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June 12, 2012 at 5:28 PM
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Markets close higher

NEW YORK, June 12 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes scratched for higher ground Tuesday as investors focused on the financial crisis in Europe.

After accepting a $125 billion bailout on behalf of its banks during the weekend, Spain saw its yields on its 10-year benchmark government bonds rise Monday. Yields also rose Monday in Italy, where there is fear the spreading crisis in confidence could accelerate.

By close of trading, stock markets rose in New York, with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining 162.57 points, 1.31 percent, to 12,573.80.

The Nasdaq composite index added 33.34 points or 1.19 percent to 2,843.07.

The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 15.25 points or 1.17 percent to 1,324.18.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,385 stocks advanced and 667 declined on a volume of 3.2 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 23/32 to yield 1.666 percent.

The euro rose to $1.2506 from Monday's $1.2482. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 79.54 yen from Monday's 79.44 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 1.02 percent, 88.18 points, to 8,536.72.

In London, the FTSE 100 index rose 0.76 percent, 41.37, to 5,473.74.

ING Bank to pay $619 million settlement

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said it settled an evasion of sanctions case with ING Bank for $619 million.

The Treasury said the settlement is the largest ever for the Office of Foreign Assets Control in a case involving a business evading sanctions policies.

Despite various sanctions in place, ING Bank's Wholesale Banking Division routed more than $1.6 billion through the United States, keeping the U.S. financial system open for "state sponsors of terror and other sanctioned entities," the department said.

The bank used several methods to avoid detection while circumventing sanctions, the department said, including omitting information on prohibited transactions, a step that was used by ING branches in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, the department said.

In one example, "ING Bank's senior management in France authorized, advised in the creation of, and ultimately provided fraudulent endorsement stamps for use by Cuban financial institutions in processing travelers check transactions, which disguised the involvement of Cuban banks in these transactions when they were processed through the United States," the Treasury Department said in a statement.

In addition, the department said, a bank branch in Romania omitted details from a letter of credit involving a U.S. financial institution to finance the sending U.S. products origin goods to Iran.

"These cases give teeth to sanctions enforcement … and ultimately contribute to the fight against money laundering and terror financing," said New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

The settlement also involved circumventing sanctions with Burma, Sudan and Libya, the department said.

JPMorgan knew it was taking big risks

NEW YORK, June 12 (UPI) -- High-ranking executives at JPMorgan Chase knew in 2010 the London office that lost $2 billion was taking big risks, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

The Chief Investment Office in London that was responsible for making trades with the bank's excessive cash account may have cost the bank as much as $5 billion making bad bets on derivatives, the newspaper said.

In 2011, executives in charge of the London office decided on a plan to pull back from the risky bets, but the plan was never effectively carried out, sources said.

In April, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Dimon called reports of the bets "a tempest in a tea pot." He later said he was "dead wrong" with that assessment.

But in late 2011, CIO head Ina Drew, the head of international trades at CIO Achilles Macris and Peter Weiland, the chief risk officer of the office, agreed the derivative bets should be reduced, sources said.

It was not the first time big risks at the London office caught the eye of bank executives. In 2010, the CIO chief financial officer at the time, Joseph Bonocore, raised the alarm about $300 million lost in a few days without a complimentary, offsetting position to keep the bets balanced.

Bonocore took the matter to the bank's chief risk officer at the time, Barry Zubrow, and JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh.

The executives gave Bonocore permission to reduce the bets. In turn, Macris reduced those bets, the newspaper said.

Romney: Obama's 'forward' slogan 'absurd'

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- Likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Tuesday President Barack Obama is out of touch with Americans' struggles through the Great Recession.

The recession erased two decades of American wealth in three years, with a typical family's net worth falling nearly 40 percent, the Federal Reserve said.

A median family's net assets plunged to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007, the Fed said in its Survey of Consumer Finances, issued every three years. The survey is widely considered one of the broadest and deepest sources of information about the financial health of U.S. families.

"The American people are facing really tough circumstances. They're looking at how they're going to pay for retirement," Romney told Fox News Tuesday. "The president needs to go out and talk to people, not just do fundraisers.

"That's why the American people are having such a hard time. That's why the idea of selecting a campaign slogan 'forward' is so absurd," he said.

The wealth loss put Americans in 2010 roughly on par with where they were in 1992, when a gallon of gasoline cost an average $1.05, Bill Clinton became president, Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated, Microsoft Corp. released Windows 3.1 and "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" was a box-office hit.

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