Companies & Sectors
Nissan launches Evalia priced at Rs8.4 lakh to Rs9.99 lakh

The Evalia, which claims 50% more fuel efficiency than its rivals at 19.3 km per litre, is Nissan's sixth model in India and the third one to be made locally

Mumbai: Japanese auto major Nissan Motor, which forayed into the Indian multi-utility vehicle segment by rolling its first seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle (MPV)`Evalia', is eying to double its sales this year, reports PTI.


"We plan to double our sales this year and also aims to achieve the 1-lakh-unit sales by next year," Nissan Motor India Managing Director and Chief Executive Takayuki Ishida told reporters in Mumbai.


Last year, the company sold around 33,000 units of its five models here - the locally made hatchback Micra, the sedan Sunny along with imported X-Trail, Teana and the 370Z.


The Evalia, which claims 50% more fuel efficiency than its rivals at 19.3 km per litre, is Nissan's sixth model in India and the third one to be made locally.


Ishida said the company is targeting 2,000-2,500 units per month of the Evalia, which has been launched in four diesel variants and priced in the range of Rs8.40 to Rs9.99 lakh (ex-showroom Navi Mumbai).


The Evalia, along with two Nissan vehicles launched earlier - Micra and Sunny - have at present 85% localisation. Plans are afoot to have them 100% localised in the shortest possible time, he said.


Yesterday, Nissan had said it would launch 10 new models in India, including the Datsun brand, by 2016.


The company, which will be introducing 51 new models by 2015-16 globally, said it will look to expand production capacity in India, either through new plants or the existing facility at Chennai.


Public Interest Exclusive
Supreme Court exposes lies of Speak Asia’s covert management

The Supreme Court order pretty much blows most of the myths Speak Asia’s senior panellists have used to keep the rumour alive that Speak Asia was going to restart its Ponzi scheme if panellists’ only remained patient

Seemingly out of the blue, last Friday, writ 383 which had been heard in the Supreme Court of India for just under a year was withdrawn, leaving the case disposed of by the court.
Speak Asia’s supporters scrambled to make the best of the news, assuring everyone that “nothing negative” had been said about the company and to wait for the SC order to be published.
The All India Speak Asia Panelist Association, who usually rush to publish anything remotely positive hours after a court appearance, were noticeably subdued. AISPA released a statement a few hours after the disposal that they would only publish something after the order was out.
Meanwhile whoever runs the Speak Asia “corporate marketing” blog, assured their followers there was nothing to worry about. A post put up on the 21st September reads…
While our department for corporate affairs analyzes these latest developments, we would like to assure all our panelist in India that the company remains committed to solving this impasse and is very keen to re-start the business at the earliest opportune moment.
Of particular note was the change in tone, in opposition of any agency that did not comply with the Speak Asia agenda:
The company assures full cooperation with any agency or authority that has the jurisdiction on this situation and wishes to fulfill its commitment to refunding the subscription amounts to all those who have opted for the exit option of the company.
To the best of my knowledge to date no government agency has committed to the refund of subscription amounts, a business restart or even the mere entertaining of the Speak Asia “exit option”.
The CID however have filed a criminal charge sheet against the company, the Enforcement Directorate have filed a money laundering case, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated Speak Asia was “akin” to a “money circulation scheme” in a cautionary it sent to Indian banks in May 2011 and the EOW have labeled the Speak Asia Ponzi scheme “the largest fraud case they’ve ever seen”.
Earlier today those behind the Speak Asia “corporate marketing” blog felt the need to publish a clarification to their earlier statements, which despite allegedly referring to itself made several references to “the company” and appeared strikingly similar to the baseless and full of rhetoric “news” that has been published on Facebook, AISPA and Speak Asia Mobi-Club (all run by senior panelists acting as defacto local management) over this past year and a half.
The company has been fighting its battle for survival for more than a year’s period and at this stage, your cooperation and patience in this battle is highly appreciated. We would urge the same deliberation from all of you for times to come.
With all the efforts in line we are bound to overcome the difficult times.
Along with the above statements are a series of wishful thinking dreams which, given the gravity revealed by the publishing of the Supreme Court order for the writ 383 disposal hearing on the 19th September, seem all the more unlikely.
Taking on a tone that suggested they’d been misled by Speak Asia and its senior panelists behind the writ until the ‘Investigating Officer, Economic Offences Wing (III), Crime Branch, C.I.D., Mumbai‘ filed an affidavit on March 3rd 2012 to clear things up, the SC most strikingly admit that the matter of payment to the 115 signed petitioners of the writ is ‘not a matter which could be resolved by way of mediation‘.
Two primary reasons are given for this, the first being that whereas writ 383 pertains only to the 115 signed petitioners (Speak Asia management and senior panelists have been falsely claiming the writ covered all panelists), the SC wholly acknowledge that in passing any order under writ 383 in regards to payments, that they ‘cannot turn a blind eye if other investors also come with a similar petition‘.
Why is that such a big deal?
The answer lies in the Supreme Court’s views and acceptance of the affidavits filed by Indian authorities.
The Investigating Officer filed another affidavit on 15.09.2012 wherein it was stated that in connection with the crime, several persons had been arrested and incriminating documents were seized and some persons stated to have been involved in the crime are still at large and are not co-operating with the investigation.
The Enforcement Directorate had also registered a case under Money Laundering Act against the accused company.
The counter affidavit further states that the accused persons had misappropriated amount to the tune of Rs.2,276 crores out of which a sum of Rs.141 crores had been frozen in several bank accounts in the name of so called Master franchises/Collection agents and franchises throughout India.
We are of the view that in the light of the above facts this Court is not justified in invoking its jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution of India in working out any scheme for settling the disputes which are criminal in nature.
Long time followers of BehindMLM’s coverage of the Speak Asia scam will note that this echoes the exact sentiments put forth on this website back in November 14th 2011, before the first mediation session even took place.
I’ve been banging this drum for a while now, but I’ll reiterate once again that no bank in India is going to do business with Speak Asia whilst there are criminal investigations and court cases pending against the company.
You can set up 100 committees led by whoever you want to act as mediators but still no bank is going to take on the liability of transferring funds from a company under criminal investigation.
The idea behind the Lahoti Committee, or any other such committee is ridiculous. At the end of the day the criminal investigations are going to trump any civil proceedings demanding money from the company (yes, even the AISPA case).
Speak Asia’s panelists getting paid depends entirely on the outcome of the criminal cases.
Of course when you have Speak Asia’s lawyers willingly perjuring themselves in court and completely mislead proceedings by doing things like present the court with a completely fabricated business model that was never even used, it’s no wonder it’s taken the Supreme Court to finally get to the bottom of things and see writ 383 withdrawn under heavy judge-influenced persuasion.
And on the topic of misleading, some other myths purported by AISPA, Ashok Bahirwani and the rest of the senior panelist propaganda machine blown wide open by the Supreme Court order include:
the verified existence of an ED money laundering case (denied by Speak Asia, AISPA and the senior panelist management)
the fact that 15 of the 115 signed writ 383 petitioners were ‘instrumental in running‘ Speak Asia who recruited ‘big amounts of innocent members/investors‘
“petitioner 3″ of writ 383 (who exactly this is I’m not aware of) operated as a “franchise” of respondents 3 and 4 in the case (Speak Asia and Haren Ventures respectively)
that petitioners ’6 to 101′ had only invested ‘invested the meager amount of Rs.11,000 each‘ and had only signed the petition after “representatives” of Speak Asia and Haren Ventures approached them and ‘approached them at their respective addresses in Southern States and had assured them that the money invested by them would be returned to them provided they gave their signatures‘. Interrogation by the authorities revealed that said petitioners were ‘ignorant about any Petition filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the contents as well as the purpose thereof‘.
Had this of all been out on the table way back last year whilst Speak Asia, Haren Ventures and their defacto Indian based management of senior panelists misled the court, no doubt the mediation proceedings would have never been ordered in the first place, the recall of which upon the court learning of some of the details the authorities’ investigations have thus far uncovered.
And on the topic of investigation, with the Supreme Court unequivocably giving it’s blessing to the proceeding of any investigations, all eyes now turn to the next writ 3611 hearing, currently slated for hearing on the 26th September.
When we last checked in, AISPA had told the High Court that the stay on the EOW’s investigation needed to remain whilst they sought clarification from the Supreme Court on whether or not writ 383 would take precedence over criminal investigations.
A claim that now (and given the Supreme Court’s previous clarifications on the matter) wholly seems like a moot point.
Before the Mumbai High Court the EOW seemed to be closing in on senior panelists and Speak Asia’s defacto managment (largely connected to AISPA) with arrests pending. As the Supreme Court notes of the most recent affidavit filed by the investigating officer on September 15th,
in connection with the crime, several persons had been arrested and incriminating documents were seized and some persons stated to have been involved in the crime are still at large and are not co-operating with the investigation.
It is widely believed that Ashok Bahirwani was on the verge of being arrested in connection with his (publicly unknown) involvement in the Speak Asia scam. Before that could happen though, AISPA (of whom Bahirwani is the Secretary and public spokesperson of), the Mumbai High Court ordering a temporary stay on the EOW’s investigation, pending AISPA’s request to ‘seek clarification from the Supreme Court‘.
AISPA President Melwyn Crasto had already been arrested, interrogated and jailed over his involvement in the scam (as a “prime promoter”) and the deposit of funds into his personal accounts from Speak Asia that he “could not explain” to the EOW.
Looking forward, if the Indian authorities are on the ball and quick to get things back on track we might be in for some very interesting upcoming weeks.
The Supreme Court order pretty much blows most of the myths Speak Asia’s senior panelists have used to keep the rumor alive that Speak Asia was going to restart its Ponzi scheme if panelists’ only remained patient. Along with the disposal of writ 383 due to voluntary withdrawal, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how the facts in the latest SC order are spun to suit their needs.
At the time of publication, other than the empty rhetoric over at the Speak Asia corporate marketing blog, they haven’t been able to come up with anything.
Stay tuned.
The full writ 383 Supreme Court disposal order can be viewed over at the Supreme Court of India website




4 years ago

Lol. That blog of speakasia marketing looks completely fake run by some sr panelist or franchisee to fool panelist. The letter head scanned and same signature embossed everytime.

Agar marketing blog speakasia ka genuine hai aur speakasia ka management bolta hai woh investigation mey co-operate karene to phir Manoj Kumar india se bhag kyu gaya?. Manoj Kumar is from management to usko investigation mey help karke case jaldi solve karna chahiye so that business restart ho.

Jab tak management yaane ke Haren Kaur aur Manoj Kumar EOW ke ke paas nahi jaata investigaton mey help karne ke liye to investigation puri nahi hogi aur speakasia restart nahi hogi.

Simply put it Manoj Kumar has ran away and the huge money of 600+ crores have disappeared.

By the way another company Mister Colibiri in which Manoj Kumar was associated and his company Seven Rings was associated have been caught in similar scam in Brazil. Investigations have begun last week but promoters like Manoj Kumar and others who are from management of seven rings are not in Brazil and the local franchisees and sr panelist of colibiri are now being investigated by police and authorities. Sounds similar to speakasia?

Freddie Mac didn’t set out to profit from homeowners trapped in high-rate mortgages

Federal watchdog in the US says the mortgage giant had no coordinated plan to bet against homeowners, though Freddie Mac held billions of dollars of investments that paid off if borrowers stayed stuck in high-interest loans

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac did not keep homeowners trapped in high-interest loans in order to boost profits on billions of dollars’ worth of complex financial bets it had made. That’s the conclusion reached in a report released today by the inspector general that oversees the agency in charge of Freddie Mac.


Last January, ProPublica and NPR reported that Freddie had dramatically expanded its holdings of mortgage-backed securities that would profit if homeowners stayed in their existing high-interest-rate loans. At the same time, the company had taken steps that made it harder for homeowners to refinance at lower interest rates. Our report stated that there was no evidence of a coordinated attempt to bet against homeowners’ ability to refinance. The inspector general’s report concludes that there was none.


But the inspector general left a key stone unturned: It did not independently evaluate the firewall within Freddie Mac designed to keep Freddie’s investment arm from profiting from insider information about the mortgage giant’s plans to tighten or loosen homeowners’ access to credit. Instead, the inspector general relied on the word of employees it interviewed and conducted no further investigation. It also reported that the agency that oversees Freddie has not tested the firewall’s integrity.

Freddie Mac and its sister company Fannie Mae were bailed out by taxpayers after the financial crisis and are now controlled by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Freddie and Fannie guarantee most of the mortgages in the U.S., and they have a mission to make home loans more affordable. But Freddie also has a massive investment portfolio and has to protect against losses. Sometimes, those two goals can conflict.


Beginning in 2010, Freddie Mac expanded its portfolio of a particular kind of mortgage-backed security known as an “inverse floater.” The company offered investors a relatively safe bond with a floating interest rate. It then kept on its books what is called an “inverse floater,” which pays out the highest returns if borrowers stay in their mortgages. When interest rates dropped (as they did during that period), Freddie Mac stood to profit on its inverse floaters, because the rates being paid by the pool of borrowers were higher than the prevailing market rates. Inverse floaters lose that advantage the more that homeowners in the pool refinance at the lower rates. 

The report says that Freddie’s investment wing increased its holdings in inverse floaters merely because investors were demanding the floating rate bonds linked to them — not because of any strategy to exploit homeowners trapped in high-interest-rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac has an  “information wall” designed to separate the employees running Freddie Mac’s investment strategy from those designing and carrying out its policies that impact the mortgage market, such as programs aimed at helping people refinance or making it more difficult for them to do so. The inspector general’s report says that it found “no evidence” that the wall had been breached.

Yet, the inspector general noted that FHFA has not conducted any independent testing of Freddie’s information wall. And the inspector general limited its own investigation of the wall to interviewing Freddie executives and FHFA officials and reviewing policy documents. The inspector general “did not independently evaluate the efficacy of Freddie Mac’s information wall policy,” the report states.

The report emphasizes that there are indeed “tensions between policies aimed at homeowners refinancing and Freddie Mac’s retained investments.” But it says that such tensions are not unique to inverse floaters but are “inherent throughout [Freddie and Fannie’s] various business lines.”

At the end of 2011, Freddie held about $5 billion worth of inverse floaters, according to the report, or less than one percent of its $653 billion investment portfolio.

The report also notes that the company hedges to balance its interest-rate risk, meaning that it places many different bets so that no matter whether interest rates rise or fall, its investments will be close to “net flat” — stay roughly the same, recording neither large profits nor large losses. Freddie does not try to balance the risk of each individual investment, but rather hedges “on its portfolio as a whole.”   The report explains:

In the context of inverse floaters, although Freddie Mac may on the one hand benefit from a trend of low interest rates and reduced prepayments by homeowners, on the other hand, Freddie Mac’s other investments may equally suffer from such a trend. Thus, the end result, if perfectly hedged on interest rates, is that Freddie Mac’s overall position will remain the same regardless of prepayments. 

The inspector general did not independently evaluate Freddie’s hedging strategies. When ProPublica and NPR first reported on these deals, it was unclear what kind of hedging, if any, Freddie Mac had performed.

The company is also supposed to be reducing its investment portfolio as part of the terms of its government bailout. In a footnote, the inspector general’s report mentions that Freddie Mac told the Securities and Exchange Commission that selling the floating rate securities was a way to reduce its balance sheet. But most Freddie and FHFA officials interviewed by the inspector general said that reducing its balance sheet was not the motivation for Freddie to create inverse floaters, even if that was the result.


Separately, the way Freddie structured the inverse floaters leaves Freddie with nearly all of the risk of the assets that no longer show up on its balance sheet. The reason: As the guarantor of the mortgages that back the securities, Freddie is already on the hook if the homeowner defaults. With inverse floaters, it also retains the risks that homeowners might refinance and that overall interest rates might rise. Indeed, independent analysts told ProPublica and NPR in January that Freddie may actually have increased its risk, because inverse floaters are illiquid and hard to sell.

In its written response to the inspector general’s report, the FHFA did not address Freddie Mac's statements to the SEC. When contacted by ProPublica, an FHFA spokesperson declined to comment.

The report said that FHFA issued misleading statements to the public on when it ordered Freddie to stop creating inverse floaters. According to the report, in the spring of 2011, the FHFA began a review of Freddie Mac’s mortgage securities operation, in large part to determine whether the company held too many complex and risky mortgage products, including inverse floaters.

But an executive at Freddie didn’t suspend inverse floaters and certain other complex securities deals until January 6, and FHFA didn’t explicitly order Freddie Mac to stop selling inverse floaters until January 30, 2012, after ProPublica’s story was published. In fact, according to the report, that day marked “the first time that FHFA’s senior leadership met to discuss the Agency’s position with respect to inverse floaters.”

By then, however, Freddie had long since stopped selling floating rate securities — not because of any order from FHFA but because the market for them dried up in spring 2011 when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that interest rates would remain low for at least another year.

That’s not how FHFA described what happened after our story broke. In a statement released in response to ProPublica and NPR’s reports, the agency said that staff met with Freddie in December 2011 and came to an agreement then to suspend inverse floater trades. The inspector general’s report concludes that statement was misleading: “prior to January 2012, neither Freddie Mac nor FHFA made a decision to halt Freddie Mac’s creation and investment in inverse floaters; the market for reciprocal floating rate bonds simply disappeared. Had the market reappeared and Freddie Mac found the economics were again profitable, [Freddie] would have been free to structure floating-rate and inverse floating-rate investments.”


In a response to the report, the FHFA disputed the inspector general’s reading of the public statement, saying that it did not claim “that there was a specific, well-articulated FHFA policy and agreement” in December. The agency also emphasized that it did not take a position on inverse floaters only in reaction to media reports. While acknowledging that “the key stakeholders” had met together for the first time on January 30th, the day ProPublica and NPR released their original stories, the FHFA emphasizes that it had been in communication with Freddie on inverse floaters over the previous year.

The inspector general’s report was requested by Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ, last January, after our story brought the issue to light.




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