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An American hacker fugitive accused of hacking into JPMorgan Chase in the "largest theft of customer data" from an American bank was arrested on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
At this time last year, Joshua Samuel Aaron was believed to be hiding in Moscow -- the last remaining member of a three-person team of criminal hackers who had evaded arrest.
On Wednesday, federal agents arrested him at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.
A spokesman with the DOJ said Aaron was arrested after his flight landed at the airport. Officials would not say whether Aaron was caught abroad and then brought here by law enforcement.
The FBI referred questions about how Aaron was caught to the Russian government.
Aaron's attorney, Ben Brafman, told CNNMoney, "He returned voluntarily to responsibly address the charges."
FBI and Secret Service agents believe that Aaron, 32, was on a team of hackers behind a vast $100 million fraud operation in 2014.
The other two were Israeli citizens: Gery Shalon, thought to be the mastermind, and his associate, Ziv Orenstein. They were arrested by Israeli police in 2015, and American prosecutors at the time were trying to extradite them to the United States.
The trio committed "the largest theft of customer data from a U.S. financial institution in history," according to the prosecutors.
The cyberattack on JPMorgan allowed hackers to grab contact information for 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. That included names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, as well as what the bank called "internal JPMorgan Chase information relating to such users."
According to the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the bank hacks were done to abet their "securities market manipulation schemes."
The statement cited Aaron's role in "orchestrating a massive computer hack into U.S. financial institutions, brokerage firms, and financial news publishers and for his role in a multimillion-dollar stock manipulation scheme."
Once the campaign succeeded in raising a stock's price and trading volume, Aaron and other members of the conspiracy would sell their shares resulting in huge profits, the FBI said.
Several media outlets mistakenly reported rumors that the bank came under attack by Russia. However, federal prosecutors last year made clear the attack was perpetrated by three criminal hackers -- not elite Russian government spies.
Korea Inc is moving in slow-motion, mired by the country's political crisis, with a vacuum in planning and decision making as corporate giants such as Samsung and Lotte delay traditional year-end management reshuffles, company insiders say.
Last week, the heads of nine of the biggest conglomerates, or chaebol, were subjected to an unprecedented 13-hour grilling by a parliamentary panel investigating the scandal that led to Friday's vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye.
While no executives have been charged with wrongdoing, many have been questioned by investigators and the offices of the Samsung, Lotte and SK groups were raided.
"With no hint on when top management changes will be announced, what we are seeing right now is a chain reaction that slows down lots of things," said an executive at a key Samsung Group unit that makes electronics components, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.
Between them, the nine groups have revenue of 910.5 trillion won ($780 billion), equivalent to more than half of South Korea's GDP.
Executive promotions, an annual ritual at the big family-controlled conglomerates that dominate South Korea's economy, typically set the stage for new initiatives in the coming year, with decision-making tailing off in the weeks beforehand.
With that period of uncertainty stretching on longer than usual, an employee at a Samsung affiliate said staff had been occupying themselves reading news reports and surfing the corporate intranet.
"There is a definite slowdown in day-to-day work as well, because companies are holding off on concrete expansionary plans or changes," said the person, who declined to be named.
The scandal has also sown uncertainty about government policies and the economy, coming at an inopportune time for companies such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hyundai Motor Co, which are looking to reverse sliding market share in core businesses.
Hyundai, which is bracing for its fourth consecutive year of annual profit decline, said it was also undecided on whether it would announce personnel changes in late December as usual.
"The mood is not great and our chairman had a very tough time at the parliamentary hearing," said a Hyundai Motor Group executive who declined to be named. "It would be fortunate if I don't get sacked in these difficult times."
WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT?
Park has been accused of colluding with long-time friend Choi Soon-sil and an aide to pressure big businesses to contribute tens of millions of dollars to two foundations set up to back presidential initiatives.
Samsung Electronics, part of the conglomerate that donated 20.4 billion won ($17.5 million) to the two foundations - the most of any group - has seen delays in setting next year's sales targets, a company source said, declining to elaborate.
The company has also yet to announce its yearly management reshuffle. Samsung traditionally announces executive changes in early December, with some investors expecting a major shake-up after it was forced to discontinue its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.
It declined to give a timeframe, or to comment on when it would announce annual personnel moves.
"There's a lot of anxiety," said an employee at Samsung Electronics' chip division, who said employees were huddling over lunch to discuss rumors of changes that would normally have been completed by now.
"I am curious to know whether my current boss will stay, or I will be moving to another team or not."
A Lotte Group spokesman said its annual reshuffle, which usually takes place in late December, was likely to be delayed to next year because of "various situations".
"Our group companies are having more difficulty in setting up business plans than usual," the spokesman said.
"HOLD TIGHT, LOOK BUSY"
Friday's impeachment vote means the country's Constitutional Court has up to 180 days to uphold or overturn it, setting the stage for Park to be the country's first democratically elected leader to be ejected from office.
Ratings agency Moody's said on Monday that the impeachment increased the likelihood that no new policy changes would be implemented until a permanent replacement was in office, which would weigh on the economy as hiring and investment decisions are put off.
"The biggest fallout we can expect from this issue, economy-wise, is companies hesitating to invest," a Bank of Korea official told Reuters, declining to be named.
Samsung, which usually announces its annual investment plan around late January, told Reuters in a statement that it was "currently in the process of making comprehensive plans for next year."
In 2016, it earmarked a record 27 trillion won ($23 billion) of capital spending.
South Korea' finance ministry said last week it was concerned that "domestic issues" may put more pressure on an economy that is grappling with record household debt and weak exports, as well as global uncertainties.
The Federation of Korean Industries, which represents big conglomerates, typically announces annual investment plans by the 30 biggest business groups in March, but an official there said it was not clear whether it would be able to keep to that schedule.
"The current crisis is similar to or worse than that of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis," he said, also declining to be identified. "We are at a standstill."
That has left employees "holding tight and trying to keep busy" said an official at another Samsung Electronics affiliate.
"Many executives eligible for promotion or other reshuffle prefer to stay low profile ... you don't want to get unnecessary attention," he said....
Canada’s Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX, NYSE:TRQ), which is 51% owned by Rio Tinto and holds two-thirds of the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia, said Wednesday it had resumed concentrate shipments from the operation to China.
The Vancouver-based miner said that after two weeks of talks with Mongolian and Chinese authorities, Oyu Tolgoi has been allowed to restart shipping ore across the border, but it will follow a new joint coal and concentrate crossing route at the border between the two nations.
Production at the mine, expected to reach 560,000 tonnes of copper per year once at full tilt, was unaffected during suspension, Turquoise Hill said.
Rio Tinto approved in May a $5.3 billion expansion of Oyu Tolgoi, one of the world's largest copper mines and a key component of the company’s master plan to become less dependent on iron ore for profits and become one of the world’s biggest copper producers.
The planned expansion, with its nearly 200 km (125 miles) of underground tunnels that will track three times as deep as the Empire State Building is tall, will more than double the copper output from Oyu Tolgoi, which is mostly sent south to China, the world’s main metals consumer.
It is also expected to help Rio and Turquoise Hill get to the most valuable part of the deposit, which also contains gold and silver, and where there has been a open pit mine running since 2013.
First production from the extended underground area is expected by 2020, when a shortage of copper is tipped to emerge. Full ramp up is slated for 2027.
Japan, Hitachi to stump up $8.5 billion for Horizon nuclear project in Wales: source www.reuters.com
Yahoo has announced that hackers stole data from more than one billion user accounts.
This follows the IT giant's disclosure in September that hackers had penetrated more than 500 million accounts. The combined number makes the thefts one of the biggest data leaks from a company ever.
Yahoo officials said on Wednesday that the latest attack took place in August 2013. Hackers stole names, birthdates, email addresses and telephone numbers of users.
They say passwords and credit card numbers weren't affected because they are stored on a different system.
Yahoo didn't specify the countries targeted, but said the company will contact affected users promptly to advise them to change their passwords.
Analysts expect that the incident may affect Yahoo's business restructuring. In July, it agreed to sell its Internet and other main operations to US telecom company Verizon for about 4.8 billion dollars.
But after the announcement of the first incident, Verizon hinted it would review the buyout price.
TOKYO -- The international financial community's confidence in the Mongolian government's capability in delivering reforms and debt services seems to be ameliorating after a long slump. That was an impression left by an investment-promotion conference held in Tokyo last week, attended by representatives of foreign lenders and investors as well as officials at the country's central bank and legislature.
The timing of the conference, hosted by Frontier Securities, a Japanese-run Ulaanbaatar-based investment bank, seemed to be as bad as it could be.
The country's sovereign debt rating had been downgraded from "B3" to "Caa1" by Moody's in mid-November, with less than four months before the mid-March maturity of a $580 million bond issued by state-run Development Bank of Mongolia. There is no hope that the bank itself will manage to secure funds to repay the bond, given its poor management. The former chief executive of the bank was arrested in October for arbitrary use of funds raised from the bond issuance.
The country's fiscal deficit has exploded to reach 20% of gross domestic product this year. The 2016 GDP is projected to show no growth at around $12 billion, if not a contraction. Mongolia's total external debt is estimated at as much as $23.5 billion, of which the government debt accounts for about $8.4 billion. Analysts say the government needs to repay $1.7 billion-$1.8 billion over the next two years.
In such a situation, to meet the March deadline for the Development Bank's $580 million bond, many believe that the government will need to agree the IMF's loan terms by early February at the latest.
Graeme Knowd, a managing director at Moody's Japan, was straightforward on that issue at the conference. "There seems to be a large gap in the growth forecasts between the Mongolian government's and the IMF's, and we think it will take some time for them to agree on a consensus somewhere in the middle."
On the other hand, Knowd also made a remark that seemed to contradict his own institution's decision to downgrade the country's debt, which led to worries about a default. "What we are seeing is not an insolvency issue but a liquidity issue. We are quite confident that repayment will be made. We are just not certain that it will be made on time in March," he said.
Following Knowd's comment, Neil Saker, IMF's resident representative in Ulaanbaatar, even sounded optimistic. "Regarding the liquidity issue, I am hopeful. We don't really see any big difference [between IMF and the Mongolian government] on the policy framework," Saker said, which many saw as implication that the IMF's talks with the Mongolian government are advancing smoothly. He revealed that the IMF is encouraging other international institutions and countries to join in the rescue initiative as well.
Some conference participants said they expected holders of the Development Bank's $580 million would be willing to roll over the debt because the coupon rate will be in double digits. Such a rate would be attractive enough considering that fundamentals internally and externally, including resource commodity prices, mining project progress and macro-economic policies, are starting to ameliorate. "Not many countries have very high interest rates and a bright future at the same time like Mongolia," one of those participants said.
On the sidelines of the conference, an official of the country's central bank, the Bank of Mongolia, was reassuring to both the IMF and Moody's representatives, repeating the line that "the government will repay on schedule for sure."
The central banker also told the Nikkei Asian Review that the bank is determined to maintain the current level of tight monetary policy to maintain the value of the Mongolian currency, the tugrik, for at least a couple of years despite political pressures against it. Saker had told the conference a sustained tight monetary policy is a prerequisite for a new IMF loan.
In recent years, a sharp decline in resource commodity prices led to a sharp drop in government revenues from the mining sector and to a deterioration of the balance of payments. In the June 29 general election, the then-ruling Democratic Party was removed from power and an overwhelming majority voted in the Mongolian People's Party. The new parliament named Erdenebat Jargaltulga, former finance minister, as the new prime minister.
The new government started drafting a policy package involving a fiscal restructure and structural reforms immediately after the inauguration in early July and started talks with the IMF. It proceeded in late September to officially request for an IMF bailout.
Almost all the speakers pointed to a rapid rebound in the prices of coals and copper, both crucial exports for Mongolia. "The economic gods are starting to smile for Mongolia," Nicholas Edwards, a veteran American investor, said. He pointed out that, thanks to the recent price increase, Mongolian coal mines are starting to make money He also noted that copper has been the best performing metal for the past six weeks in the international market.
Of course, every participant agreed that continuous fiscal reforms and economic restructuring are absolute "musts" for the Mongolian government in order to attract a substantial amount of foreign direct investments again.
IMF's Saker warned that the government and politicians should refrain from expanding government expenditure even if the commodity market recovers substantially. "Rather than increasing expenditure when commodity prices go up, which was the story over the last 10 years, [Mongolians] should save those windfalls into sovereign wealth funds and other effective instruments," he said....