches could cost HSBC significantly more than $1.5 billion and is likely to lead to criminal charges, Europe's biggest bank said on Monday. HSBC said the U.S. investigation had damaged the bank's reputation and forced it to set aside a further $800 million to cover a potential fine for breaches in anti-money laundering controls in Mexico, adding to $700 million put aside in July. "It could be significantly higher," Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told reporters on a conference call, saying the latest provision was based on discussions with the various U.S. authorities involved in the probe.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Added As Defendant in MF Global Customer Lawsuit [WSJ]
The complaint alleges that PwC, as MF Global's auditor, said that the firm's internal controls for safeguarding customer assets were adequate when in fact they weren't, and that PwC should have known they weren't. The complaint alleges that PwC breached a fiduciary duty to MF Global and its customers and was negligent in its work at the firm. "If they had made sure the internal controls were adequate, there never would have been an invasion of customer funds," said Merrill Davidoff, a managing principal at Berger & Montague, which is also representing the commodities customers.

Pulpit politics: Pastors endorse candidates, thumbing noses at the IRS [NBC]
About 1,600 pastors across the country violated a 58-year-old ban on political endorsements by churches in October by explicitly backing political candidates in their Sunday sermons, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom of Scottsdale, Ariz., a conservative Christian legal organization behind a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

Middle class faces quick impact from fiscal cliff in form of alternative minimum tax [Washington Post]
Unless Congress acts by the end of the year, more than 26 million households will for the first time face the AMT, which threatens to tack $3,700, on average, onto taxpayers’ bills for the current tax year. Because those people have never paid the AMT, they have no idea they are in its crosshairs — put there by a broader stalemate over tax policy that has kept Congress from limiting the AMT’s reach.

House GOP warns Obama to think twice on tax hikes [POLITICO]
House Republicans are sending a stark message to the White House: If President Barack Obama pushes for tax increases during the lame-duck session, it would ruin his chances for a productive second term. Republicans aren’t conceding that Obama will win Tuesday, but they’re warning that allowing tax rates on high-income Americans to increase at the end of the year — as Obama and Hill Democrats have proposed — will set a bad tone that would complicate major deal making in the 113th Congress.

Goldman Sachs trims partner list to help cut expenses [Reuters]
Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has cut the number of employees it lists as partners to help streamline expenses. Goldman has reduced the number of partners to 407, down 31 from February, the bank said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, without identifying the partners that had been dropped.

Pregnant Zombie Arrested For Alleged DUI: Alabama Cops Responding To Murder Find Drunk Woman [HuffPo]
A female driver who police in Alabama thought was fatally shot at the wheel of her car turned out to be an intoxicated Halloween partygoer who fell asleep wearing her bloody pregnant zombie costume. Police responded on Thursday to what appeared to be a shooting in Birmingham. When they arrived on the scene, however, police said they found the victim still drunk, slumped over the wheel of her SUV. "You can see why someone thought she had been shot,'' said one officer, reports.