Tuesday, 18 December 2018

One Of Uber's Biggest Investors Goldman’s Sachs, Facing Criminal Charge In 1MDB Scandal.

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal or 1MDB scandal is an ongoing political scandal occurring in Malaysia.

Malaysia is demanding Uber investor Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bear the brunt of the 1MDB scandal, opening up another legal front for the Wall Street firm over its role raising money for the investment fund.

The country filed the first criminal charges against the U.S. bank in the global corruption probe on Monday, after publicly urging Goldman to come to the negotiating table or face litigation. The firm already is in the thick of investigations by U.S. prosecutors and regulators over Goldman’s conduct in the controversy.

Malaysian authorities allege that Goldman misled investors when the bank knew that proceeds from 1MDB bond sales it arranged would be misappropriated. The government is seeking fines in excess of both the $2.7 billion of allegedly misused funds and the $600 million in fees received by Goldman on the deals. Goldman has blamed rogue employees for any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB, a state-owned investment fund.

"Their fraud goes to the heart of our capital markets," Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement announcing the charges. "If no criminal proceedings are instituted against the accused, their undermining of our financial system and market integrity will go unpunished."

Goldman Sachs’s role in raising about $6.5 billion for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013 has evolved into its thorniest scandal since the global financial crisis a decade ago triggered a public backlash against banks. Former Goldman partner Tim Leissner has pleaded guilty to U.S. bribery charges and his former deputy, Roger Ng, was arrested in Malaysia. And one of its senior investment bankers in Asia has been put on leave after being referenced in charging documents.

Ex Partner Tim Leissner 

Goldman Sachs said it would "vigorously contest" the charges, which it said came without a chance for the firm to provide its view.

"Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions," the bank said in an emailed statement Monday. "1MDB, whose CEO and board reported directly to the prime minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved."

Goldman’s increasing proximity to the scandal has weighed on its stock, which is down about a third since the beginning of the year. That has erased its so-called Trump bump, a reference to the boost all major banking stocks received after President Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. Goldman shares are now trading at the lowest level since October 2016.

Along with targeting the firm, Malaysia filed related charges against Leissner and Ng, as well as former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.

The indictment focuses on circulars and memoranda that Goldman prepared for the 1MDB bonds, saying that they contained statements that were false or misleading or both. Malaysia is pursuing the claim on the basis that the relevant bond documents were sent to the regulator in its offshore banking haven in Labuan, and therefore were covered by its securities law, Thomas said in the statement.

Malaysia is filing the charges against three of the bank’s units -- Goldman Sachs International (UK), Goldman Sachs (Singapore) and Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC -- the Edge newspaper reported, citing charge sheets from the Kuala Lumpur court.

"The criminal charges of this nature are grave, and it goes to the core of Goldman’s business as an investment bank," said Nizam Ismail, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP in Singapore. "If the outcome of the case results in a criminal conviction against the bank, there are potentially severe reputational and financial risks to the bank, as well as the bank’s standing as a licensed financial institution with regulators worldwide."

Officials in Malaysia had previously said they were seeking a full refund from Goldman Sachs for the fees it received for the 1MDB bond sales. The $600 million Goldman earned from the bond issues dwarfed what banks typically make from government deals.

Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind of the schemes to siphon billions of dollars from 1MDB, was also charged in absentia in the U.S. He was accused of conspiring with Ng, then a Goldman Sachs banker, to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB, known formally as 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

A spokesman for Low issued a statement from his attorneys that he maintained his innocence.

The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is ramping up an investigation into how executives dodged the bank’s internal controls while helping Malaysian authorities raise the money, people briefed on the matter said late last month. The probe examines the actions of Goldman Sachs as well as individuals and has been gaining momentum, the people said, asking not to be identified because the inquiry is confidential.

Leissner’s guilty plea suggests he’s helping U.S. authorities with their investigation of the bank. Other regulators are examining if its conduct points to a broader pattern of prioritizing lucrative business deals at the expense of following rigorous compliance standards.

And two Abu Dhabi funds -- International Petroleum Investment Co. and Aabar Investments -- have also filed a civil suita gainst Goldman Sachs in New York, seeking damages for alleged fraud in connection with embezzlement at 1MDB.

Source : Bloomberg 

Monday, 17 December 2018

Islington Cab Drivers Release Christmas Single About Being In Love

Joe and Jon the Islington cab drivers have made a Christmas single about being in love

Two crooning black cab drivers from Islington have released a Christmas single about being in love.

Joe Cartwright, 49, and Jon Cox, 50, have written and produced their track Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Without You from their studio space at Parkhurst Road’s Islington Arts Factory.

The festive tune features backing vocals courtesy from a True Stars Academy Theatre School choir, run by the Eastenders actor and anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella.

"It’s a song that can be universal, said Joe. "So it doesn’t matter if you’re in Afganistan or away on an oil rig, because it just encapsulates the feeling of love for another person."

Jon, who grew up in Clerkenwell, told the Gazette: "I’m very excited to write this song because it’s an emotional time of year and if our song becomes part of that I’ll be happy."

You can listen to the track on Spotify or iTunes.

Source : Islington Gazette.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

New Taxicard Contract A Disgrace : Users Protest As Free Journeys Decrease. Councillor Blames Government Funding.

Disabled people protested against what they see as an insufficient number of free taxi rides offered by their council.

Users of the ‘Taxicard’ service in Harrow handed in a petition at the borough’s civic centre on Monday – International Day of Disabled People – criticising the low number of journeys they are entitled to.

Harrow Council now offers just 40 free trips a year which, as the protesters pointed out, equates to less than one return journey every two weeks.

It is one of the lowest in London and, by contrast, neighbouring Hillingdon Council provides 104 annual journeys.

Adam Gabsi, vice-chairman of Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD), organised the march to the Civic Centre alongside several other charities.

He said: “The council needs to speak to the very people that they are affecting to understand what impact their decisions are having on people’s physical and mental health.

“Disabled people want equality, justice and the freedom to live. The Taxicard scheme helps to facilitate this and should not have been cut.”

He added that blaming austerity for the cuts is an “excuse” and urged the council to come up with “innovative ideas” to help plug any funding gaps.

Nigel Long, chief executive of HAD, believes there is “room for manoeuvre” on the Taxicard issue and hopes to see the number of journeys at least doubled.

“We are sympathetic to the council’s financial situation, but disabled people should not have to bear the brunt of austerity,” he said.

“It seems as if they have taken the soft option and they have let disabled people in the borough down.”

Cllr Adam Swersky, who is responsible for finance at Harrow Council, agreed that it is important to find alternative sources but said it is impossible to ignore the impact of reduced government funding.

He said: “This is a symbol of how long austerity has been going on for. We’ve been facing cuts year-on-year and so, in that respect, things are only getting worse.

“These things affect the people who need our support the most, and that is why we are fighting for fairer funding in Harrow.”

He explained that the demand for adult social care does not meet the council’s budget and, as a result, it needs “as much help as possible” from outside bodies.

And he promised to work with HAD and other charities in the borough to see how they can move forward together.


Funding for disabled cut, yet the Mayor found £1bn to fund cycle lanes which have crippled businesses all over London


Supported by ITA, LCDC, RMT, DDD and MM 

Dates and venues will be posted in the New Year. 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Top German Court Rules Uber Limousine Service Illegal 🤔

    Uber's Limo drivers, outside the Federal Court of Justice

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany’s highest court ruled on Thursday that a limousine service offered by Uber [UBER.UL] was illegal. It's a setback for the U.S. ride-hailing company, that has struggled to comply with the law in Europe’s largest economy.

The Federal Court of Justice, handing down a final decision, upheld lower-court rulings in favor of a complaint brought by a Berlin taxi business that the so-called Uber Black service had violated German laws governing car rentals. 

Responding to the judgment, Uber said it had taken Uber Black out of service in 2014, adding that the services it now operates in four German cities complied with the law. 

“This ruling has no impact on our current services in Germany as we changed our operating model more than four years ago,” the company said in a statement. 

“We will continue to engage with local stakeholders as we develop services that address Germany’s growing transportation needs and shape the future of urban mobility in a responsible way.” 

Uber, which could fetch a valuation of $120 billion when it floats next year in what would be the biggest stock market listing by a tech startup, has had a series of run-ins with regulators, courts and drivers around the world. 

In Britain, the company has fought a long-running court battle over whether its drivers should be given workers’ rights, including a minimum wage. The company argues that drivers are self-employed. 

In the German case, two lower courts had banned the Uber Black service based on the complaint brought by a Berlin taxi operator, Richard Leipold. 

He had argued that its operations should be covered by laws covering car rentals. These require a car to return to its base after each trip and for trips to be awarded by a dispatcher. 

Taxis, by contrast, can accept orders directly. 

Uber now offers its services in four German cities - Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf - and says it is in full compliance with German laws. 

Its Uber X service operates in partnership with car rental companies whose drivers hold a license to carry passengers, a company spokesman said. Its UberTaxi service functions as a regular taxi service. 

Establishing an important principle, the Federal Court found that Uber was subject to German transportation laws, dismissing arguments that European Union rules governing the provision of services should apply.

Lisson Grove Muggings Escalate : Police Have The Tools, So When Are They Going To Use Them? by Tony Casey

  Lisson Grove muggers, recently spotted in Berkeley Square 

The instances of muggings on Taxi drivers is increasing at an alarming rate...worst still, they are becoming more and more violent. 

The police keep saying we need more drivers to report these crimes. 

So I have been doing just that. 

I have also written again to my own local MP, Frank Manning. 

Hello Frank 
Thanks for your continued concern for the London Taxi community.
Despite my very best efforts since Sept 2018 and 4 alleged arrests by warrant recently,I have to report that this week the mugging Gangs are out of control...

Two nights ago at 9.30 attempted robbery of Taxi drivers in Rossmore road NW8 junction with Park Road near the Flower Shop.How many were succesful i'm not sure.

Today at Harrow Road W2 eastbound from Sandell and Perkins roundabout toward THE NOW CLOSED Paddington Green Police Station. The Robbers could be the same ones who robbed 78 year old George Vyse who may live on the neighbouring social Housing Estate.

Around a month ago I reported robbery activity opposite todays crime on the westbound carriageway of Harrow Road on the over side of the flyover, the taxi feeder line that feeds Paddington Station just before the roundabout of Bishops Bridge Road. This area may be covered by lady wpc Sgt O'Brien and her policing team.
What ever is going on in the Policing circles is embarrissingly POOR.
Drivers are asking me daily what is happening and I am ashamed to report VERY LITTLE.
Perhaps its time to take the matters into our own hands.
Could you please let Andrew Know.
Thanks and regards 
Anthony Casey LCDC. 

I have been working alongside the neighbourhood police teams and local MP’s for the Maida Vale and Harrow Road areas for some time, yet it is now even worse than ever.

Recently four muggers were arrested at their homes and their premises searched. Unfortunately for us, they are now back out on the street and are continuing to rob unsuspecting drivers. 

Perhaps they believe we are all holding bundles of cash because of the christmas period.

The muggings have now become increasingly violent and our biggest fear is that a driver could eventually be seriously injured or even killed. 

London Taxi Radio Interview with mugging victim Laurence.



They have the intel, they have the tools...so when are hey going to use them?

During our recent show of strength of feeling towards TfL’s recent consultation about the closure of tooley street, Met police sent out two licensed taxi's complete with ID cards containing undercover police officers who mingling with the Taxi protesters, using hidden body cameras to try to identify the ring leaders.

The met police have currently 3 Taxis in their under covet fleet fully plated etc.

Why have'nt these vehicles been deployed around Lisson grove and Harrow Road?

Perhaps they are still awaiting a response on a risk assessment.

TfL’s enforcement officers have been using a vauxhall zafira with minicab indentifiers complete with blues and two's and ANPR cameras.

The police have no excuses to solving violent crime ,they have the tools, vehicles to get the job done, but appear to be holding back. 

Mayor Sadiq Khan needs to divert money away from the vanity fountain fund and cycle super highways to fight crime and prevent further violence towards Cabbies which could eventually resort in murder.


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Uber, Lyft and their like are the least of our worries at the moment

Uber, Lyft and their like are the least of our worries at the moment. 

We now have apps coming along that are allowing Hackney Carriage drivers from outside London to pick up on their platform. 

They say this is legal as TfL class all app jobs as ore bookings. 

How has this been allowed to happen ???

Firstly our largest org, the only one that TfL is willing to listen to, is asleep on this type of issue in case it interferes with their advertising revenue 

Secondly, to all the drivers who thought Chris Johnson’s campaign wasn’t worth supporting... it’s your fault that this is happening. 

And it’s not over yet, it’s about to get so much worse.

You may be doing alright on your app work, but you will soon be competing with Taxi drivers from all over the Home Counties.

The power to stop this happening is in your hands....the orgs aren't going to do it for you, so that just leaves you!


Out of the many thousands of drivers currently on a Taxi type app in central London, just over 300 have actually made a donation to secure their future. Many (over half these drivers) have made a second and subsequent further donation. 

16 days left to go with just £2980 to raise!

Don't wait to see if someone else is going to save your trade, this is something YOU need to do for yourself.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Chris Johnson

We all know that Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi recently met with Chris Grayling. After obtaining FOI requests, we now know what they spoke about. 

We know Dara spoke about Uber pool express (minibuses) - to use in bus lanes?

But Dara akdonspoke about integrating taxis into the Uber App. 

This is the same reason MyTaxi won't confirm whether we are plying on the app or not because this is the strategy for all apps - they call it fully intergrated platforms. 

Now please try to understand that these orgs and unions are actively working against driver by not supporting the employment tribunal case against MyTaxi - Daimler own MyTaxi, Blacklane (PH), ViaVan (PH), Hopp was Taxify (PH). 

He also goes on to talk about homogenised regulations 
*this is a 1 tier system* 
again this is why MyTaxi won't defined that they are a plying app, all of these app companies want this homogenisation.