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Mexican mayor, wife arrested over 43 missing students

The students vanished on 26th September after municipal police shot at their buses in the city of Iguala, 200 km south of Mexico City, and then handed the 43 to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang


Mexican police has detained a fugitive former mayor and his wife accused of ordering a deadly police attack that left 43 students missing, raising hopes of a break in a case bedevilling the nation.


Jose Luis Abarca, the former mayor of the southern city of Iguala, and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda were captured by federal officers before dawn in Mexico City's populous working-class district of Iztapalapa, authorities said Tuesday.


Officials hope the arrest will yield new clues about the whereabouts of the students in a disappearance that has drawn international condemnation, sparked national protests and shaken President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration.


"I hope that this arrest will contribute in a decisive manner ... To the investigation undertaken by the attorney general's office," said Pena Nieto, who last week met parents angry at the pace of the probe.


The couple was arrested in a small, cement-coloured house with a dusty courtyard, far from their opulent life in Iguala, where Abarca owned jewellery stores and his wife allegedly ran local operations for the Guerreros Unidos drug gang.


"There was no violence in the operation," a national security commission spokesman told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that the two were being interrogated by federal prosecutors.


A neighbour said the house used to be owned by an elderly couple who died months ago. Others saw a woman go in and out periodically.


"We were very scared when the police descended on the house," a woman living nearby told AFP.


Authorities say the students vanished on 26th September after municipal police shot at their buses in the city of Iguala, 200 km south of Mexico City, and then handed the 43 to the Guerreros Unidos.


Six people died in the night of violence. In one gangland-style killing, a dead student was found with his facial skin peeled off and eyes gouged out.


The teacher, college students remain missing despite a vast search operation by troops, helicopters and boats in the state of Guerrero, where a dozen mass graves containing 38 unidentified bodies have been discovered.


Guerrero's interim governor, Rogelio Ortego, told the Televisa network that the capture could lead to 'substantial leads' in the search.


Manuel Martinez, a spokesman for the families of the missing, told AFP that investigators 'must make him speak' because Abarca 'knows where they are'.


Abarca, his wife, and the city's police chief went on the run two days after the September 26 police attack. The Guerrero state legislature impeached him weeks later.


SEC asked to Strengthen Hedge Fund Advertising Rules

Increasing numbers of hedge funds are tweeting and establishing websites


A little more than a year after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed private investment funds to advertise, the agency is being asked to strengthen its rules regarding solicitations.


In a letter to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, along with three other lawmakers urged the agency to require private investment funds to file advertising materials with the SEC and that the marketing materials contain risk disclosures. The letter also requested that the SEC require that firms filing exemptions from registering with the SEC to sell their securities be required to file a pertinent form before engaging in any advertising:


For the last year, issuers have been allowed to use highway billboards, internet advertisements, cold calls to senior living centers, and promotional T-shirts to market their securities to investors, with no education for investors and limited disclosure of risks. We are deeply concerned that, for the last year, the Commission has allowed private securities offerings to take place using general solicitation and advertising without adequate investor protections.


The lawmakers noted that mutual funds, which are less risky to investors than hedge funds, are required to submit advertising materials for review.


The SEC lifted the ban on private investment firms under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS), which went into effect September 2013. But many hedge funds were still unable to advertise because they were still barred by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC, an independent federal agency responsible for regulating the futures trading industry, lifted those restrictions last month.


RELATED: Making Sense of Hedge Fund Marketing


Although an SEC spokesman said the agency hasn’t seen much advertising since the restrictions were lifted, some hedge funds have started marketing on their own websites and in print through print ads, a New York Times article noted. Topturn Capitol, a $100-million hedge fund, has an ad on its homepage and Balyasny Asset Management ran an ad in Pension & Investments.


Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that Andrew Bowden, director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, said agency staff had found that some firms were potentially misleading clients on past performances by cherry-picking historical results in their marketing to show only the investment decisions that gave the best returns. SEC regulations require fund advisors to disclose all past investment outcomes.


While there hasn’t been a rush to advertise, a recent study found that hedge funds are certainly moving in that direction and taking to social media. The study, by Peppercomm, a New-York based marketing and communications firm, found that 10 percent of the 292 largest hedge funds that have at least $1 billion in assets are on Twitter, and 23 of those have more than 15,000 followers. In addition, 14 percent of the largest 285 global hedge funds launched websites in 2014. The study predicted that the number of hedge funds on social media would continue to grow:


We expect to see more hedge funds using social media platforms to establish thought leadership, share insights and improve their digital profile


The study found that it was mostly asset management firms and intermediaries that were advertising rather than hedge funds themselves.


A spokesman for Sen. Levin said the SEC has not yet responded to the lawmakers’ letter. But their letter warned the agency, “a wave of fraudulent schemes could hurt confidence in the integrity of our markets … it is vital that prompt action be taken.”





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