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How to get the most bang for your Easter egg buck

14/01/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

ns are expected to buy 3000 tonnes of chocolate this Easter – and that’s just at Coles.

At Woolworths, Easter chocolate spending is up 5 per cent from last year, amid expectations that 13 million chocolates will sell, while Haigh’s Chocolate plans to sell 4.5 million Easter eggs and 50,000 Easter Bilbies.

Post estimates ns on average will spend more than $72 each buying sweet treats online.

‘s three major supermarkets have been responding to ‘s increasing appetite for chocolate this year, with aggressive discounts hitting shelves well in advance of the Easter weekend.

“I’m a bit of a bargain hunter,” said mother-of-two Elizabeth Post, who estimated she will spend $100 on chocolate this Easter.

“I’ve already bought some eggs and I bought them because they were 25 per cent off at Woollies. Now I’ve got the next couple of days to check out the prices at Aldi.”

A consumer survey by ME Bank last year found around 48 per cent of ns planned to spend up to $50 on Easter eggs, while almost 20 per cent planned to spend double that amount.

n annual sales of “seasonal chocolate” (Easter and Christmas holiday seasons) forecast to increase from 5800 tonnes in 2016, to 6700 tonnes by 2021.

Mrs Post said she usually did her Easter chocolate shopping in stages so it did not “look so scary”. !function(e,t,s,i){var n=”InfogramEmbeds”,o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?”http:”:”https:”;if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement(“script”);a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”,”//e.infogr.am/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”);

“We really don’t go overboard … We usually have an egg hunt in the morning with the kids and then another in the afternoon with our extended family,” she said, adding that it was hard to avoid in-store marketing for chocolates at the supermarket.

“It is frustrating when you are at the register and the kids can see [eggs] right there in front of them. But I guess it’s good marketing.”

This year Woolworths estimates it will sell more than 13 million Easter chocolates, up more than 5 per cent on 2016.

“NSW is expected to be the biggest chocolate shopper in 2017, after purchasing around a third of the total Easter chocolate sold last year,” a Woolworths spokesman said.

Among the best value offering at Woolworths is the 100-gram Cadbury Dairy Milk hollow egg for $3, and the 250-gram Cadbury Dairy Milk bunny for $4.

German discount chain Aldi is offering a range of exclusive chocolate brands as well as other mass-market labels.

From its exclusive range, Aldi’s 125-gram Dairy Fine chocolate bunny is 99?? (79?? per 100 grams).

Alternatively Aldi is also offering a 175-gram Mars gift box for $8.99 ($5.14 per 100 grams).

At Coles shoppers are opting for larger packs over individual eggs.

The best value options at Coles include the 500-gram bag of Coles-brand solid milk chocolate eggs for $5 ($1 per 100 grams), and the Cadbury Crunchie egg gift box, which is 205 grams and retails for $8 ($3.90 per 100 grams.)

Shoppers seeking the best value for money on chocolates this Easter may be best served shopping around.

While a 500-gram bag of mini eggs at Aldi costs $5.39, the same product under the Coles-brand is a slightly better deal at $5.

However those after chocolate bunnies will be better served at Aldi, where the 125-gram Dairy Fine bunny is 79?? per 100 grams, half the price of that offered at Woolworths and almost 40 per cent cheaper than the Red Tulip Elegant Rabbit at Coles, which is $6 ($2 per 100 grams). Latest consumer newsInteract with us on Facebook – Savvy Consumer

Every time he had an excuse’: Unlicensed builder up to old tricks

14/01/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

Carol Nicol Photo: SuppliedCarol Nicol trusted the builder she had hired to renovate her home to do a good job while she shuttled her teenage son, who has cystic fibrosis, to and from hospital.

The builder did an acceptable job of ripping things out, but Sam Robinson’s next steps caused her great grief.

He had removed the bulkhead in the bathroom ceiling, which voided her home insurance, failed to replace door handles, which left her stranded outside, and had not passed on payments for the stacked stone fireplace, which left a debt collector on her back.

“I have to regularly take my son Tony to hospital, and he took advantage of that, not doing any of the work we paid him to do,” said the mother-of-three from Hinchinbrook, in Sydney’s south-west.

“Every time I questioned him, he had an excuse, a sob story: someone was sick, he had a slight heart attack, the stores were closed.”

NSW Fair Trading is urging the public to not deal with Mr Robinson, also known as Bassam Marouche, who might be seeking building work despite not possessing a licence.

He has two companies: ATS Group (NSW) Pty Ltd and BMF Building Consultants Pty Ltd.

The consumer watchdog issued penalty notices to Mr Robinson in 2014. In 2015 and 2016, it prosecuted him in court.

In August, he was ordered to pay $28,800 in fines and costs and $28,000 to a consumer by Parramatta Local Court.

He will soon appear again in court for a final sentencing in relation to an offence under the Crimes Act.

“He has a track record of defective work, failure to carry out work, and failure to return money, and anyone transacting with him may end up having to pay a whole lot more,” said Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe.

“We want people to have nothing to do with him. We’ve had nine complaints about him [in the past five years].”

Ms Nicol made 21 payments totalling $39,000 to Mr Robinson – 30 per cent more than the original quote – between November and March.

His main job was to renovate two bathrooms. Despite four months of work, they were left unusable – the taps fell off, the toilet leaked and shoddy wiring in the ceiling short circuited the house.

She is now forking out another $40,000 to repair the damage and realise her dream home.

“I’m lost for words, how can another human being do that? How does he sleep at night? He’s done this before, so hasn’t he learnt his lessons?” she said.

“What’s worse is that he knew I was regularly taking my son to the children’s hospital, so he knew I wouldn’t be home, and he’d lie about when he arrived or the work he was doing.”

Increased enforcement action saw 200 defendants hit with $1.4 million worth of fines and penalties for 463 offences under the Home Building Act last year, up from $1 million the previous year.

Mr Stowe reminded the public to only deal with licensed builders. Consumers can visit Fair Trading’s website to check builders’ licences, see what type of work they’re authorised to carry out, and view their track record.

“The top warning signs are builders asking for deposits above that mandated by the building act, asking for continuing payments when work hasn’t started, and making constant excuses,” he said.

“Anyone who has had problems in their dealings with Mr Robinson and his companies, or has information about his continued operation, should contact Fair Trading.” Latest consumer newsSavvy Consumer – Interact with us on Facebook

How to avoid squeeze of rising mortgage rates

14/01/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

SUN HERALD NEWS MORTGAGE RATES Pic shows Shell Cove residents Graeme and Kim Perry who were on a 12 months intro deal of 3.59 per cent with a smaller lender and the rate reverted to 3.99 per cent. Graeme rang his lender and asked for a better deal and his lender reduced his interest rate to 3.73 per cent. Pic to go with a story on lenders increasing interest rates on their mortgages and what borrowers can do. 7th of April 2017 Photo: Adam McLean Photo: Adam McLeanMortgage costs are going up.

Although the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate twice during 2016, lenders have been increasing their mortgage rates. And experts are predicting more out-of-cycle increases.

But haggling can pay off, as Graeme and Kim Perry, who live just outside Wollongong in NSW, have found.

The couple’s home loan was on a 12-month introductory or “honeymoon” rate of 3.59 per cent with a smaller lender.

At the time they signed up for the mortgage the “revert” rate was 3.84 per cent. But by the end of the honeymoon period the lender had increased the revert rate to 3.99 per cent.

“At the end of the 12-months they cranked it up it up to 3.99 per cent and I was none too happy,” says Graeme, a 44-year-old who works in sales.

“I told the lender that they are advertising mortgage interest rates that are cheaper than mine.”

He pointed out to the lender that he and Kim have substantial equity in their home and they had never missed a repayment.

After a couple of discussions on the phone and hinting strongly that he was prepared to switch to another lender, there was still no joy.

But after Graeme initiated the switching process, the lender reduced the interest rate to 3.73 per cent.

Anyone who has not checked what their lender is doing and how that stacks-up against other lenders could easily be paying more than they need to. Rising rates

The latest round of “out-of-cycle” increases over March has mostly affected property investors. That’s because the banking regulator has been forcing lenders to tighten lending to investors, who are behind the rapidly rising house prices in Sydney and Melbourne.

But mortgage rates for owner-occupiers are on their way up as well. The latest round of rate increases during March saw the big four banks’ standard variable rates for owner-occupiers average 5.29 per cent, figures from RateCity show.

Three of the Big Four have increased their standard variable rates by up to 0.07 percentage points during March, while ANZ has not increased its variable rate for owner-occupiers.

An increase of 0.07 percentages adds $261 a year to repayments on a $500,000 mortgage over 30 years, RateCity says.

All of the big banks have made big increases on their mortgages for investors and also have made big increases on interest-only mortgages for owner-occupiers.

Most of the increases are of the order of 0.25 percentage points, which adds $1250 a year in repayments on a $500,000 mortgage over 30 years.

Smaller lenders have mostly followed suit, though they still have lower interest rates than the big banks. Ask for discount

Sally Tindall, a spokeswoman for comparison site RateCity, says some smaller lenders start with rock-bottom interest rates and, as a result, don’t give themselves much leeway to offer discounts.

The big banks usually have more capacity to discount, she says.

“The big banks offer a wide variety of discounts based on loan-to-valuation ratio, borrowing size and history of repayments.

“The ‘ideal’ borrower can get up to 0.9 percentage points off their banks’ standard variable rate,” Tindall says.

“And, if you are content with the most basic home loan offering from one of the big banks, then you could get a rate that is over 1 percentage point lower.”

However, basic loans may not have an offset account or allow you to make extra repayments. Offset accounts can save a fortune in interest. They are attached to the mortgage, where the balance in the offset account is deducted from the balance owing on the mortgage for the purpose of calculating the interest payments. More rate rises

Experts are expecting more out-of-cycle mortgage rate rises.

That especially after figures from CoreData this week showed “dwelling” prices, houses and units, rose by almost 19 per cent in Sydney over the year to March 31 this year and by almost 16 per cent in Melbourne.

This week Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe blamed the too generous tax breaks for the property investors as well as lax bank lending standards for the explosion in Sydney and Melbourne home prices.

The n Prudential Regulation Authority, which regulates lenders, has been requiring lenders to tighten lending to investors for the past two years, but it may have to do even more to slow the growth of investment loans.

“I think that there is the potential for even more rate rises, particularly from more of the smaller lenders,” says Mitchell Watson, the research manager at Canstar.

And with the official cash rate set by the Reserve Bank at a record low of 1.5 per cent, the next change in interest rates, when it comes, could well be up, Watson says.

Almost 90 per cent of 36 economists and other experts told a survey by comparison site, Finder, that they expect the next move in the cash rate to be up.

Most of the experts say the out-of-cycle rate hikes by lenders allows the Reserve Bank to hold-off for longer before increasing the cash rate.

However, a rate rise isn’t likely to occur for some time with 70 per cent of the experts believing a rate rise won’t occur until 2018.

Shane Oliver, the chief economist at AMP Capital Investors, says that for the Reserve Bank to hike rates just to slow the Sydney and Melbourne property markets at a time of softness elsewhere would be “madness”.

“The arguments to cut or hike rates are evenly balanced and we can’t see an official rate hike until the second half of 2018,” Oliver says.

Canstar’s Watson says borrowers should be making sure that they have the capacity to meet repayments if there are higher interest rates. Get a better deal

While the big banks have standard variable owner-occupier rates of 5.29 per cent, on average, there are many smaller lenders who have rate of well under 4 per cent.

Reduce Home Loans’ Rate Buster Standard Variable is the lowest variable rate loan for owner-occupiers listed on Canstar’s database at 3.39 per cent.

Though you may never of heard of Reduce Home Loans, it is regulated to the same standards as other lenders.

Even though fixed rates have also been on the way up recently, there are still some competitive fixed rate mortgages at the moment. For example, the big banks have three-year fixed rate for owner-occupiers of just over 4 per cent.

Smaller lenders have three-year fixed rates of well under 4 per cent.

Some borrowers prefer fixed rates for the certainty of repayments, but they are less flexible than variable rate mortgages. If you have to break the fixed rate period because you want to upgrade, for example, you can be up for the economic costs to the lender of breaking the loan, depending on what interest rates have done in the meantime.

Mortgage Choice says fixed rate home loans accounted for only 21 per cent of all loans written by its brokers in March, down from 22 per cent in February. “Given that home loan interest rates are rising, I am somewhat surprised to see a fall in fixed-rate demand,” says John Flavell, the chief executive at Mortgage Choice, which has the biggest network of mortgage brokers in .

Flavell says fixed rate demand could potentially increase as more borrowers look to lock-in a fixed rate and therefore beat any future rate hikes. “There is no doubt that interest rates will continue to rise over the short to medium term. As and when this happens, I think we will see more borrowers looking for interest rate stability and security,” he says.

The $300m GST grab hardly anyone knows about

14/01/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

To tell this tale properly, I have to publicly confess to buying a very expensive coat for my husband’s birthday.

Doubtless some people will poke fun of my extravagance, or even be offended by it. But, dear reader, I’m willing to sacrifice myself in order that I can write a useful column for you about GST on imported items.

n retailers have won the long-running debate about whether consumers should have to pay GST when they buy from an overseas website.

Since the introduction of the GST in 2000 ns have copped the tax if they spend more than $1000 from an overseas website.

Not many people realise that from July 1 this year, they’ll also have to pay GST on items worth less than $1000, plus digital products such as movie streaming, e-books, apps and games and services such as architectural and legal services. Details are on the Tax Office website.

Some people call it the “Gerry Harvey tax” since Harvey, the co-founder of Harvey Norman, was one of the most vocal agitators for extending the GST to all overseas purchases to create a “level playing field” for local retailers.

It was a particular issue for his business when the n dollar was at parity with the US, where consumer electronics are much cheaper.

It’s also going to boost the government’s coffers. The 2016-17 federal budget reported the new rules would increase GST revenue by $300 million over the forward estimates period to 2019-20.

A Treasury spokeswoman says the GST for low-value items and digital products and services will be collected at point of sale.

Any supplier that makes at least $75,000 in annual turnover from n sales will be required to charge GST. Suppliers using an online marketplace that exceeds that turnover will also be included, regardless of the size of the individual seller.

That’s less hassle for consumers but the risk is that many overseas retailers may decide that the compliance costs are too high and it’s not worth the bother.

Meanwhile, the Treasury spokeswoman says there are no proposed changes to the current arrangements for goods worth more than $1000, where the GST is paid by the consumer before the goods are released by Customs.

This is the category I fell into, and the experience was eye-opening. This is where I have to come clean about the size of my recent purchase.

The price tag for my husband’s coat was ??697.50, including delivery from the UK. That translated to $1148.95 on our n bank statement. (I showed him the coat online and we have a joint bank account, so I’m not destroying any great marital mystery here).

Before I go on, I will say in my defence is that it’s not an everyday purchase and it’s a very beautiful, high-quality coat that will last for years.

Buying one coat for a significant sum of money is less environmentally damaging than buying several cheaper ones for less. That’s something I care about.

And I also believe it will work out financially. If he wears it every week day throughout winter for just one season, it would be $17.40 on a cost-per-wear basis. That’s less than many items of fast fashion that people buy from the likes of H&M.

In reality he’s unlikely to wear it literally every day, but he won’t retire it after one season either. I told him I expected him to wear it for 10 years and he countered that he hoped to pass it on to our son one day. We’ll see how we go.

But I digress. This was actually the first time I’d bought anything for more than $1000 from an overseas retailer online, so it was the first time I’d paid GST on an overseas purchase.

I could see when I paid for it that the British retailer had removed VAT from the purchase price, and I was vaguely aware that I would be contacted before delivery to arrange payment of GST.

What I didn’t realise was that GST was only a small portion of what the n government would sting me for.

The GST rate is 10 per cent so I was expecting a bill for $114.90. That’s what it would take to make it a “level playing field”, right?

The actual bill from Customs, via delivery service UPS, was $277.33.

The GST component was $128.73 – I have no idea why it was an extra $13.83 but let’s not quibble.

There was also a customs entry fee of $83, a duty/tax of $54.65 and a security fee of $9.95. All up that’s about 25 per cent in tax!

Obviously there was not much I could do about it by this point, so I paid up. It felt a bit like the coat was being held to ransom by Customs.

Delivery was prompt, though I was shocked that UPS then left the box on our front porch, against the retailer’s terms and conditions. I’m all for that most of the time – there’s nothing worse than queuing at the post office to sign for something worth all of twenty bucks.

But a coat that’s come all the way from England at a total cost of $1426.28? Nah, she’ll be right mate, just leave it on the front steps. I mean Sydney’s just a big country town, right? Hmm.

Anyway, all’s well that ends well, and I have the coat ready to give to my husband this weekend. I hope he likes it. Next year he’s getting a book!

Caitlin Fitzsimmons is the editor of Money and a regular columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Find her on Facebook or Twitter.

Bryan Rose, the buyer of Mosman’s most expensive $22.5 million house

14/01/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink


What’s hot in Sydney’s new homes this spring

Mosman estate of Ying Li nudges North Shore record, selling for about $22.5 million

Easybeats guitarist Harry Vanda sells Rose Bay house for $15 million

The secret $22.5 million buyer from the eastern suburbs who recently bought Mosman’s most expensive house is revealed as Bryan Rose, the son of multimillionaire Bob Rose who now heads up the family’s property development giant Rose Group.

The purchase marks a triumphant return to Mosman for Rose, who grew up in the harbourside suburb and lived in the Balmoral Beach trophy home Seacliff.

The waterfront property is set on one of the suburb’s largest privately held holdings and was sold last week by little-known Ying Li, from China, who had left it largely untouched and vacant since it last traded in 2012 for $20 million.

Details on the sale have been shrouded in secrecy thanks to strict gag orders on agents Mark Manners, of Simeon Manners, and Monika Tu, of Black Diamondz Concierge, but Rose has been a regular on the house-hunting trail in recent months, shopping for waterfront accommodation close to schools on the lower north shore.

Settlement will confirm the exact sale price, but it is understood to have topped an underbid of $22.3 million.

Sources say Rose has already started tidying up the garden of the Vaucluse home he bought almost a decade ago for $4.62 million, which would time in well with a post-Easter sales campaign.

Talk of an eastern suburbs buyer actually moving to Mosman left high net worth watchers stumped given the challenge involved in luring such buyers over the Harbour Bridge, but made sense when it was revealed Rose had grown up on the lower north shore.

Rose’s new Beauty Point estate includes a main residence with a swimming pool, tennis court, slipway, boatshed, tidal beach and a separate guest house. There is already talk of subdivision plans for the estate to create another two new dwellings on the waterfront.

It was the home of retired car dealer Laurie Sutton for 35 years after it was sold in 1977 for $376,960 by the late television presenter and quiz show host Bob Dyer and his late co-star wife Dolly.

Rose Group was founded by veteran property developer Bob Rose in 1976, and his son Bryan is joint managing director with his brother Stuart, who upgraded from Darling Point to a $15.5 million waterfront home in Rose Bay two years ago.

A few months after Sutton sold in Mosman, he set a Palm Beach house record at $19 million, buying the Kalua trophy residence.

Given the tight circles that Sydney’s uber-wealthy move in it is perhaps unsurprising that Sutton’s Palm Beach home is two doors from the Rose family’s summer getaway, which in turn is next door to Gretel Packer’s weekender.

Queanbeyan teen pleads not guilty to killing his 10-year-old brother

12/12/2018 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

A Queanbeyan teenager charged with accidentally killing his little brother has pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The 16-year-old appeared in Queanbeyan Children’s Court on Tuesday, where he is charged with assault causing the death of his 10-year-old brother.

The charge was introduced recently as part of legislation designed to address the problem of one-punch attacks.

On the same day the Queanbeyan teenager pleaded not guilty to the offence, a Newcastle court recorded the first conviction of a person under the new legislation.

In the Newcastle case, the man was charged with manslaughter, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault causing death. He will be sentenced in June.

The Queanbeyan incident occurred on May 23, 2016. It is alleged the teenager grabbed hold of the 10-year-old’s wrist and punched him in the ribs. The younger boy attempted to get away when the teenager allegedly pushed him, causing the boy to hit his head on the corner of a door frame.

The 16-year-old and his mother commenced CPR on the boy, however he was pronounced dead at the Canberra Hospital days after the incident when his life support was switched off.

Previously in court, the boy’s solicitor Michael Bartlett said the autopsy found the 10-year-old had a tissue disorder affecting his cerebral artery.

While a second opinion was sought on the previously undiagnosed brain condition, Mr Bartlett said he’d been told the expert view of the forensic psychologist who diagnosed the condition “doesn’t need to be questioned”.

Following the not guilty plea, both parties agreed the matter needed to be committed to trial because it was a homicide.

But the parties could not immediately decide which superior court should hear the matter.

Mr Bartlett called for the matter to be heard in the district court, where he said other matters with maximum 20-year sentences were heard.

The crown prosecutor suggested the matter should be committed to the supreme court, as this charge was a “statutory alternative” to murder and manslaughter.

The court concluded the case would be heard in the district court.

An application to waive a committal hearing was granted and the case will proceed in May.

‘Lost the biggest bet’: Gambling king convicted of insider trading

12/12/2018 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

Four times, authorities went after famed Las Vegas sports gambler William T. Walters, and four times the man known as Billy emerged victorious.

But on Friday, Walters’ luck turned, as a federal jury in Manhattan convicted him on fraud and conspiracy charges in one of the biggest insider trading trials in years.

“To say that I was surprised would be the understatement of my life,” Walters, 70, told reporters as he left the courtroom.

“If I would have made a bet I would have lost. I just did lose the biggest bet of my life. Frankly I’m in total shock.”

His lawyer, Barry Berke, said he would appeal the verdict.

Walters, one of the most successful professional sports gamblers in the country, was accused in the latest case against him of using non-public information from Thomas Davis, a board member of Dean Foods of Dallas, to make more than $US40 million from 2008 to 2014 by realising profits and avoiding losses.

The investigation into Walters’ activities and subsequent trial drew in prominent figures like Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor and unpaid adviser to President Donald Trump, and Phil Mickelson, the champion professional golfer. Swift decision

The conviction of Walters lifted something of a cloud that had hung over the US attorney’s office in Manhattan since December 2014, when a federal appeals court threw out the insider trading convictions of two hedge fund managers. That ruling led prosecutors to vacate the convictions and guilty pleas of several other people.

The verdict against Walters was also a coda to a series of insider trading prosecutions led by Preet Bharara, the former US attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired days before the trial began.

The jurors in Walters’ case reached their decision after deliberating for a little more than half a day, rendering a swift decision in a trial that lasted 14 days spread over four weeks.

The quickness of the verdict vindicated the government’s trial strategy, including a decision to give a central role to Davis, an acknowledged embezzler and philanderer who had pleaded guilty to several offences connected to the insider trading scheme.

Davis, the government’s main witness, had his credibility repeatedly called into question by lawyers for Walters. The defense team said Walters had been falsely implicated by Davis, who was desperate to escape punishment for his own misdeeds.

One juror interviewed outside the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan where the trial was held said that he and the rest of the jury had not been swayed by that argument.

“We looked at his credibility,” the juror, Lonnie Drinks, said of Davis. “Everything was factored.”

Walters was convicted of 10 charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, the most serious of which carry a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

“Armed with his illegal edge, Walters made huge, perfectly timed trades, at times accounting for over a third of the trading volume in Dean Foods stock,” Joon Kim, the acting US attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement.

“In engaging in his yearslong stock fraud scheme, Walters underestimated law enforcement’s resolve to pursue and catch those who cheat the market.”

Walters, who was once profiled by “60 Minutes” because of his betting prowess, was not the only big name to come up during his trial. The Icahn connection

Icahn emerged in testimony and court filings as having had frequent discussions with Walters. A broker for Walters testified on cross-examination that some of Walter’s stock-trading ideas had come from Icahn, who was not charged with wrongdoing.

During a hearing outside the presence of the jury, one of Walters’ lawyers told the judge that Walters and Icahn were friends.

The lawyer, Paul Schoeman, added: “Mr. Walters has a long history of investing in stocks that Mr Icahn has publicly announced he’s interested in.”

Mickelson was also mentioned during the trial as someone who had traded in Dean Foods shares and once owed nearly $US2 million in gambling debts to Walters.

Mickelson made roughly $US1 million trading Dean Foods shares; he agreed to forfeit those profits in a related civil case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Known as “Lefty” for his left-handed stroke, Mickelson was not criminally charged. Though he was once seen as a potential witness at Walters’ trial, he was never called to testify. Tips on the Bat Phone

Prosecutors said that Walters had tried to hide his actions by supplying Davis with a prepaid mobile phone called the Bat Phone to use while conveying secret information and by sometimes speaking in code.

During the trial, prosecutors displayed phone logs and trading records, and an agent with the FBI testified that Walters sometimes made major trades within moments of speaking with Davis on the phone.

For instance, the agent testified, Davis and Walters spoke on the phone for 10 minutes one day in 2008 beginning at 12:54 pm. At 1:05 pm, Walters bought 462,200 shares of Dean Foods stock for about $US9.3 million.

Davis provided Walters with secret Dean Food information about future earnings statements, the planned purchase of another company and a pending initial public offering, prosecutors said.

At the same time, Walters arranged for loans of nearly $US1 million to Davis, who had financial problems and repaid only a small portion of what he borrowed, prosecutors said. ‘Babe Ruth of Risk’

Defense lawyers offered a contrasting account. They said that Walters was a skilled and fearless trader, referred to by one of his brokers as “the Babe Ruth of Risk,” who did not need inside information. Davis, Walters’ lawyers said, was trying to save himself by maligning Walters.

The competing narratives were on display throughout the trial. Davis testified that he had acted as a “virtual conduit” of secrets and had supplied Walters with an “enormous” amount of information.

At one point, Davis said, Walters provided him with the Bat Phone to use while communicating about Dean Foods, adding that later he had thrown it into a creek after federal agents visited his home.

Davis also testified that Walters sometimes spoke in code, using “Dallas Cowboys” to refer to Dean Foods and asking “How’s the milkman doing?” when inquiring about the company, then the country’s largest dairy processor.

Defense lawyers cross-examined Davis at length, eliciting acknowledgments that he had been squeezed for money, had taken $US100,000 from a charity he ran, had mislabelled expenses on his taxes and had lied to many people, including investigators with the SEC.

Walters’ lawyers suggested that Davis had misled prosecutors about his sports gambling habits and his contact with prostitutes, at one point reading into the record phone numbers for escort services in Chicago, Denver, New York and San Francisco that Davis, who told prosecutors he had not hired prostitutes in recent years, had called in 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Berke also questioned the existence of what he called the “so-called Bat Phone,” which was never recovered, pointing out that Davis had first told prosecutors that it was black before then testifying at trial that it was maroon.

The New York Times

Tigers stars align to topple Eagles

12/12/2018 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was smiling after his side outlasted West Coast at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

It was a performance won more through grit than polish, ably led by his side’s four best players – Alex Rance, Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin all outstanding – but with solid performances from his second tier.

“I thought our first half was a bit untidy, we looked a little bit flat,” he said. “We challenged our boys a little bit at half-time, and I thought all of our leaders stood tall – Trent, Jack, Alex, and then Dusty came to the fore as well.”

It wasn’t just about the leaders. Reece Conca continued his fine start to the season, and at the fall of the ball, the Tigers’ small forwards were dangerous. Daniel Rioli had nine touches, but his impact was undeniable, his agility and balance sublime, his third-quarter goal brilliant.

But it was the Tigers’ determination to hunt the ball inside the contest that outworked the Eagles.

“I thought we got our mix right of our inside and then guarding the outside,” Hardwick said.

“They hurt us a little bit on the outside early. I thought Lambert did a terrific job on Mitchell from about halfway through the second quarter, which probably stifled them a little bit, but I was really pleased that our guys, when challenged, lifted the bar.”

Adam Simpson acknowledged that his side had been beaten for intensity around the ball.

“Our poor intent in the third really cost us. We probably should have been hurt by that a bit more, but hard-ball gets – your ability to stick our head over the ball when it really mattered – went away from us in that third quarter in particular. Having said that, the game was still on the line right up until the last five minutes.”

The Eagles have just a five-day break before they take on Sydney, who are in the unfamiliar position of being without a win after three rounds, but Simpson said he expected no more from the Swans’ renowned hardness than any other side.

“I think every team wants pressure and intensity in the contest and to win the contested ball,” he said.

“That’s coming every week. The Saints were the same last week; North the same round one. So that’s just a given now, I don’t think it’s any team’s particular style, just some teams are better than others. We’ve got to move on pretty quick. On Monday we’ll start working on the opposition with our players.

“We’ll take some positives out of today, but we’ll also take some big areas of improvement and like I said, Richmond were consistent all day in that area of the game, and in the end it’s hurt us.”

Richmond, by contrast, are three and zip. Next week, they take on an improving Brisbane on the road: win that, and you have to go back to 1995 for the last time the Tigers opened a season with four straight. “Brisbane are actually playing some pretty good footy at the moment, have taken it up to a couple of sides,” Hardwick said.

“It’s always tough going interstate, but we travel pretty well, so we look forward to that challenge up on their hostile deck.”

‘Disgusting’: Ex-Barclays trader tweets rather than testifies at trial

12/12/2018 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

A former Barclays swaps trader, cleared of manipulating a key-interest rate benchmark, declined to testify at his trial, but spent much of it with his head bowed at the back of the court, tweeting about politics, finance and, sometimes, the case itself.

While the lead prosecutor, Emma Deacon, was cross-examining another trader, Stylianos Contogoulas posted: “Yep, I’m sure of it. She is officially the most repulsive, disgusting and dishonest person I have ever seen in my life.”

Contogoulas, 45, and Ryan Reich, 35, were cleared of rigging the London interbank offered rate.

It was a retrial, ordered after jurors at a 2016 trial couldn’t reach a decision on their roles in a conspiracy that included four others at Barclays. The rate-rigging scandal tainted the industry and forced changes to how the benchmark, used to value trillions of dollars worth of financial products, is calculated.

Financial firms have paid more than $US9 billion ($12 billion) in fines and the public outrage cost Barclays — the first to settle — its chief executive officer.

Still, critics have been disappointed by the lack of prosecutions targeting senior officials. While Contogoulas and Reich admitted they’d requested rates that helped their own trading books, they said they were only doing what their bosses told them to do.

On March 28, while Reich was testifying, Contogoulas tweeted the following:

A lawyer for Contogoulas and a spokeswoman at the SFO didn’t return emails and calls seeking comment. Contogoulas changed his Twitter profile to private on April 4 and deleted several tweets – including the ones quoted in this story – that could have related to the trial.

Contogoulas complained about the fairness of trial coverage in some tweets, and commented on the proceedings in others.

The posts raise questions about rules designed to preserve a fair trial that restricts commentary beyond what is put to the jury and whether social-media activity should be monitored more closely.

“There is very real risk that, if discovered, a running social-media commentary by a defendant could lead to the discharge of the jury and an expensive retrial,” said Neil Swift, a lawyer at Peters & Peters, who wasn’t involved in the case.

“The prevalence of social media makes it very difficult for those concerned in maintaining the integrity of the court process.”

UK laws are quite strict, with judges regularly slapping restrictions on naming individuals, companies and previous prosecutions to preserve the right to a fair trial. With the rise of social media, the courts have tried to keep up with the ever-growing threat.

Two jurors were each jailed for two months in 2013 after one discussed his case on Facebook and another researched the case online and told his fellow jurors. New social-media guidelines were developed in response, but in 2015, a murder prosecution collapsed when a juror “favourited” a tweet by a newspaper about the case. ‘Husband, parent, dog lover, trader’

A Greek citizen, who worked as a computer engineer prior to banking, Contogoulas describes himself to the circa 1,700 followers of his Twitter profile as a “Husband, parent, dog lover, trader. In that order.” The page also features a photo of him in a baseball cap beneath a backdrop of what looks to be a Greek island.

Contogoulas’ posts that appeared to relate to the case took up only a fraction of his Twitter activity during the six-week trial. Most of the time he focused on commodity prices (Silver coming up to a resistance zone around $18.50-$19), the pound (CFTC: Sterling speculative shorts at all-time high) and Brexit (the UK is all sorts of trouble. Brexit will be the end of its economy growth, big problems for decades, more easing.)

He also mentioned family outings to the Disney Store and an April Fool’s Day post about borrowing his brother’s BMW.

As well as musing on current affairs and offering trading tips, Contogoulas “liked” posts from other users that criticised the SFO and Barclays, mostly from a small band of accounts associated with traders who have been sent to jail following the Libor probe.

“David Green to be knighted by all the Libor families,” one user said March 24, referring to the head of the UK fraud prosecutor. “SIR LIE A LOT.”

At the first trial, three former Barclays traders were convicted of Libor rigging and jurors were told a senior rate submitter had pleaded guilty earlier.

The panel couldn’t reach a decision on Contogoulas or Reich.

On the same day Barclays executive Harry Harrison — who appeared as a witness at both trials — testified, Contogoulas wrote: “Lies, lies, just so many lies. Enough already. I really wonder how these people can sleep at night, or look their kids in the eye.”

Contogoulas started his commentary on the first day of the retrial — “So the fight begins again. The truth always wins” — and continued it right up to the end, tweeting this after the verdict on Thursday: VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!! The truth always wins??? Stelios (@bbki2611) April 6, 2017

How can Ivan Cleary let Mitchell Moses go now?

12/12/2018 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

How can Ivan Cleary let Mitchell Moses go now?

As he addressed the team for potentially the last time before Saturday night’s clash against the Cowboys, Moses looked his teammates in the eye and said: “no excuses”.

Eighty minutes of football later, which saw Johnathan Thurston leave the field in the dying minutes with a serious leg injury, the Wests Tigers were celebrating a victory on a memorable night in the club’s history.

“I was really fired-up before the game and wanted to prove people wrong,” Moses told Fox Sports after the match. “I’m going to try and put in every performance I have for the Tigers. I showed tonight I’m not giving up.”

If ever a team had a right to use excuses, it was the Tigers in Townsville on Saturday night.

They had a new coach in Cleary taking the reins on Monday.

Their five-eighth signed a contract with Parramatta for next year and retaliated to having his Tigers contract withdrawn by asking for directions to the exit doors.

Their skipper Aaron Woods and superstar fullback James Tedesco refused to commit to the club amid a circus of speculation surrounding their futures. But, 135 seconds into the Cleary regime, they moved to put a tumultuous month behind them and break a four-match losing streak with a fortuitous try to prop Ava Seumanufagai to mark a new era.

From his first meeting with the players to his first press conference in charge of the Tigers, Cleary has repeatedly alluded to this ‘bus’. You’re either on it or off it, he said.

A few days ago, Moses pressed the ‘stop’ button well before his desired destination. He wanted out. Or at least his manager wanted him waiting at the bus stop for Brad Arthur to arrive. But Cleary kept driving. Not stopping despite oncoming traffic ordering him to slow down.

Despite having his request for a release denied by the Tigers, Moses didn’t chuck his toys out of the cot. In fact, throughout the team’s preparation in Townsville, he committed to the cause.

He didn’t go into his shell. He interacted with Cleary throughout training. And while he still might be at Parramatta this week, he made it clear he had no intention of leaving Tigertown being accused of tanking.

Perhaps Moses was the most fired-up of the lot. High fiving and fist pumping his way around the ground shouting words that should never be printed in a newspaper.

“No excuses,” he reiterated to his teammates before kick-off.

Then the ambush began.

Not even Cleary expected the events of the next 80 minutes to transpire as they did. This was meant to be the toughest baptism of fire in the history of new coaches. A road trip to Townsville to take on Thurston and company.

But they played like a team on notice. Like a team that knew if they dished out what they have been in recent weeks they’d soon be on the lookout for a new club.

For a team that has long faded in and out of games, the victory against the Cowboys was the closest thing to a disciplined performance they’ve produced in a long time.

When they conceded a try, they didn’t concede three in quick succession. When they scored a try, they didn’t go looking for the big play.

And when they made an error, of which there were many, they didn’t drop their heads. They scrambled like men in black and gold haven’t scrambled in a long time.

Just like they did against Melbourne a fortnight ago in the first game of the post-Jason Taylor era, the Tigers burst out of the blocks to notch an early 14-0 lead.

This time they didn’t run out of steam. This time they had the heart to fight until the final whistle – ensuring Chris Lawrence’s 200th game would be one to savour.

And as one Tigers player yelled with relief after the game: “Thank god”. So the question has to be asked again. How can Cleary let Moses go now?

Not this year. And thanks to a little thing called the 10-day cooling-off period, perhaps not next year. “It was a really gusty effort and I’m glad we got the win” – @mitchmoses6#NRLCowboysTigers#NRLpic.twitter苏州夜网/G1wdWrQr0Z??? NRL (@NRL) April 8, 2017