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"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." -- Greek proverb
Yossi Engel, a 35-year-old Israeli man who was indicted in absentia in January 2021 for allegedly defrauding investors of at least $47 million, has been arrested in Los Angeles by US authorities. Engel is accused of using his company, iWitness Tech, to target potential investors from Orthodox Jewish communities in Los Angeles and New Jersey between 2018 and 2021, when he fled to Israel. He is facing one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.
According to the indictment filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Engel deceived investors by portraying himself as a businessman seeking capital to purchase and install security cameras in Los Angeles as anti-Semitic incidents increased in the US. He also promised to use their funds to purchase property in Israel, which he claimed he would renovate and sell for a profit. However, he allegedly used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including spending $56,880 at casinos and flying on private jets at least twice. He also wired more than $2.5 million to currency exchangers in Israel and withdrew over $861,000 in cash.
Today Tucker seems to be turning a new leaf. He proclaimed on the popular podcast ‘Redacted’ “…but if you say “What actually happened with Building 7? But if you say something like that on television - they actually flip out!….Do buildings actually collapse like that? No! or maybe they do. I don’t know. But why can’t I ask questions about that?”
Knowing of Silicon Valley's fondness for "Effective Altruism", and the importance of The Silicon Valley Bank to their industry, I wondered this week if we'd see venture capitalists lined up in front of Silicon Valley Bank branches with $250k cashier's checks in hand to open CDs there, to boost confidence in the bank. Instead, they did the opposite, encouraging the CEOs of their portfolio companies to pull all their assets out of the bank...
And calling for a Federal bailout.
What Happens Next?
It looks like the damage is going to ripple outward from the collapse of The Silicon Valley Bank. Serial startup founder Brad Hargreaves sketched out some of the mechanics of that in this thread.
Banks' paper losses caused by higher interest on their holdings of debt securities became the focus of attention last week when Silicon Valley Bank - SVB Financial Group (SIVB) - was forced to sell billions of dollars of debt securities at a huge loss to pay depositors their money. Often this paper loss data is ignored by investors and is buried in lengthy SEC files, but it can be a significant loss per share compared to the current stock price. While many factors impact the valuation of a bank stock, many readers were asking me about this information, and I have compiled a list of some banks with their unrealized loss per share compared to their latest stock price.
Paper Losses on Securities
The data comes from the respective bank's latest 10-K that reflect December 31, 2022, numbers. Most banks keep securities in two different accounts. Available for sale - AFS - securities are those securities that might be sold before maturity. The fair value is reported on the balance sheet and the gain/loss is shown as accumulated other comprehensive income -AOCI - in the shareholder equity area of the balance sheet. If an AFS security is sold, then the gain/loss is reported on the income statement. Held-to-maturity -HTM - securities are those securities that are expected to be held to maturity. They are reported on the balance sheet at cost - not at fair value. Any gain/loss on either their sale or any gain/loss if they are held to maturity is also reported on the income statement.
They are these:
1. We don’t want war, we are only defending ourselves.
2. The other guy is solely responsible for this war.
3. Our adversary’s leader is evil and looks evil.
4. We are defending a noble purpose, not special interest.
5. The enemy is purposefully causing atrocities; we only commit mistakes.
6. The enemy is using unlawful weapons.
7. We have very little losses, the enemy is losing big.
8. Intellectuals and artists support our cause.
9. Our cause is sacred.
10. Those who doubt our propaganda are traitors.
SVB Financial Group's announcement that it needed to sell billions of dollars of assets to make its customers whole continued to send Wall Street into panic mode.
Several news outlets, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the financially-strapped bank was considering a potential sale to a larger institution.
On Friday morning, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation shut down the bank and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as the receiver.
There was a line of about 50 people deep Friday morning, waiting in the rain at the Menlo Park branch of Silicon Valley Bank, trying to withdraw their money. Instead, they were met with FDIC representatives.
"We have more than $250,000 with SVB," said Yegor Anchyshkin, co-founder and CEO of Instock.Com. "I am pretty concerned."
In the previous issue of Ke Aupuni Update (February 25) I spoke of the tragic 130-year long disconnection from the rest of the Pacific Island nations. This is particularly lamentable since Pasifika, not America, is our real, natural family. We have begun the process to be reunited with our Pacific family.
Living in Hawaii, we donʻt realize how deeply colonized and enslaved we are by the American system, until we visit other Pacific Island nations.
In the rest of our Pacific family, governments and the peoples are shedding the adverse aspects of colonial ways and actively engage in applying what is called the “Pacific Way” to address local, regional and even global issues.
What is this Pacific Way? Itʻs doing things in ways that are mutually respectful, inclusive, consultative, consensual, flexible and allow for compromise. The Pacific Way is a set of ideas, visions and processes that are dynamic, renewing itself under new contexts while simultaneously grounded to the core values of the native culture.
Simply put, its doing things island style.
Botswana is pushing for a larger share of diamonds mined by the De Beers consortium, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Thursday. Masisi’s government and the company have been trying to negotiate a new deal for five years, and the president now thinks Botswana can make more money cutting and refining its own stones.
Botswana’s diamond industry is completely controlled by Debswana, a joint venture of the government and De Beers. Although both parties own an equal stake in the venture, 75% of Debswana’s diamonds go to De Beers, while a quarter go to the Okavango Diamond Company, a diamond trader owned by the government.
De Beers sources rough diamonds from Botswana, which sell for a lower price than polished diamonds or jewelry. Masisi said that he wants the Okavango Diamond Company to receive a larger cut of these diamonds from the Debswana deal, which the state-owned firm can then refine and sell for a higher price.
On March 11, terrorists believed to be members of ISIS attacked a group of civilians who were collecting truffles near Khanaser town in the southern countryside of Aleppo in Syria’s central region.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the terrorists “slaughtered” three of the civilians, all young men, and abducted 26 others, including women. The London-based monitoring group said that the attack took place near a position of Iranian-backed forces, who maintain a large presence on the strategic road leading to Khanaser and from there to Aleppo city.
ISIS cells in central Syria escalated their attacks against government forces and civilians in the region in the last few months.
Just a day earlier, a pro-government fighter was killed and ten civilians were wounded in two separate attacks that took place near the town of Kobajjep in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor and in the area of al-Bruk in the governorate’s southern countryside. Both attacks were blamed on ISIS.