PFI Fraud: Labour need to debate Solution

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party needs to have an urgent debate about how to resolve billions of pounds of New Labour’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debts, according to a leading PFI research expert.

PFI was conjured up by John Major’s Government but deployed by New Labour on a grand scale.

Overcharging on PFI projects has meant the British taxpayer has  given away billions of pounds to the Private Sector that the government itself could have borrowed for far cheaper by issuing its own bonds.

“We cannot continue to expose the flaws in PFI, have a review and do nothing. More radical action is essential for which there is wide public support. The public cost of PFI buyouts, bailouts and terminations plus the extra cost of private finance and higher PFI transaction costs is £28bn – enough to build 1,520 new secondary schools for two million pupils.” says Dexter Whitfield of the European Services Strategy Unit.

 

 

PFI has allowed successive governments to pay for schools, hospitals, motorways and various military and government buildings without the borrowing showing up in the the government’s annual spending.

The borrowing is hidden off balance sheet so the government is able to look as though it is building projects for much cheaper than the real cost of the project — in other words PFI is based on accounting tricks.

However no major politician, including John McDonnell or Jeremy Corbyn, talks seriously about investigating, prosecuting  or jailing PFI  fraudsters — let alone  recovering the proceeds of crime.

I asked Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s office to contribute to this piece but I have been told to wait till later in the campaign for their PFI policy.

PFI Schools

Last week Jonathan Owen wrote the following piece on the exorbitant cost of PFI schools for the Times Educational Supplement (possibly paywalled):

Here is the shorter form article (not paywalled):

Neither piece names the firms who have been getting rich by overcharging the taxpayer.

However Jonathan Owen  hasn’t always been shy about naming greedy PFI contractors (this from 2015) :

But no names were mentioned in 2016 either:

Interserve strikes Back

Interserve are one of the profiteering PFI firms — it was announced today that  they’ve just won contracts to build more schools in Leeds and South Wales.

Interserve Healthcare Services

Interserve were also heading the consortium to take over Cancer services in Stoke:

But that appears to have just fallen through:

Dexter Whitfield

Dexter Whitfield – PFI researcher and expert – made the following statement:

The TES article on the operational costs of PFI school contracts again highlight the financial scams employed by PFI contractors to maximise their profits at the expense of education and healthcare.
But it also exposes the fundamental structural and financial flaws in PFI projects which have become an albatross for schools and hospitals – high debt burden, offshore profiteering and weak accountability. Interserve’s new PFI schools contract in Wales illustrates how PFI rolls on unabated.
We cannot continue to expose the flaws in PFI, have a review and do nothing. More radical action is essential for which there is wide public support. The public cost of PFI buyouts, bailouts and terminations plus the extra cost of private finance and higher PFI transaction costs is £28bn – enough to build 1,520 new secondary schools for two million pupils(1).
I strongly recommend the People v Barts PFI campaign proposal to nationalise the Special Purpose companies that build and operate PFI projects be supported and developed by the Labour Party (2).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head of NHS England Simon Stevens may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice for defrauding the US taxpayer of hundreds of millions of dollars

Defrauding Families in the UK

The following story about overcharging at private care homes appeared on page 2 of yesterday’s Daily Mail – before the announcement of the ‘snap election’:

Similar Strategy in the US

This story has many similarities to  the US Department of Justice’s investigation into US Health Insurer United Health’s pilfering of the American public purse in its Medicare programme.

Simon Stevens

The man who ran the Medicare programme when UnitedHealth allegedly overcharged the American taxpayer by hundreds of millions of dollars was Simon Stevens – current head of NHS England.

According to his current LinkedIn Profile, Stevens was Chief Executive Officer, UnitedHealthcare Medicare between 2006 – 2009

His CV goes on to say:

America’s leading seniors health company, with $30 billion revenues and serving one-in-five Medicare beneficiaries nationwide in partnership with AARP – the world’s largest voluntary organization. Launched the largest Medicare Part D benefits plan, also managing the largest Medicare-focused PBM.

Here’s a screenshot from LinkedIn: 

 

Conflict of Interests

So if Simon Stevens knew about the multimillion dollar fraud cases that took place on his watch – did he  declare or disclose any of this to Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, or to NHS England?

It is now in the public interest for all correspondence between Simon Stevens, NHS England and Jeremy Hunt prior to his 2014 appointment to be made public.

Corporate Takeover

Stevens advised the Department of Health and Blair throughout the period when the NHS was using PFI to build hospitals. So he basically aided and abetted the bankruptcy of the NHS and now looks to be finishing off the job.

Election Issue

This ought to be an election issue. I hope Shadow Health secretary John Ashworth raises this conflict of interests during the campaign.

Can such an individual be trusted to look after the NHS?

Is recent UK Care Home Fraud case similar to multimillion dollar USA fraud perpetrated by Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England?

 

The following story about overcharging at private care homes appeared on page 2 of yesterday’s Daily Mail:

This story has many similarities to  the US Department of Justice’s investigation into US Health Insurer United Health’s pilfering of the American public purse in its Medicaid programme.

The man who ran the Medicaid programme when UnitedHealth allegedly overcharged the American taxpayer by multimillion dollar was Simon Stevens – current head of NHS England.

According to his LinkedIn Profile, Stevens was :

 

Chief Executive Officer, UnitedHealthcare Medicare

Dates Employed2006 – 2009

Employment Duration: 3 yrs

Location: USA

America’s leading seniors health company, with $30 billion revenues and serving one-in-five Medicare beneficiaries nationwide in partnership with AARP – the world’s largest voluntary organization. Launched the largest Medicare Part D benefits plan, also managing the largest Medicare-focused PBM.

If Simon Stevens knew about the fraud case – did he declare it?

And can he be trusted to look after the NHS?

Ex-EU Boss José Manuel Barroso to speak at FT Business of Luxury Conference in Lisbon

Next month former President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso will speak at a Financial Times conference on the Business of Luxury in Lisbon (see bottom of image below).


Barroso’s Lisbon speech will be in stark contrast to his role as Chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children, designed to help underprivileged kids around the world.

The May speaking engagement is much more in line with his role as Chairman of another organisation — the mega-powerful US Investment Bank for the Ultra Ultra High Net Worth: Goldman Sachs  aka Government Sachs aka the Vampire Squid.

Goldman was first labelled the Vampire Squid, due to their parasitic nature, in this 2010 Matt Taibbi article for Rolling Stone Magazine:

The conflict of interests have not gone unnoticed:

Barroso was severely criticised for joining a bank that had so mercilessly profited  from destabilising the Euro, particularly through its dealings with Greece,  only 20 months after leaving the top job in European politics..

Revolving Door

Tony Blair received some stick for working for JP Morgan after leaving office.

Ex-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder , who works for Rothschild, was once referred to as a “political prostitute” by US Democrat Congressman Tom Lantos for objecting to the Iraq War but then  taking money off Vladimir Putin.

Euro architect and former ECB Chief Economist Otmar Issing moved to Goldman Sachs in 2006, just months after leaving the ECB.

And Mario Draghi, current head of the European Central Bank was at Goldman while they were making mega profits out of hiding Greece’s debt from the Greek public and from the ECB itself.

Barroso himself argued that as the  minimum 18 months cooling off period had passed he should be allowed to join Goldman.

If times get tough, then maybe the Obamas will head for Wall Street or the British Virgin Islands too.

Meanwhile here’s Barroso  talking about a multi-speed Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

YouTube crack down on Extremist Videos as Facebook try to deal with Fake News

 

All data is credit data

I tried to engage my 16 year old students’ interest with talk of LinkedIn and job hunting.

I then bored them to death saying that Facebook is basically a Credit Rating Agency

I mentioned that all data is credit data. I got this from Douglas Merrill:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit means, er, Brexit

So we’re losing EU membership rights, destroying the NHS, increasing immigration and getting rid of financial services — and breaking up the UK via another Scottish independence referendum.

Vicious Remainers and Snooping Governments

What do these two stories have in common?

Looks like George Osborne, Jolyon Maugham, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg and Alistair Campbell are all on the same deregulation and war side.

Meanwhile former Remain flag-waver Amber Rudd wants more snooping powers:

 

 

 

Trump Era White Collar Crime: Who’s Chasing Who?

What is going on with Wall Street White Collar Crime in the Trump era?

Hedge Fund Managers Never Die

Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote an excellent article in The New Yorker this January.

Her book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, is all about the way the US New York District Attorney tried to bring down Hedge Fund Manager Steve Cohen.

This from CSPAN yesterday:

You’re Fired!

It turns out that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who attempted to jail Steve Cohen,  has since been fired by Donald Trump.

Reaction

Bharara’s own performance as a prosecutor has prompted mixed reactions.

From praise:

To mixed:

And outright hostile:

 

This hedge fund ethics and compliance executive was also jailed by Bharara.

 

 

Reading List

For more on Preet Bharara in the New Yorker:

TV Show

The TV Show Billions is loosely based on the Hedge Fund Insider Trading Battles that creator Andrew Ross Sorkin has covered while working as a New York Times journalist, CNBC Squawk Box host and successful author.

 

This is how the show’s creators responded to Bharara’s sacking:

So what do you think is really going on?

Is Mr Trump really ‘draining the swamp’ — or just feeding the crocodiles?