Another Winnipegger hits lotto million

Winnipeg has another million-dollar Lotto Max winner.

Lorne Ronald bought his winning ticket at Mississippi Jack’s Car Wash on Beaverhill Boulevard for the Oct. 19 draw, and was shocked to discover that he was one of two Winnipeg winners.

“I hoped I had one of the winning tickets,” he said. “I always hope that I’ll win something, but this is crazy! I never expected it!

“I called my daughter to tell her I won and she didn’t believe it either.”

Ronald said now that the shock is wearing off, he needs to decide what to do with his new winnings.

“I’m going to start with just getting organized,” he said. “I think the majority of the money will go into savings and be used at another time.”

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NAMA exceeds target to deliver 2,000 social housing units, agency reports

NAMA says it has exceeded its target to deliver 2,000 social housing units.

Up to end-June 2018, NAMA had identified 6,984 of its residential units as potentially suitable for social housing and local authorities took 2,717, the agency said.

The agency says its second quarter profit was €223m. Cash of €1.5bn generated in the first half of this year means total cash raised since the agency was established stands at €42bn. The vast bulk of that has been used to repay Nama’s debt.

Investec chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said the numbers mean Nama will eventual return more cash to the exchequer than its own forecasts suggest.

“The agency’s guidance of lifetime earnings of €3.5bn is too low – we see NAMA returning at least €4.5bn to the Exchequer,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nama is increasingly under pressure to play a major role in the housing market. The agency said it has so far delivered either directly or indirectly in excess of 10,000 residential units – between the start of 2014 and August 2018.

Nama directly funded 7, 881 units. Another 11,000 units are either under construction or have secured planning permission. Sites with capacity for a further 8,000 units are either in planning or are expected to be within twelve months.

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Regulators warn Wells Fargo over technology oversight: WSJ

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo (WFC.N) received a warning from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in recent weeks related to its technology operations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday citing people familiar with the matter.

The bank also has failed or isn’t expected to meet deadlines on around two dozen technology-focused OCC regulatory warnings known as “Matters Requiring Attention” that have been issued since 2014 or earlier, the WSJ reported on.wsj.com/2QqLVe5.

The warning adds to the bank’s list of woes since the sales scandal erupted more than two years ago. (reut.rs/2STESft)

Wells Fargo was not immediately available to comment, while OCC declined to comment.

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U.S. SEC fines Citibank more than $38 million for mishandling ADRS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Citibank (C.N) will pay more than $38 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for abuse in handling American Depositary Receipts (ADRS), the regulator said in a statement on Wednesday.

The SEC found that Citibank falsely provided U.S. securities that represent foreign shares, or ADRs, to brokers in thousands of premature transactions. Those brokers and customers did not have the actual number of foreign shares to support those ADRs, the SEC statement said.

The bank did not admit or deny the SEC’s findings on its practices, but agreed to pay the fine and additional fees related to the abuses.

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How the Democratic House May Shift the Economic Equation

The Democrats’ success in winning back control of the House comes after an election in which economic issues were often overshadowed. Even so, the change on Capitol Hill is likely to make a difference on some spending priorities and tax policy.

House Democrats are in a position to block Republicans from extending the temporary tax cuts and provisions for individuals and small businesses that were enacted last year, and from pushing for further tax breaks for businesses. The momentum on health care has shifted toward shoring up and improving the Affordable Care Act and reining in prescription drug costs, an issue that has caught President Trump’s attention as well. Republican efforts to shrink spending on what are known as entitlement programs — Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid — will also be shunted aside with Democrats pushing to patch up the safety net.

Still, the larger economic story line of the year ahead is unlikely to be shaped by initiatives from Capitol Hill.

The economy is strong, but growth is still expected to slow in 2019 as the extra juice injected through the tax cuts fades. Trade tensions are not going away. The jobless rate, already circling near a half-century low, will probably inch down even more. Swoops in the stock market will continue to be unpredictable, and anxieties about global growth remain. Moreover, as Janice Mays, managing director in the accounting firm PwC’s Washington National Tax Services, said: “You’re going to have the same president.”

What kind of legislation can we expect?

With control of only one chamber, and an antagonist in the White House, the Democrats won’t be able to reverse previous tax cuts and spending initiatives. Instead, they are likely to highlight their priorities for the future by passing a lot of bills — think of them more as billboards, designed to shape an agenda and deliver a message. An increase in the minimum wage, an expansion of health care coverage, and an infrastructure build-a-thon are obvious candidates.

With control of one House, Democrats will be able to block efforts to trim safety net programs like food stamps and Medicaid. They are also likely to focus on investigating the administration.

But prospects of any major legislative efforts look doubtful. Consider that a major tax overhaul was passed during the current congressional session, but much of the rest of the Republicans’ legislative agenda stalled despite their control of both houses.

What about tax policy?

Aside from blocking further Republican tax-cutting initiatives, Democrats have their own wish list. Powerful Democrats (as well as some Republicans) from high-tax states like California, New York and New Jersey have a strong interest in reinstating the federal deduction for all state and local taxes. But they will encounter two obstacles. First, the decision to limit that deduction to no more than $10,000 kept the deficit from getting even larger. Second, an energized progressive Democratic wing might not be keen on prioritizing a tax proposal that predominantly helps higher-income residents.

The parties could find common ground on supporting increased tax incentives for retirement savings. And there is a long list of technical fixes and extensions on Congress’s to-do list. The question is whether Democrats would go along with many of those without having one of their own priorities addressed — like more relief for the working class and higher taxes on the wealthy.

Are there areas of agreement between the parties?

You may remember that for the blink of an eye last year, it seemed possible that the Democratic leadership in Congress might make a deal with Mr. Trump to tie tax reform to a proposal to repair roads, bridges, waterways and airports.

Infrastructure has often been hospitable ground for bipartisan initiatives. Mr. Trump has always been enthusiastic about building on a grand scale, and in many ways, the Democrats are more willing partners than Republicans, who have consistently objected to the kind of spending required. Democrats have put together a trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal aimed at everything from broadband to waterways.

But financing remains a problem. Even if the president and Democrats were willing to make a deal, Senate Republicans would almost certainly object to any plan large enough to make it worth the Democrats’ while, said Rick Lazio, a former Republican congressman who is now a senior vice president at Alliantgroup, a tax-credit consulting firm. “With economy slowing and deficits climbing,” he said, “I don’t just see Republicans going for a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.”

Nor is the atmosphere in Washington particularly conducive to cross-the-aisle collaboration. “I just have a hard time believing that after the last two years, the parties are going to be able to get along and negotiate anything,” said William G. Gale, co-director of the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington. Republicans and Democrats “can have overlapping positions,” he said, “but any compromise requires trust, and I just don’t think there’s any trust available right now.”

Democrats may also think twice about giving the president a victory before the 2020 election.

A significant slowdown in the economy could always change that calculus. With the effects of the stimulus fading, Mr. Trump has stepped up complaints that the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates will slow the economy. “If somebody offers him the opportunity to offset that with a spending bill, he would sign it, with no regard for the deficit,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington who was an adviser to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Will trade policy change?

Mr. Trump has paid little attention to critics in either party in pursuing a confrontational trade policy. The administration has the power to impose tariffs without congressional approval, and that is exactly what it has done. The 10 percent tariff the president put on $250 billion of Chinese goods in late September is scheduled to increase to 25 percent on Jan. 1. The White House has indicated that it will unveil tariffs on all other Chinese imports — worth an additional $257 billion — if talks between the United States and China at the G-20 summit this month fail to produce progress.

Restricting the president’s power on trade would require the approval of the House and a 60-vote majority in the Senate. That is unlikely. The Democrats have traditionally been less enamored with free trade than Republicans. (Their views, however, may evolve as the Republican Party under Mr. Trump continues its shift from free-trade orthodoxy to protectionist measures.)

Congress will have the chance to weigh in on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. The agreement has incorporated a number of provisions — like higher pay for autoworkers — that render it somewhat more palatable for the Democrats, Ms. Mays of PwC said. But the accord could come up for a vote before the Democrats take control, heading off any push by House Democrats for a tougher deal.

Will the government keep running?

There are two issues that Congress must confront next year: the debt ceiling and the legally mandated limits on spending approved annually by Congress. Failure to address the budget limits could prompt deep spending cuts and a partial government shutdown. And without an accord on the debt ceiling, the government would default on its payments and risk injuring its credit rating and causing a global panic.

After President Barack Obama signed a bill requiring across-the-board spending cuts if the budget exceeded set limits, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have patched together compromise budgets and agreed to raise the spending caps. In general, the deals have involved Republican agreement to greater spending on domestic programs and Democratic acceptance of bigger defense budgets. That has meant larger deficits.

“Both parties seem to care about the deficit when they’re out of the power, but not so much when they’re in power,” said Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Since a shutdown can tar both parties, Democrats and Republicans are likely to strike some deal. “They’ll lurch from deadline to deadline and do the minimum to get by,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and the president of the conservative American Action Forum.

The wild card is Mr. Trump. The president has said that “I would have no problem doing a shutdown” to force Congress to fund a wall along the Mexican border. He may have even less of a problem with it if he could more easily blame the Democrats.

“A shutdown is always a possibility, and the wall would mostly likely be the reason for that,” Mr. Lazio of Alliantgroup said. “But Senate Republicans are less likely to barrel into a confrontation.”

Patricia Cohen covers the national economy. Since joining The Times in 1997 she has also written about theater, books and ideas. She is the author of “In Our Prime: The Fascinating History and Promising Future of Middle Age.” @PatcohenNYT Facebook

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Revenue to write to all taxpayers that have not claimed any relief in last four years

The Revenue Commissioners is to write to all taxpayers that have not claimed any tax relief in the last four years.

The correspondence aims to draw people’s attention to the reliefs that are available to them, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told an Oireachtas Finance Committee on Wednesday.

The measure received a lukewarm welcome by Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty, who said that it narrows down the number of taxpayers that will be contacted, adding that many people may have claimed for certain reliefs, but may not be aware of others.

“The Revenue sends out information regularly and some of it is missed,” Deputy Doherty said.

The Donegal TD added that there was a need to examine a consumer friendlier way of highlighting reliefs that are available such as reliefs on medical expenses.

Deputy Doherty also called for the tapering out of tax credits for those on higher incomes.

“There are 10,000 people who earn an average of over €500,000 each, it is not appropriate to subsidise their high income tax. They should not be getting a tax break above €3,300, it’s unjustifiable,” he said.

In response to this Minister Donohoe said that such a move would have a negative impact on tax.

“I believe we have highly effective tax rates available already, and if we take the effective tax rate even higher for people on certain levels of income it will affect decisions made in the economy,” Minister Donohoe said.

“There are a certain group which earn more, they pay more tax and should pay more tax,” he added.

He added that the 1pc of the top earners in the country pay 22pc of total income tax and USC in the State.

“This ensures those at the top are paying what they need to pay and making their contribution to the social contract.” 

The Minister added that the proposed amendment by Deputy Doherty would have other effects that were not in the interest of economy or public services.

Minister Donohoe also outlined plans to increase the income tax credit for people who are self-employed in the budget next year in order to bring it into line with tax credits currently offered to people privately employed.

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World stocks, Wall Street surge after US vote but dollar takes hit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – World stocks rose on Wednesday, with Wall Street surging after the U.S. midterm election a day earlier divided control of Congress, but the outcome, which casts doubt on further U.S. tax cuts, hit the dollar and sent Treasury yields lower.

The Democrats looked headed for a gain of more than 30 seats in the House of Representatives, well beyond the 23 they needed to claim their first majority in eight years. With President Donald Trump’s Republican party holding on to its Senate majority, the results from Tuesday’s election were in line with expectations.

While gridlock in Washington could hamper Trump’s political and economic agenda, few expect a reversal of tax cuts and financial deregulation measures that have already been enacted.

That view helped all three Wall Street equity indices open stronger. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 213.04 points, or 0.83 percent, to 25,848.05, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 27.55 points, or 1.00 percent, to 2,783 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 84.49 points, or 1.15 percent, to 7,460.45.

“The good news in a way for markets is that there was an uncertainty that’s now been removed. We know where we stand for the next two years, and investors will focus back on the fundamentals, which are (company) earnings growth and the economy,” said Guy Miller, chief market strategist at Zurich Insurance Group.

Interactive chart on U.S. midterms tmsnrt.rs/2D6XH9t

Still, a split Congress could hamper Trump’s push for a further round of tax cuts and deregulation, measures that have turbocharged the U.S. economy, stock markets and the dollar.

After volatile Asian trade, where stocks and the dollar swung on the Republicans’ fluctuating prospects, the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.02 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.90 percent.

It was the seventh straight day of gains in global shares.

Riskier European bonds such as those from Italy also were in demand, with yields falling 6-9 basis points.

The Fed is expected to signal this week that an interest rate rise remains on the agenda for December.

“Certainly it is now unlikely we will see additional fiscal stimulus in the near-term, that’s a profound change but there will be no repeal of what’s already in place,” Miller said.

That view pushed the dollar lower against a basket of currencies. The dollar index .DXY fell 0.48 percent, with the euro EUR= up 0.32 percent to $1.1462.

Ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yields at one point fell to a low of 3.176 percent US10YT=RR as it became clear that more fiscal stimulus was unlikely.

An initial knee-jerk rise to 3.25 percent came after early reports of a better-than-expected performance by the Republicans, but that move soon fizzled as results trickled in.

“Democrats winning the House is likely to mean slightly less fiscal stimulus going forward. The bond market may take that well because the Federal Reserve will have less work to do,” said Richard Buxton, head of UK equities at Merian Global Investors.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 6/32 in price to yield 3.193 percent, from 3.215 percent late on Tuesday.

Attention will focus on Trump’s hard line on trade tariffs, which he can impose without Congressional approval. That keeps alive worries about a trade war between China and the United States.

Chinese shares closed 0.7 percent lower, while Hong Kong markets ended just above flat. .HSI

The dollar’s weakness lifted other currencies. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.11 percent versus the greenback at 113.32 per dollar, while sterling GBP= was last at $1.314, up 0.33 percent on the day.

Oil prices reversed their earlier decline after a report that Russia and Saudi Arabia were discussing output cuts in 2019.

U.S. crude CLc1 rose 0.69 percent to $62.64 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was last at $72.83, up 0.97 percent on the day.

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Cologne prosecutors confirm searched Blackrock offices

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German state prosecutors in Cologne executed a search warrant at Blackrock’s offices in Munich on Tuesday, a spokesman said, adding that the company’s country chairman, Friedrich Merz, was not suspected of wrongdoing.

The prosecutors are investigating a fraud known as cum-ex that typically involved trading company shares rapidly around a syndicate of banks, investors and hedge funds to create the impression of numerous owners, each entitled to a tax rebate.

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Persimmon boss Jeff Fairburn pushed out over £75m pay row

The UK’s largest housebuilder said he would go “by mutual agreement” on 31 December and be replaced on an interim basis by the group’s managing director David Jenkinson pending the appointment of a permanent successor.

The company’s statement said of Mr Fairburn’s departure: “The board believes that the distraction around his remuneration from the 2012 LTIP (long-term incentive) scheme continues to have a negative impact on the reputation of the business and consequently on Jeff’s ability to continue in his role.”

Almost half of Persimmon’s investors voted against its pay report at the AGM in April.

The decision to cut him loose risked a further backlash as it emerged that because he had been asked to leave, the firm could not prevent the payment of the payouts due to him under the share option scheme.

Persimmon said Mr Fairburn had agreed to cut his 12-month notice period and would not receive any further salary or benefits after 31 December.

Shares – down 14% in the year to date – were 0.3% lower in early deals.

Mr Fairburn – and other executives – first agreed to cut their awards in February after widespread outrage over the sums which critics said were inflated by government housing market stimulus in the form of the Help to Buy.

He had been due to receive £100m but gave up £25m.

Mr Fairburn said: “I had hoped that revealing my plans to create a charitable trust and to waive a proportion of the award would enable the company to put the issue of the 2012 LTIP behind it.

“However, this has not been the case and so it is clearly now in the best interests of Persimmon that I should step down.”

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Goldman Sachs CEO: I feel horrible ex-bankers broke law in 1MDB case

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Chief Executive David Solomon said on Wednesday he felt “horrible” that two former employees “blatantly broke the law” in their dealings with Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges against the two former Goldman bankers and a Malaysian financier linked to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from the fund.

An investigation into where 1MDB’s money went became the largest carried out by the Department of Justice under its anti-kleptocracy program, and the scandal was a major reason why Malaysian voters rejected Najib Razak, their prime minister for nearly a decade, in an election earlier this year.

“It is obviously very distressing to see two former Goldman Sachs employees went so blatantly around our policies and so blatantly broke the law,” Solomon said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Singapore.

“I feel horrible about the fact that people who worked at Goldman Sachs, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a partner or it’s an entry level employee, would go around our policies and break the law,” Solomon said.

U.S. prosecutors announced last week that Tim Leissner, former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million.

Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia and is expected to be extradited.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact Ng’s lawyer on Wednesday. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment after U.S. prosecutors unveiled the charges last Thursday.

Goldman has also placed its former co-head of Asia investment banking, Andrea Vella, on leave over his role in the firm’s involvement with the case, pending a review of allegations, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The Wall Street bank said in a securities filing on Friday that it may also face penalties from dealings with 1MDB.

Asked if he could provide assurances that neither he, former CEO Lloyd Blankfein or any of the senior management team suspected illegality or compliance breaches in dealings with 1MDB, Solomon said:

“We take compliance and control in our firm extremely seriously, we always have…We are going to continue to cooperate with the authorities and there’s a process in place and that process will proceed.”

According to prosecutors, the investment bank generated about $600 million in fees for its work with 1MDB, which included three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised $6.5 billion. Leissner, Ng and others received large bonuses in connection with that revenue.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told Reuters in June that the government will be looking at the possibility of seeking claims from Goldman Sachs.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will look into why Goldman was paid around $600 million in fees, an amount that critics say exceeds normal levels.

Goldman has maintained that the outsized fees related to the additional risks it took on – it bought the un-rated bonds while it sought investors and, in the case of the 2013 deal which raised $2.7 billion, 1MDB wanted the funds in a hurry for a planned investment.

The new Malaysian government has barred Najib and his wife from leaving the country, and the former premier faces multiple charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power, though he has consistently denied any wrongdoing related to 1MDB.

In another interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said it would be “inexcusable” if Goldman Sachs was complicit in the scandal.

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