Financial Daily Dose 6.14.2021 | Top Story: Whistleblowers Allege Private Equity Games U.S. Tax System

June 14, 2021

The Times digs into what it’s calling private equity’s “conquer[ing of] the American tax system”—where “slight-of-hand tax-avoidance strategies” are so “aggressive” and pervasive that “at least three private equity officials have alerted the Internal Revenue Service to potentially illegal tactics.” The IRS’s response? Largely “nonexistent,” at least in recent years - NYTimes

Last week’s surprising news that the FBI managed to recoup a huge chunk of the bitcoin ransom that Colonial Pipeline paid to DarkSide has many thinking about the interplay between cryptos and encryption and the battle between the law enforcement officials and cybercriminals both trying to use them to their advantage - NYTimes

Meanwhile, the breach game continues, with McDonald’s disclosing that its operations in South Korea and Taiwan suffered an attack that led to the “unauthorized access to customers’ personal information.” The burger giant said it experienced “no interruption to business operations” – Law360

For small business owners, the threat of Amazon isn’t just about the sale—it’s the near-instant delivery that can be the real wrench in the system. Put another way, “even merchants who don’t sell on Amazon are racing to ship products as fast as they can, either eating the extra cost or raising prices and watching their sales decline—while simultaneously coping with supply-chain bottlenecks” - WSJ and Bloomberg

Now that gag orders have expired, we’re learning much more about the DOJ’s subpoenas to tech companies like Apple and Microsoft for user information about political opponents of the last administration that was ostensibly part of a “wide-ranging investigation . . . into leaks of classified information.” Here’s how Big Tech handled the requests that put them “in an uncomfortable position between law enforcement, the courts and the customers whose privacy they have promised to protect” - NYTimes and WSJ

Thoughts on what a global minimum tax could mean for Ireland, whose Celtic Tiger status (and role as EU outpost for many of America’s top tech and pharma companies) owes much to its relatively cut-rate corporate tax rate of just 12.5% - WSJ

Ambitious is the name of the game for the Gensler-led SEC, with plans for “new rules on board diversity and climate change disclosures” coming as early as this fall, with SPAC-focused regulation in line for spring 2022 – Law360

On the international board diversity front, Germany’s parliament has advanced a new measure that “would set a quota for women on management boards” and  levy financial penalties on companies who failed to meet that mark. The proposal builds on a “2015 law requiring some of Europe’s largest companies to give 30 percent of supervisory seats to women” - NYTimes and WSJ

Lumber may have finally hit a wall, with futures posting “their biggest-ever weekly loss” as sawmills “appear to be catching up with the rampant homebuilding demand in North American that fueled a months-long rally, bringing some relief to a market beset by supply shortages and price surges” - Bloomberg

Getting to know Christopher James, the hedge-fund manager and “improbable activist for change” at Exxon Mobile (as a former coal mine owner himself) who recently took on the energy giant and won, seating three of his hand-picked candidates on Exxon’s board - WSJ

Filing this under “on brand”—attendees of Bitcoin 2021, the crypto conference in Miami and “one of the biggest events to take place in the U.S. since the pandemic began,” are calling the event a superspreader event - Bloomberg

On the pandemic-in-the-rearview, youth centric movement that seems to be taking over NYC after a year of fear and isolation. Might it be “more than just a three-month bacchanal” and instead “the start of a social, entrepreneurial and creative rebirth” in the City? - NYTimes

Stay safe and get vaxxed,
MDR