Enormous Chinese Ponzi Scheme!

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A criminal investigation by Chinese officials has found that the online company, Ezubao, once a dynamo of the financial industry, offered mostly fake investment products to its nearly one million investors. This has highlighted the urgent need for tougher supervision of online financing system in the world’s second largest economy. Questions: 1. What interest rate… Read more »

The New Surge in Corporate Migrants: Is there an End?

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The federal government gave Johnson Controls a bailout in 2008 to avoid certain bankruptcy, along with its customers, the large automakers – General Motors and Chrysler. This week, Johnson Controls renounced its United States corporate citizenship by selling itself to Tyco International, based in Ireland. This deal was struck, in large part, to reduce an… Read more »

Secret Buyers of Real Estate Targeted

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In an unprecedented move, the Treasury Department will begin identifying and tracking cash sales of real estate in an effort to expose money laundering and secret buyers of high-end properties. Questions: 1.At which locations will the new initiative begin? 2. Is the use of shell companies legal in real estate? 3. How will the real… Read more »

Will it Work?

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Norovirus, salmonella, and E. Coli outbreaks during 2015 at fresh food restaurants run by Chipotle have cost a huge loss of business. However, in mid-February, the chain plans a strategic marketing campaign aimed at trying to bring these customers back. Questions: 1. By how much did comparable restaurant sales fall in the fourth quarter of… Read more »

Weird Thought Experiment

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As Powerball mania and the promise of $1.6 Billion swept the airways, Andy Kiersz came up with his own idea on how to win. Unfortunately, it would require 189,000 people filling out all the possible Powerball combinations on those annoying scantrons, working 10 hours a day at a rate of 50 tickets per hour. Questions:… Read more »

The Age of the Employee-less Company

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During most of the 20th century, companies bringing in the most money also employed the most people. This article looks at a new paper from the Brookings Institute about the new age of ghost companies. Questions: 1. The article mentions Walnart as one of the five largest companies in 2012 that had 100,000 people employed… Read more »

Be sure to remember your server!

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According to the Washington Post, after a change in tax rules last year, the auto-gratuity added to the bill of large parties at restaurants is on its way out. Questions: 1. What is the new rule that the Internal Revenue Service imposed on restaurants that led to this change? 2. How does this change lead… Read more »

Arbitration Lurks in the Fine Print

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In this article, the New York Times found that arbitration rules tend to favor businesses, and judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies to be their clients. According to the authors, this has created an alternative justice system with conflicts of interest. Questions: 1. What types of claims are… Read more »

Paranoia or Internal Control?

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Red Star Operating System is North Korea’s homegrown computer operating system that mirrors its political one. The latest version (circa 2013) is based on a version of Linux called Fedora and has the feel of Apple’s OSX. Questions: 1. What are the two major challenges the article said that Pyongyang faces? From an international business… Read more »

Whistleblower in an Unusual Case

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According to Newsweek, David Danon, a former Vanguard tax lawyer, became a whistleblower two years ago when he filed formal complaints with the Internal Revenue Service and many state taxing agencies claiming that Vanguard’s low fees are an illegal tax dodge. Questions: 1. According to a 2006 law, how much could Danon stand to collect… Read more »