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SEC charges hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, Omega Advisers with insider trading

SEC charges hedge fund operator with insider tradingBillionaire Leon Cooperman and his Omega Advisors hedge fund were charged Wednesday with insider trading, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced.

The SEC accused Cooperman of buying into Atlas Pipeline Partners ahead of a deal, using his status as one of its largest shareholders to acquire nonpublic information about an upcoming transaction.

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Deutsche Bank faces new blow as Justice Department demands record $14B

Deutche bankDeutsche Bank faces the prospect of having to tap shareholders for more cash after the U.S. Department of Justice asked Germany’s flagship lender to pay $14 billion to settle an investigation into alleged mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities. The record fine marks the latest blow to the bank, which has run a gauntlet of setbacks since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Department of Justice move was only the first salvo in what could be a lengthy negotiation over the size of the fine, but it raised fears the final penalty will be far greater than expected. Deutsche Bank said on Friday it has “no intent” to settle the issue at “anywhere near the number cited.”

The negotiations are only just beginning. The bank expects that they will lead to an outcome similar to those of peer banks which have settled at materially lower amounts.

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Robots will eliminate 6% of all US jobs by 2021, report says

Robots to eliminate 6% of jobsBy 2021, robots will have eliminated 6% of all jobs in the US, starting with customer service representatives and eventually truck and taxi drivers. That’s just one cheery takeaway from a report released by market research company Forrester this week.

These robots, or intelligent agents, represent a set of AI-powered systems that can understand human behavior and make decisions on our behalf. Current technologies in this field include virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Google Now as well as chatbots and automated robotic systems. For now, they are quite simple, but over the next five years they will become much better at making decisions on our behalf in more complex scenarios, which will enable mass adoption of breakthroughs like self-driving cars.

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US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report

US corporations hide 1.4t in tax havensUS corporate giants such as Apple, Walmart and General Electric have stashed $1.4tn (£980bn) in tax havens, despite receiving trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, according to a report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.

The sum, larger than the economic output of Russia, South Korea and Spain, is held in an “opaque and secretive network” of 1,608 subsidiaries based offshore, said Oxfam.

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U.S. watchdog to probe Fed's lax oversight of Wall Street

Janet YellinA U.S. watchdog agency is preparing to investigate whether the Federal Reserve and other regulators are too soft on the banks they are meant to police, after a written request from Democratic lawmakers that marks the latest sign of distrust between Congress and the central bank.

Ranking representatives Maxine Waters of the House Financial Services Committee and Al Green of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations asked the Government Accountability Office on Oct. 8 to launch a probe of "regulatory capture" and to focus on the New York Fed, according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

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Macy's announces closure of 36 stores, layoffs after slow holiday sales

Macy'sRetailer Macy's Inc. announced the elimination of more than 4,500 jobs and the closure of 36 stores after disappointing sales during the holiday season.

It said Wednesday it would initiate "a series of cost-efficiency and process-improvement measures" by reducing the workforce at each of about 770 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, closing other stores, and offering a "voluntary separation opportunity" to some senior executives. The downsizing actions are set to begin early this year.

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Accounting industry and SEC defang America’s audit watchdog

auditing industryJames Schnurr, just two months into his job as chief accountant at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, stood before a packed ballroom in Washington last December and upbraided a little-known regulator.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, oversees the big firms that sign off on the books of America’s listed companies. And the board was “moving too slowly,” Schnurr said, to address auditing failures that in recent years had shaken public confidence in those firms.

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