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US Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday said a nationwide coronavirus lockdown would amount to the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” besides slavery in US history, according to a CNN report.

Barr reportedly made the remarks during a speech at Hillsdale College in celebration of Constitution Day in response to a question about the “constitutional hurdles” of banning church gatherings during the pandemic.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said.

As health experts have championed the measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Barr, a staunch defender of President Trump, has slammed stay-at-home orders as “draconian.”

His comments Wednesday referencing slavery came after public health data has shown African Americans to be at a higher risk for catching the coronavirus. African Americans are more likely to be essential workers and are more likely to have preexisting health conditions due to systemic challenges.

Barr went on to slam governors who have imposed stay-at-home orders even as states like New York effectively used them to cut down on infections, CNN reported.

“Most of the governors do what bureaucrats always do, which is they … defy common sense,” Barr said. “They treat free citizens as babies that can’t take responsibility for themselves and others.”

“We have to give business people an opportunity,” he added, “tell them what the rules are you know the masks, which rule of masks, you had this month … and then let them try to adapt their business to that and you’ll have ingenuity and people will at least have the freedom to try to earn a living.”

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JPMorgan hit with $920M fine for spoofing metals markets

JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay more than $920 million to settle market manipulation investigations into its trading of metals futures and Treasury securities, the US regulator for derivatives markets said Tuesday.

The settlement draws a line under a multi-year probe into the country’s largest lender and marks a major scalp for US authorities.

The lender will pay the biggest monetary penalty ever imposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), including $436.4 million in fine, $311.7 million in restitution and more than $172 million in disgorgement, the statement said.

Disgorgement is a form of restitution that requires companies to return money that has been obtained from a fraudulent scheme.

“Spoofing is illegal — pure and simple. This record-setting enforcement action demonstrates the CFTC’s commitment to being tough on those who intentionally break our rules, no matter who they are. Attempts to manipulate our markets won’t be tolerated,” said CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert.

Spoofing is a practice in which traders place orders they intend to cancel to move prices to benefit their market positions.

“The conduct of the individuals referenced in today’s resolutions is unacceptable and they are no longer with the firm,” said Daniel Pinto, co-president of JPMorgan and CEO of the Corporate & Investment Bank.

“We appreciate that the considerable resources we’ve dedicated to internal controls was recognized by the DOJ, including enhancements to compliance policies, surveillance systems and training programs.”

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission said the lender would pay $35 million in fines and disgorgement in relation to the CFTC probe into manipulative trading practices in Treasuries and Treasury securities between 2009 and 2016.

“Traders placed numerous non-bona fide orders on one side of the market for a particular Treasury instrument – i.e., orders they never intended to execute – in order to create a false impression of buy or sell interest in that instrument that would raise or depress prices,” the securities regulator said in a filing on Tuesday.

Filed under jpmorgan chase ,  probes ,  wall street ,  9/29/20

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