Archive for October, 2011

U.S. affluent classes dwarf China and India

Friday, October 7th, 2011 | Finance News

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States has 10 times more affluent households than China or India, research shows, undermining arguments the global economy can be sustained by consumption in emerging markets.

A survey of affluent households around the world -- defined as having wealth of more than $100,000 -- by research firm TNS found 80 percent of such people live in Western countries.

While the number of affluent households in China and India is 3 million each, the U.S. has more than 31 million, the survey shows.

The results challenge hopes that the boom economies of Asia can supplant an ailing U.S. as the world's consumer of last resort, and keep global growth ticking over.

Reg van Steen, a director of business and finance at TNS, said researchers had to drop the wealth threshold to $40,000 for Brazil to make it possible to find a large-enough sample.

"What really surprises is China has surpassed Germany, France and the UK when it comes to the number of affluent. (But) it will take some time before we really see a shift from West to East," he said.

The number of households with more than $100,000 in liquid assets stands at 2.9 million in the UK, 2.5 million in Germany and 2.7 million in France, the survey of 12,000 people in 24 countries found.

The study also highlights the tiny proportion of overall population taken up by the affluent middle classes in China and India compared with developed countries.

The incidence of affluence in the U.S. is 27 percent, the study shows, 20 percent in Canada and 11 percent in the UK, while the proportion in China is 0.75 percent. India's affluent make up 1.25 percent of the country's population.

A global study of wealth published this year by Merrill Lynch and global consulting firm Capgemini found China has the world's fourth-largest population of millionaires.

However, the top three -- the U.S., Japan and Germany -- account for more than half of the world's millionaires.

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; Editing by Sinead Cruise and David Hulmes)

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Former trader Emanuel Goffer sentenced to 3 years

Friday, October 7th, 2011 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former securities trader was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for insider trading in another victory for prosecutors in their probe of suspicious trading on Wall Street.

Emanuel Goffer, 32, was found guilty by a Manhattan federal court jury in June along with his older brother, Zvi Goffer, and a third trader, Michael Kimelman. Emanuel Goffer was convicted on one conspiracy charge and two securities fraud counts.

The Goffer case comes from a wide-ranging government probe of insider trading by hedge funds and traders, noted for the use of FBI wiretaps, which also led to the conviction of Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, who presided over the trial, sentenced Zvi Goffer last month to 10 years in prison. Kimelman will be sentenced next week.

Prosecutors said Zvi Goffer was the ringleader who paid tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to two Ropes & Gray lawyers to learn what corporate deals the law firm was working on. The lawyers, Arthur Cutillo and Brien Santarlas, have pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Zvi goffer once worked at Rajaratnam's Galleon Group hedge fund firm. Rajaratnam faces sentencing next week.

"This was a deliberate scheme to procure inside information, privileged information, from a law firm by bribing lawyers, by corrupting them to breach their duties to their firm and to their customers," Sullivan said.

Emanuel Goffer was ordered to pay $760,000 in forfeiture.

The Goffer case is USA v Zvi Goffer et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 10-00056.

(Reporting by Basil Katz; editing by John Wallace)

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Finns release Somali terror suspect, hold another

Friday, October 7th, 2011 | Finance News

HELSINKI – Finnish police have released a Somali woman arrested on suspicion of financing terrorism but are holding a Somali man as they further probe allegations that he recruited potential terrorists, authorities said Friday.

The pair's arrests Sept. 7 were the first known terror-linked arrests in the Nordic country. Police said the two are suspected of links to the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which has ties to al-Qaida.

Detective Inspector Kaj Bjorkvist said the 28-year-old woman, who is a student and arrived in Finland in late 2008, has been ordered not to leave the country.

"Our suspicions have not changed, but we no longer felt it necessary to keep her in custody," Bjorkvist said. "The man asked to be released, but the police objected and he remains in detention."

Bjorkvist declined to give more details about the suspects.

The National Bureau of Investigation said earlier that the 34-year-old male detainee is suspected of recruiting at least one person abroad to commit an act of terrorism, linked to al-Shabab, "in the direction of Somalia." He has lived in Finland since 2005, has a residency permit and has held several jobs.

The agency said both suspects, who know each other, allegedly sent small amounts of money to al-Shabab.

Bjorkvist, who heads the bureau's investigation, said police had conducted another house search in Helsinki this week but were not successful in making contact with another potential male suspect.

He said officers would continue to interrogate the two Somalis and sift through the "somewhat extensive" material they confiscated during earlier searches.

"It's difficult to know how long it will last. Several other people are involved, some of them overseas, and we have requested legal aid from abroad," he said.

The Finnish Security Intelligence Service said it began intelligence operations in 2009 that led to the arrests and that they confiscated data and other material in searches at several locations in the Helsinki metropolitan area after the arrests.

Police have given few details about the operation since they took control of the investigation from the intelligence service on Sept. 16, when the arrests were announced. Officials have until Dec. 15 to charge the suspects.

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