South Africa’s biggest bank heist took place without a single shot being fired.Thieves armed with explosives and assault rifles attacked dozens of armored vehicles delivering cash to the country’s lenders last year, stealing hundreds of millions of rand. They’ve allegedly been outdone by five bankers accused of siphoning off at least 1.5 billion rand ($114 million) from VBS Mutual Bank.The collapse of the seventh-smallest of South Africa’s 21 banks has left a trail of destruction, with customers queuing up outside branches before dawn in the hope of accessing their funds. Like Mulalo Ramano, a 72-year-old widow who’s suffered anxiety attacks fretting about the 20,000-rand life savings she deposited at the bank.“My heart beats so so fast, it feels like it’s going to pop out,” a frail Ramano said July 14 as she waited outside a branch of VBS in Thohoyandou in northeastern South Africa. She was among dozens of people lined up to trying to … [Read more...] about South Africa’s Biggest Bank Heist Leaves Trail of Destruction
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Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT) July 11, 2018 (CNN)US President Donald Trump has arrived in Brussels with a clear message: NATO members must hike their defense spending and they must do it now. Trump has long called on other NATO members to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense, as the transatlantic alliance's own guidelines recommend. He has a point. The US spent more than 3.5% of its GDP on defense last year, and far more in previous years, while only three other member nations -- the UK, Greece and Estonia -- passed the 2% threshold last year, NATO data shows. Poland slipped in 2017 below the benchmark to 1.99%. "I think these countries have to step it up, not over a 10-year period, but they have to step it up immediately," Trump said in Brussels on Wednesday, on day one of the summit. NATO allies in 2014 agreed to try and reach their 2% target over a decade, by 2024, too long a time frame for Trump. He pointed specifically to Germany as a wealthy nation that … [Read more...] about Is the US NATO’s piggy bank? Here’s what to know
Samanth Subramanian reports on the Mumbai bank jobNirav Modi didn’t seem like the kind of person who needed to rob $2bn (€1.7bn) from a bank. He’s a short man, 47 years old and losing hair, the pocket square in his jacket always arranged to fussy perfection.His daintiness befitted a jeweller to the stars. Kate Winslet wore a Modi bracelet and Modi earrings to the Oscars. Dakota Johnson wore a similar set to the Golden Globes.Priyanka Chopra gazed out of Modi advertisements. Naomi Watts attended the opening, in 2015, of his emporium on Madison Avenue. Christie’s once put his Golconda Lotus necklace on the cover of its catalogue and auctioned it for over $3m.His stores — in Las Vegas, Macau, Singapore, Beijing, London — were boutiques of bling, where white light bounced off the arrayed gold and diamonds. He told people he wanted 100 shops by 2025. Last year, Forbes estimated his worth at $1.8bn.A good casting director would have marked him for the role … [Read more...] about Did a jeweller to the stars commit India’s biggest bank fraud?
In light of that development, Sputnik spoke to geopolitical analyst and author Nikola Mirkovic, to find out how Europe might respond to such straight talk. Sputnik: So, we know now that President Trump plans on telling NATO countries next week that the US “cannot be the world’s piggy bank” – how do you expect NATO leaders to respond to that sentiment? Nikola Mirkovic: I think that most of them would be hypocrites to say that this is something new. © AP Photo / Mindaugas KulbisNot Just About 'Cash:' Germany Fires Back After Trump Slams NATO 'Underspending'I think now that a lot of NATO countries will act hypocritical because they don’t know in which direction Donald Trump is going. So, they’re afraid that this menace, of not meeting the two percent engagement of each NATO country, could be hiding something different which could be more in line with what Donald Trump … [Read more...] about ‘World’s Piggy Bank’: Trump’s NATO Rhetoric ‘Is Not Something New’
Vultures. Asset-strippers. Corporate predators. The board of Melrose has had these perjorative labels and more thrown at it in the months since its initial bid approach for GKN. This week’s approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States of the £8bn takeover removed the final obstacle to a deal that elicited greater political controversy than any British merger since Kraft Foods’ purchase of Cadbury. Now, the break-up of GKN is about to begin. I understand that Jefferies is being lined up to work alongside Rothschild on the disposal of the UK engineering group’s Powder Metallurgy division. The sale, which will probably kick off in September, is likely to fetch between £1.5bn and £2bn – and yield inevitable howls of protest about the auction of a British industrial asset. That would be a fallacy. GKN had signalled the disposal of Powder Met as part of its defence against Melrose, and was preparing to offload other businesses … [Read more...] about The GKN break-up is a test for Melrose, don’t bank on a tax cut and Marc Bolland is not just any NED