Monday, December 31, 2018

The Last Post Of 2018 ... Coming Soon, The Taxi Trade's Winter Of Discontent.


As we approach the New Year, it has become obvious the Mayors transport strategy for Central London will see our trade relegated from being the best Taxi service in the world. We are now moving at incredible speed, closer to the Project Horizon goal of a trade half the size (cut down to 13,000) integrated into a one-tier system with Private Hire.

I  remember, many years ago, the Metropolitan Public Carriage Office, writing to every licensed Taxi driver saying "their must be no, 'no go areas' in London for Taxis". 

"You will be expected to go to any destination, anywhere within a six mile radius (now extended to twelve) or within one hour in duration and their must be no exceptions". 

Yet these past two years we've been afforded no protection from the mob wreaking havoc around the Lisson Grove area, which is fast becoming a 'no-go area'. 

Mayor Khan is bent on our destruction after four centuries of our iconic Taxi trade, as he sanctions the creation of more 'no go areas'.

We've had 9 years of protest, demonstration...consultation after consultation, engagement and negotiation and yet our representatives have learn nothing. Our largest org alleged to be too friendly with the commissioner (on-side Mike), recently referred to protesting drivers as loonies.

This year, after six demonstrations, two bouts of negotiations, followed by an extended period of waiting and seeing, we lost access to the Bank Junction. 
The system was financed by TfL in order to speed up bus times. But on closer inspection, once through the junction the busses hit more of Khans chaos which negates any advantage made by the ban.

This is soon to be followed by a traffic ban along a new two way Tottenham Court Road leaving just busses and cycles, with access to Oxford Street/Baker Street in consultation and eTaxi only bus lanes still to come.

Caught up in the middle of these attack on our trade, are the unfortunates, the disabled and less mobile members of the public. Mayor Khan is stealing freedom of movement from the disabled to shop wherever they like, in order to give-away and make more room for able bodied shoppers who he hopes will be traveling back-and-forth with Crossrail's new Elizabeth line (when it's eventually finished, but that's another past the buck scandal). 

Amazingly, we've had virtually no help from disabled group lobbyists (probably worried about losing their funding should they go against TfL) and the wheelchair users -past and present- on the board of TfL have said nothing in defence of the disabled's right of access and the freedom to shop on Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and Baker Street.

There is (as always), a hidden agenda...'Project Horizon', plus Khan obviously feels he can usurp many extra passengers onto the new line by making it as difficult as possible for taxis to get to popular destinations around the capital.

PROJECT HORIZON:
Taxi Leaks has been speaking of Project Horizon for several years now after it was discovered by accident published on the Internet (now removed) and TfL have always denied it ever existed.

We predicted back in 2009, that under this agenda, there would be no-go Taxi areas, followed by Private Hire rest ranks where drivers would be allowed to rank and wait to be hired. On top of this, we now predict that PH WAVs will soon be allowed to rank at major venues and mainline stations.
 
With no current regulation on Taxi apps, it seems we could be sharing virtual ranks with on demand private hire, sooner rather than later. 
(This could change though as Chris Johnson has now reached his total to take his case against the apps forward)

WE ALWAYS SAID TFL WERE NO MORE THAN A BUNCH OF COWBOYS:
With Country Boy Rett Russell (Garrett Emerson) in charge of London's Ambulance service, it's only a matter of time before we see Uber on-demand immediate hire ranks at hospitals around Greater London. 

We are supposed to learn from past history, but it seems our trade representatives have learned nothing.

After years of negativity and deterioration, fighting the unfair and elitist United Trade Group (UTG), did we not all cheer when Val Shawcross announced the group itself would be scrapped and the gagging order known as the engagement policy would be assigned to the shredder. 

But then, the old United Trade Group was replaced by the new United Trade Group. Another lesson not learned.

To further the progression of Project Horizon, TfL has placed the trade in the predicament of struggling to afford new replacement vehicles, by authorising just the one highly expensive vehicle and giving our work to a non-domicile company which pays little to no tax here in the UK. 
We have also recently learned from the Mayor's statement at City Hall, that the subsidy on new Taxis will only be available for the next 250 vehicles off the production line, many of which are already on order to larger garages.


The Worm Is Finally Turning....Its Time To Put Up The Fight Of Your Lives...If The Trade Is To Survive.
 
The trade's rank and file drivers will be disregarding weak leadership and fighting back on a scale never before seen on our streets. If the trade orgs leaders won't support the coming actions, they will be deemed part of the problem and dealt with accordingly. 

No longer lions led by sheep...
The Independent Taxi Alliance (ITA)
Coming later this month, no more waiting and seeing.


Keep an eye on social media for updates later this month. 

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
As we say farewell to 2018, we were greeted with the insulting news of an OBE for the man, under who's watch we saw 
• The licensing and expansion of an illegally operating on demand car service app, decimating the livelihood of many Taxi and private hire drivers. (Question: why was the Deloitte's report silenced???  Why wasn't the meter verdict challenged when it became apparent that Bertram had lied under oath??? In the Uber licensing appeal, why did TfL only appear as an interested party??? ) 
• The standard of passenger safety on buses went through the floor, with KSI stats from Bus collisions going through the roof. (17 serious injuries from collision per day in the first quarter of 2018) 
• London's roads ground to a halt... in gridlock caused by incredibly bad planning and a complete lack of understanding in the capitals traffic needs. TfL commissioner went on recorded saying the segregated cycle lanes were rolled out to quickly without adequate planning!

Leon Daniels is to be awarded an OBE for his services to London's Transport....He's better known to our trade as 'Leon the Liar' after allegedly misleading the GLA transport committee twice with lies that supported the ongoing licensing of the Uber platform. 
Lie 1. 'Uber drivers have special on off insurance'... completely unsupported by the Association of British Insurers.
Lie 2. 'I have with me the contact number for Uber passenger help line'. The number he gave the GLA was in fact Jo Bertram's personally ex-directory number. 
TfL then changed the licensing requirements to make a passenger contact landline unnecessary. 

Leaving TfL facing a £1bn budget deficit, Leon was awarded a £500,000 bonus for having his employment 'terminated'. 

    

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Money Talks... But It Doesn’t Necessarily Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth.

       Rachel's mum Linda Whetstone

We have had active bodies prostituting themselves, such as the IEA, which at that time was chaired by Linda Whetstone, mother of Rachel, one time Uber executive. They made a video, staring young women, calling for even more deregulation, and consciously telling other young females to use Uber, even though they were totally aware of the statistics tegarding Uber driver rape and sexual assault. 

They shamed themselves and betrayed their sisters for money.

And now it’s all going Pete Tong again for the IEA, as members start leaving over new revelations. 

Is the train ride running out of gravy?


If it's irrelevant, why is it such a big secret?

Recent reports by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)have been pushing back a crackdown on tax havens funded by Jersey-based banks. (Source Unearthed)

The IEA used the report to try to persuade a cabinet minister not to increase regulations on Jersey and Guernsey offshore financial centres, according to its director general Mark Littlewood.

Jersey Finance, which represents the island’s banking sector and is part-funded by the States of Jersey Government, funded a June 2018 report called "Offshore Bet: The benefits of capital mobility", that argued against increased regulation of offshore financial centres.

The IEA’s director general Mark Littlewood handed a copy of the ‘Offshore Bet’ report to an Unearthed undercover reporter during a meeting at the IEA’s offices last month and described how the report has been disseminated by the IEA:

"So we’re not lobbyists...we will tend to frame the argument and then say you know, so here is our paper on X and then we promulgate that argument endlessly and repetitively.

I think I’ve given you the paper on offshore tax havens that, will then frame every debate and discussion we go to, about why we shouldn’t be shutting down Jersey and Guernsey as offshore centres, how valuable they provides the ammunition."

"Some of it went straight to cabinet minister, if you can sit down with a cabinet minister and persuade him over the table to change policy immediately hoorah...but a lot of it is longer term informing Ads, getting it in the media you know, big article in the Daily Telegraph saying why don’t we do X."

Jersey Finance has been open about its support for the ‘Offshore Bet’ report. The IEA does not reveal its sources of funding as a matter of policy.

Molly Scott Cato, a Green Party MEP, told has publicly said: "It’s shocking that the IEA was given money to produce a report arguing in favour of tax havens by banks headquartered in tax havens. Such reports are cited in support of low-tax policies by many who fail to understand their true source."

Friday, December 28, 2018

Scandalous Behaviour From London's 9-5 Police Force As Taxi Driver Muggins Continue


Apparently there is a grey Vito which often parks up in the drop off at kings cross station which allegedly has undercover police inside watching and nicking cab drivers using phones whilst on the station rank.

We've had cabbies both male and female violently mugged, yet when they called for police assistance, they were told “sorry no units in the area available". 

In the early hours of Christmas Eve, Cabby Linda Morris fell victim to the Lisson Grove Mob. 
She picked up a loan passenger by Dorset Square who directed her to the Lisson Grove area where four more of the gang jumped into the cab. Fearing for her safety, she drove to the flower station on the corner of Rossmore and Park Road where she sounded her horn and flashed her lights. 
Another Taxi pulled up to assist and the mob ran off in the direction of the estate. But they had badly damaged the interior and had pulled down her credit card reader from its mount.....yet when she called the police, she was told there was "no units available" to help her. 

A few weeks earlier, we had a terrifying acid attack on a driver sitting on the rank at Marylebone station.
But when he called 999 for help, he was told “sorry, no one available in the area to assist”. 
He was advised to report the incident to the local police 'SHOP', between the hours of 9am-5pm....what ever happened to the 24 hour police force?

For over two years, drivers have had to be vigilant around the Lisson Grove area. Arrests have been made but the suspects released without charge and back out on the street within hours.

All around London we see gangs of young men stabbing each other to death, children at risk from pedophiles, drugs openly sold on street corners, grooming gangs using drugs on young females and selling them into a life of prostitution... and yet the police, in their infinite wisdom, would rather mount surveillance operations to nick cabbies sitting in a queue on a Taxi rank, not even driving.

This is scandalous and should be addressed by our orgs which appear to be in a dream world of waiting and seeing rather than doing. 

Perhaps it’s time to rethink the value of actually paying subs to what appear to be benign representative organisations.

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Time Has Come For Taxi Drivers To Take Back Control Of Their Own Future.

FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR FUTURE, PLEASE READ THIS

Good morning everyone. 

This is probably the last chance we have here at Taxi Leaks, to promote what we feel is your chance to safeguard your own future. 

We apologise for bleating on about the Chris Johnson Employment tribunal, but this case has far reaching consequences for our trade’s future.

We are greatly disappointed that the orgs/associations have decided not to official support this case.

It shows the alleged depth of involvement that some of our trade representatives have with the things that are eroding our industry.

If you are happy to work the corporate apps, ask yourself...will you also be happy to be removed from the app for refusing to cover a job or refusing to do fixes prices, or possibly for not doing enough hours on their platforms?

This is why Chris Johnson’s case is SO important.

Whether you use the apps or not, it will still affect everyone of us, and that is a fact.

We’ve put information on Taxi Leaks multiple times regarding Chris’s "crowdfunding" page with the link to contribute... but we still need your help to see this through. 

As we are not representative (just informative) we do not carry the same traction in terms of respectability or recognition, particularly from people within the platforms we normally post to...but it doesn’t stop us from asking for your to support.

We’ve seen the new wave of apps coming forward which aim to combine Taxi and Private Hire into a one tier service, is this the future you really want?

Remember it will affect you whether you see it as your responsibility or not...Chris Johnson is highlighting this on all of our behalf’s.

Chris is £1615.00 short with 5 days to go, please help get this over the line if you can.

Please don’t leave it thinking someone else will do it because that is where the trade trips up again and again.

You have just 4 days left over this festive period to protect and safeguard your future. 

WE HAVE POSTED THE LINK FOR THE CROWDFUNDING PAGE AGAIN BELOW:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mytaxi/

THANK YOU ALL AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Taxi driver who helped save man threatening to jump from bridge says 'if I'd not stopped I would have never forgiven myself'

One of the 'unsung heroes' who was praised by police for stopping a man jumping off a bridge in Bolton has spoken out.

A taxi driver who stopped a man from throwing himself off a bridge said he would have 'never forgiven himself' if he hadn't pulled over to help.

AJ Singh, 25, was driving along the A666 in Bolton when he noticed a man standing on the wrong side of the railings.

AJ, who was driving home after dropping a customer off, pulled off the dual carriageway and talked with the man for around an hour.

The young taxi driver said other members of the public stopped to help too, and eventually coaxed the man back to safety.

AJ, from Altrincham, said: "I was just about to join the motorway when I noticed a man on the wrong side of the bridge.

"I put my hazard lights on and went over to him. My main worry was that he was going to fall off the bridge and into the path of an oncoming car.

"While I was speaking to him some other members of the public came over and they rang the police.

"I just kept talking to him. It's a shame it had got to that stage. I felt like the system had let him down.

"He was obviously in a really dark place, and it was scary to see somebody in that position.

"I just thought this man is somebody's loved one. I felt that could relate to him. I have family and friends who have had mental health problems. If I hadn't pulled over, I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself.

"At one stage I thought he was going to jump but eventually we managed to get him to come back and we pulled him over the barrier."

Taxi driver AJ Singh was part of a group of 'unsung heroes' who helped stop a man from throwing himself off a bridge in Bolton.

Police in Bolton praised AJ and the rest of the group for their actions on Thursday.

The man, believed to be in his 30s, was taken to hospital to be assessed by mental health workers.

Police praised the group for their brave actions

In a message posted on the GMP Bolton page, officers said: "A massive thank you to those unsung heroes who helped to save the young man.

"Hopefully he will get the help he needs."

Source : Manchester Evening News

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : Don't Suffer Alone.

As we enter what for many is a happy time of year, we shouldn't forget that not everyone will be feeling that way. 

Many, who perhaps have recently lost a partner or other pertinent reason, may look at this period as a lonely and sad time. 

So it's worth knowing that if you text 
Samaritans (116123) when you're feeling depressed, angry or even suicidal, a crisis worker will text you back after a few minutes and will continue to text with you.

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information. http://www.depressionalliance.org/

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying. http://studentsagainstdepression.org/

The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029) helps people who are struggling to cope - experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis. You can call them between 8pm and 6am every night.operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org .

Friday, December 21, 2018

TfL Release Latest Taxi And Private Hire Journey Related Sexual Offences.


TfL have today released the Taxi and Private hire journey-related sexual offences for the year 2017.

Rapes up from 30 to 34
Sexual assaults down from 135 to 128

     From the TfL website 

Unfortunately this year unlike last year, TfL have decided not to publish the easy to read brake down of figures, to show which operator these predators are working for. 
Fortunately a previous FOI request has shown that Uber were responsibly for a massive 72% of Private Hire journey sexual assaults.
We've been formed that the LCDC have written to TfL asking why the breakdown has been excluded from their webpage this year.

The last breakdown of driver type was published in 2016.
In 2016 over half the convictions for Rape and Sexual assault were committed by Uber drivers. Over 3,000 PH operators licensed in London by TfL and one operator was allegedly (going on TfLs own published statistics) responsible for more than half of all rapes and sexual assaults 

It is also worth noting that again there are:
'No reports/convictions of rape or sexual assault were recorded against Licensed Taxi drivers '...again in the lasted figures released today.


TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 
Comment from LCDC Chairman Grant Davis

Londoners were told that by using the UBER app, it was a safe way for females to travel as their journeys are tracked 

Today TFL figures show 72% of all sexual assault cases where the driver is actually charged works on the UBER platform 

NOT SAFE AT ALL 

This is appalling. It will be interesting to see if media outlets will pick it up?

Also, I doubt it’s not a coincidence that this bad news has been released last thing on a Friday just before Christmas !!!

Comment from Save Our Black Taxi FaceBook Group :
Also worth pointing out that offences that are committed outside of London... by London licensed private hire drivers... are investigated by the local police force for that area. 

These offences are NOT included in the figures. 

So how many more offences have been committed? 

More comment from Mattblacktaxi
So when the figures are published for the period starting in June, will it show the post "probation" figures for Uber?

These figures that TfL have published today do not seem to add up to the figures obtained by the GMBunion for the same period.

But again ZERO offences in black cabs

Thursday, December 20, 2018

FOI Shows Government Minister In Secret Meeting With Uber, Before Licence Appeal Was Heard.

     Tory MP Nas Ghani with David Cameron 

After the explosive FOI revelations in the Guardian by Ben Quinn, we now learn Transport minister Nus Ghani, also held secret talks with Uber AFTER it lost its TfL license and BEFORE it's appeal was even heard at Westminster Magistrates.


Minutes of the meeting show Uber tried to pan off the UPHD legal challenge as trivial efforts of a few disgruntled.
Sure didn't seem that way when we staged national strike in October. 

Uber also try to muddy the waters on self employment by suggesting worker status is not self employment - this was four months before its appeal was even heard at Westminster Magistrates and yet Uber is boasting to Nus Ghani that it's relationship with TfLTPH had been 'steadily improving since the (previous) summer'.  
We're quite sure it had been too!

Uber told the minister they were 'supportive of national minimum standards that can work within their business model'. 
Eh? I thought business was adapted to regulation...not the other way round?

Nus Ghani asked Uber to list their top issues for govt. 
They said:
Definition of plying for hire
Cross border hiring 
Price controls
Capping.

Uber told the minister (in their private meeting), that they were disappointed not to have been asked to participate in DfT Task & Finish group. 
Never mind that minicab drivers were not represented nor given access and the review was supposed to have been about their welfare.

At a time when Uber's license was under review and the company was in, what Mayor of London called... a quasi judicial process... why was minister secretly meeting with Uber and why were TfLTPH cozying up with them? 
Entire regulatory system from top to bottom is rigged against workers.
This reeks of corruption. END

Source : UPHD Twitter Feed.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
We've received word today from a source close to LTPH, that Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, has again slipped into town unannounced for further discussions with TfL and certain Transport Ministers relating to Uber's proposed app based on demand minibus service. 

I suppose our largest orgs thoughts of the day will be more schoolyard name calling and waiting and seeing. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Hold On ... Relax Everyone ..... We've Found TFL's And Sadiq's Missing £23 Million Pounds

White van man is being offered a reprieve from daily pollution charges of £12.50 under plans to improve air quality with a vehicle scrappage scheme.

Small businesses employing fewer than ten people will be able to apply for a grant to help them to switch from a diesel van with high emissions to one of the cleanest new models.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, announced the £23 million scrappage scheme after being accused of threatening the viability of small businesses under plans to introduce an ultra-low emission zone in central London on April 8 next year.

Pre-2016 diesel vans and cars that do not meet the latest European emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

The Tory's have said that this will be seen as Sadiq Khan's Poll Tax and we could see riots with the backlash from thousands of angry drivers and small businesses.



Source : The Times. 

Khans Christmas Present To The Trade... Mayor To Make Age Limit Announcement!

The Mayor has chosen this morning, just ahead of the Christmas break to try and bury his really bad news for the trade, a ‘kick in the teeth’. 

This is the Mayor’s Christmas present for the cab trade. 

In the coming New Year, he will be consulting on reducing the taxi age limit to 12 years on all but the new electric, LPG and the latest Euro VI diesel cabs (roughly 65 plates and later)! 

Now although the wording is consulting on reducing, we all know that this is just another done deal. With certain people who have financial interests in selling the TXe rubbing their hands. 

To add insult to injury Khan will also be announcing that he no longer has control of the £40 million he assured us was ‘Ring Fenced’ to assist the trade to purchase the new electric cabs. 

Apparently, he has somehow ‘lost’ £22 million, and now only has £18 million left!

Amazingly, none of the £1bn budget set aside for cycle lanes and Taxi exemption signs has “gone missing”. 

Question of the day....HOW DO YOU LOSE £22 MILLION ?

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : 

And now for the good news....after meeting with Mike Brown and Chris Grayling, Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has given his permission for Uber and other PH drivers to be charged congestion charges. This allegedly on the understanding that Uber minibuses will be allowed to use all bus lanes and restricted right and left turns.


The minicab industry had warned most fares would rise by 10-20 per cent, some would treble and minicabs “could become as expensive as black cabs”.

Minicabs have been exempt from the C-charge since its introduction more than 15 years ago.

Today the Mayor, who has been unable to impose a cap on the number of drivers licensed by Transport for London, decided to remove the exemption from April 8. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Taxicard Contract A Disgrace : Users Protest As Free Journeys Decrease. Councillor Blames Government Funding.


Disabled people protested against what they see as an insufficient number of free taxi rides offered by their council.

Users of the ‘Taxicard’ service in Harrow handed in a petition at the borough’s civic centre on Monday – International Day of Disabled People – criticising the low number of journeys they are entitled to.

Harrow Council now offers just 40 free trips a year which, as the protesters pointed out, equates to less than one return journey every two weeks.

It is one of the lowest in London and, by contrast, neighbouring Hillingdon Council provides 104 annual journeys.

Adam Gabsi, vice-chairman of Harrow Association of Disabled People (HAD), organised the march to the Civic Centre alongside several other charities.

He said: “The council needs to speak to the very people that they are affecting to understand what impact their decisions are having on people’s physical and mental health.

“Disabled people want equality, justice and the freedom to live. The Taxicard scheme helps to facilitate this and should not have been cut.”

He added that blaming austerity for the cuts is an “excuse” and urged the council to come up with “innovative ideas” to help plug any funding gaps.

Nigel Long, chief executive of HAD, believes there is “room for manoeuvre” on the Taxicard issue and hopes to see the number of journeys at least doubled.

“We are sympathetic to the council’s financial situation, but disabled people should not have to bear the brunt of austerity,” he said.

“It seems as if they have taken the soft option and they have let disabled people in the borough down.”


Cllr Adam Swersky, who is responsible for finance at Harrow Council, agreed that it is important to find alternative sources but said it is impossible to ignore the impact of reduced government funding.

He said: “This is a symbol of how long austerity has been going on for. We’ve been facing cuts year-on-year and so, in that respect, things are only getting worse.

“These things affect the people who need our support the most, and that is why we are fighting for fairer funding in Harrow.”

He explained that the demand for adult social care does not meet the council’s budget and, as a result, it needs “as much help as possible” from outside bodies.

And he promised to work with HAD and other charities in the borough to see how they can move forward together.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

Funding for disabled cut, yet the Mayor found £1bn to fund cycle lanes which have crippled businesses all over London




DONT FORGET, JANUARY 2019 ....WHERE BUSES GO, TAXIS GO PROTESTS 

Supported by ITA, LCDC, RMT, DDD and MM 

Dates and venues will be posted in the New Year. 

One Of Uber's Biggest Investors Goldman’s Sachs, Facing Criminal Charge In 1MDB Scandal.

The 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal or 1MDB scandal is an ongoing political scandal occurring in Malaysia.

Malaysia is demanding Uber investor Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bear the brunt of the 1MDB scandal, opening up another legal front for the Wall Street firm over its role raising money for the investment fund.

The country filed the first criminal charges against the U.S. bank in the global corruption probe on Monday, after publicly urging Goldman to come to the negotiating table or face litigation. The firm already is in the thick of investigations by U.S. prosecutors and regulators over Goldman’s conduct in the controversy.

Malaysian authorities allege that Goldman misled investors when the bank knew that proceeds from 1MDB bond sales it arranged would be misappropriated. The government is seeking fines in excess of both the $2.7 billion of allegedly misused funds and the $600 million in fees received by Goldman on the deals. Goldman has blamed rogue employees for any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB, a state-owned investment fund.

"Their fraud goes to the heart of our capital markets," Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement announcing the charges. "If no criminal proceedings are instituted against the accused, their undermining of our financial system and market integrity will go unpunished."

Goldman Sachs’s role in raising about $6.5 billion for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013 has evolved into its thorniest scandal since the global financial crisis a decade ago triggered a public backlash against banks. Former Goldman partner Tim Leissner has pleaded guilty to U.S. bribery charges and his former deputy, Roger Ng, was arrested in Malaysia. And one of its senior investment bankers in Asia has been put on leave after being referenced in charging documents.

Ex Partner Tim Leissner 

Goldman Sachs said it would "vigorously contest" the charges, which it said came without a chance for the firm to provide its view.

"Certain members of the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to Goldman Sachs, outside counsel and others about the use of proceeds from these transactions," the bank said in an emailed statement Monday. "1MDB, whose CEO and board reported directly to the prime minister at the time, also provided written assurances to Goldman Sachs for each transaction that no intermediaries were involved."

Goldman’s increasing proximity to the scandal has weighed on its stock, which is down about a third since the beginning of the year. That has erased its so-called Trump bump, a reference to the boost all major banking stocks received after President Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016. Goldman shares are now trading at the lowest level since October 2016.

Along with targeting the firm, Malaysia filed related charges against Leissner and Ng, as well as former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.

The indictment focuses on circulars and memoranda that Goldman prepared for the 1MDB bonds, saying that they contained statements that were false or misleading or both. Malaysia is pursuing the claim on the basis that the relevant bond documents were sent to the regulator in its offshore banking haven in Labuan, and therefore were covered by its securities law, Thomas said in the statement.

Malaysia is filing the charges against three of the bank’s units -- Goldman Sachs International (UK), Goldman Sachs (Singapore) and Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC -- the Edge newspaper reported, citing charge sheets from the Kuala Lumpur court.

"The criminal charges of this nature are grave, and it goes to the core of Goldman’s business as an investment bank," said Nizam Ismail, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP in Singapore. "If the outcome of the case results in a criminal conviction against the bank, there are potentially severe reputational and financial risks to the bank, as well as the bank’s standing as a licensed financial institution with regulators worldwide."

Officials in Malaysia had previously said they were seeking a full refund from Goldman Sachs for the fees it received for the 1MDB bond sales. The $600 million Goldman earned from the bond issues dwarfed what banks typically make from government deals.

Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind of the schemes to siphon billions of dollars from 1MDB, was also charged in absentia in the U.S. He was accused of conspiring with Ng, then a Goldman Sachs banker, to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1MDB, known formally as 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

A spokesman for Low issued a statement from his attorneys that he maintained his innocence.

The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, is ramping up an investigation into how executives dodged the bank’s internal controls while helping Malaysian authorities raise the money, people briefed on the matter said late last month. The probe examines the actions of Goldman Sachs as well as individuals and has been gaining momentum, the people said, asking not to be identified because the inquiry is confidential.

Leissner’s guilty plea suggests he’s helping U.S. authorities with their investigation of the bank. Other regulators are examining if its conduct points to a broader pattern of prioritizing lucrative business deals at the expense of following rigorous compliance standards.

And two Abu Dhabi funds -- International Petroleum Investment Co. and Aabar Investments -- have also filed a civil suita gainst Goldman Sachs in New York, seeking damages for alleged fraud in connection with embezzlement at 1MDB.

Source : Bloomberg 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Islington Cab Drivers Release Christmas Single About Being In Love


Joe and Jon the Islington cab drivers have made a Christmas single about being in love

Two crooning black cab drivers from Islington have released a Christmas single about being in love.

Joe Cartwright, 49, and Jon Cox, 50, have written and produced their track Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Without You from their studio space at Parkhurst Road’s Islington Arts Factory.

The festive tune features backing vocals courtesy from a True Stars Academy Theatre School choir, run by the Eastenders actor and anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella.

"It’s a song that can be universal, said Joe. "So it doesn’t matter if you’re in Afganistan or away on an oil rig, because it just encapsulates the feeling of love for another person."

Jon, who grew up in Clerkenwell, told the Gazette: "I’m very excited to write this song because it’s an emotional time of year and if our song becomes part of that I’ll be happy."

You can listen to the track on Spotify or iTunes.

Source : Islington Gazette.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Top German Court Rules Uber Limousine Service Illegal 🤔

 
    Uber's Limo drivers, outside the Federal Court of Justice

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany’s highest court ruled on Thursday that a limousine service offered by Uber [UBER.UL] was illegal. It's a setback for the U.S. ride-hailing company, that has struggled to comply with the law in Europe’s largest economy.

The Federal Court of Justice, handing down a final decision, upheld lower-court rulings in favor of a complaint brought by a Berlin taxi business that the so-called Uber Black service had violated German laws governing car rentals. 

Responding to the judgment, Uber said it had taken Uber Black out of service in 2014, adding that the services it now operates in four German cities complied with the law. 

“This ruling has no impact on our current services in Germany as we changed our operating model more than four years ago,” the company said in a statement. 

“We will continue to engage with local stakeholders as we develop services that address Germany’s growing transportation needs and shape the future of urban mobility in a responsible way.” 

Uber, which could fetch a valuation of $120 billion when it floats next year in what would be the biggest stock market listing by a tech startup, has had a series of run-ins with regulators, courts and drivers around the world. 

In Britain, the company has fought a long-running court battle over whether its drivers should be given workers’ rights, including a minimum wage. The company argues that drivers are self-employed. 

In the German case, two lower courts had banned the Uber Black service based on the complaint brought by a Berlin taxi operator, Richard Leipold. 

He had argued that its operations should be covered by laws covering car rentals. These require a car to return to its base after each trip and for trips to be awarded by a dispatcher. 

Taxis, by contrast, can accept orders directly. 

Uber now offers its services in four German cities - Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf - and says it is in full compliance with German laws. 

Its Uber X service operates in partnership with car rental companies whose drivers hold a license to carry passengers, a company spokesman said. Its UberTaxi service functions as a regular taxi service. 

Establishing an important principle, the Federal Court found that Uber was subject to German transportation laws, dismissing arguments that European Union rules governing the provision of services should apply.

Lisson Grove Muggings Escalate : Police Have The Tools, So When Are They Going To Use Them? by Tony Casey

  Lisson Grove muggers, recently spotted in Berkeley Square 

The instances of muggings on Taxi drivers is increasing at an alarming rate...worst still, they are becoming more and more violent. 

The police keep saying we need more drivers to report these crimes. 

So I have been doing just that. 

I have also written again to my own local MP, Frank Manning. 

Hello Frank 
Thanks for your continued concern for the London Taxi community.
Despite my very best efforts since Sept 2018 and 4 alleged arrests by warrant recently,I have to report that this week the mugging Gangs are out of control...

Two nights ago at 9.30 attempted robbery of Taxi drivers in Rossmore road NW8 junction with Park Road near the Flower Shop.How many were succesful i'm not sure.

Today at Harrow Road W2 eastbound from Sandell and Perkins roundabout toward THE NOW CLOSED Paddington Green Police Station. The Robbers could be the same ones who robbed 78 year old George Vyse who may live on the neighbouring social Housing Estate.

Around a month ago I reported robbery activity opposite todays crime on the westbound carriageway of Harrow Road on the over side of the flyover, the taxi feeder line that feeds Paddington Station just before the roundabout of Bishops Bridge Road. This area may be covered by lady wpc Sgt O'Brien and her policing team.
What ever is going on in the Policing circles is embarrissingly POOR.
Drivers are asking me daily what is happening and I am ashamed to report VERY LITTLE.
Perhaps its time to take the matters into our own hands.
Could you please let Andrew Know.
Thanks and regards 
Anthony Casey LCDC. 

I have been working alongside the neighbourhood police teams and local MP’s for the Maida Vale and Harrow Road areas for some time, yet it is now even worse than ever.

Recently four muggers were arrested at their homes and their premises searched. Unfortunately for us, they are now back out on the street and are continuing to rob unsuspecting drivers. 

Perhaps they believe we are all holding bundles of cash because of the christmas period.

The muggings have now become increasingly violent and our biggest fear is that a driver could eventually be seriously injured or even killed. 

London Taxi Radio Interview with mugging victim Laurence.

    

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :

They have the intel, they have the tools...so when are hey going to use them?

During our recent show of strength of feeling towards TfL’s recent consultation about the closure of tooley street, Met police sent out two licensed taxi's complete with ID cards containing undercover police officers who mingling with the Taxi protesters, using hidden body cameras to try to identify the ring leaders.

The met police have currently 3 Taxis in their under covet fleet fully plated etc.

Why have'nt these vehicles been deployed around Lisson grove and Harrow Road?

Perhaps they are still awaiting a response on a risk assessment.

TfL’s enforcement officers have been using a vauxhall zafira with minicab indentifiers complete with blues and two's and ANPR cameras.

The police have no excuses to solving violent crime ,they have the tools, vehicles to get the job done, but appear to be holding back. 

Mayor Sadiq Khan needs to divert money away from the vanity fountain fund and cycle super highways to fight crime and prevent further violence towards Cabbies which could eventually resort in murder.