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Whistleblower’s lawyers raise safety concerns, call for protection

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Lawyers for the intelligence official who filed a complaint against President Donald Trump which triggered a formal impeachment inquiry have raised “serious concerns” for their client’s safety.

In a letter first published by CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” lawyers from Compass Rose Legal Group say events that occurred in the past week have “heightened our concerns that our client’s identity will be disclosed publicly and that, as a result, our client will be put in harm’s way.”

In particular, the lawyers noted comments made by Trump on Thursday in which he suggested that the intelligence official is a “spy” who may have committed treason, which is punishable by death.

“I want to know who’s the person that gave the Whistleblower, who’s the person that gave the Whistleblower the information, because that’s close to a spy,” Trump said during a private event in New York on Thursday, which the LA Times obtained audio of. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right? We used to handle them a little differently than we do now.”

The lawyers called on leading Democrats and Republicans to speak out for protections for whistleblowers, and stress that retaliation against the unnamed official “whether direct or implied” will not be tolerated.

They also claimed that certain individuals have issued a “$50,000 bounty” for information regarding their client’s identity.

“Unfortunately, we expect this situation to worsen, and to become even more dangerous for our client and any other whistleblowers, as Congress seeks to investigate this matter.”

CBS News previously reported that the whistleblower was already under federal protection. But Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer from Compass Rose Legal, wrote on Twitter that CBS “completely misinterpreted contents of our letter,” and stressed that they have not yet reached an agreement with Congress regarding contact with their client.

Read more: Trump is facing the biggest firestorm of his presidency because his own staffers blew the whistle on him

Trump on Sunday demanded to meet with the whistleblower and doubled down on claims that those involved in the complaint may have committed treason.

“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called “Whistleblower,” represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets on Sunday night.

US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he expects the whistleblower to testify ” very soon” once security measures are in place to protect his identity.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last week that the House will launch a formal impeachment inquiry, in light of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is at the center of the whistleblower complaint.

Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, deemed the August 12 complaint “credible” and of “urgent concern,” and passed the complaint on to acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire.

Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday and said that both the whistleblower and the inspector general “acted in good faith throughout” and “have done everything by the book and followed the law.”



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Latin America Fintech Landscape report from Business Insider

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Fintech has had a staggering influence globally, catapulting to new highs in major financial markets like the UK and the US, but Latin America (LATAM) has lagged behind — until now. 

Latin America Smartphone Adoption



Business Insider Intelligence


A massive fintech boom is taking hold in the region as innovative upstarts look to leverage widespread smartphone and internet penetration to serve the region’s massive unbanked and underbanked populations and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Meanwhile, authorities in many of these countries have enacted fintech-friendly regulations, having identified fintech and digital financial services as a way to provide widespread financial access, while international investors have honed in on the region as an attractive investment space as it becomes harder to identify and compete for these startups in mature markets like the US and UK.

And the pace of fintech growth in the region is evidenced by the vast sums LATAM startups have raised: In Q2 2019, fintechs secured $481 million, representing a six-quarter high, at least, and accounting for 69% of the total raised in the region across all of 2018, per CB Insights.

In fact, those Q2 funding figures outpaced the sums raised by both Chinese ($375 million) and Indian ($350 million) fintechs for the first time — both notable Asian hubs that typically rake in substantial funding. All told, LATAM’s fintech ecosystem represents a huge opportunity, with the size of the industry estimated to exceed $150 billion by 2021.  

In the Latin America Fintech Landscape report, Business Insider Intelligence identifies five key fintech markets in the region — Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile — that provide meaningful insights into LATAM’s fintech ecosystem. The report explores the factors driving fintech growth in each country, identifies the key fintech segments within each market, and discusses what has made major players in each segment successful as well as how they can improve going forward. Finally, we examine opportunities and challenges in each country to illustrate how fintechs and incumbents can leverage the progress already made to further transform the region’s financial services landscape. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: Addi, Afluenta, Aliatu, Aspiria, Banco Inter, BBVA, ClearScore, ComparaOnline, ContaAzul, Contabilizei, Credijusto, Cumplo, Finaktiva, Jooycar, Klar, Konfio, Kubo.financiero, Kueski, Lineru, Mercado Credito, MercadoLibre, Moni, Neon, Nubank, Omie, OmniBnk, RapiCredit, Rebanking, RedCapital, Sempli, Starling, Ualá, Uber, Wilobank.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Fintech has spread globally over the past decade, taking root in various hubs worldwide, but Latin America has always lagged behind — until now.
  • This report highlights five countries — Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile — that are dominating LATAM’s booming fintech ecosystem.
  • Brazil is the region’s economic powerhouse and home to some of the most innovative players.
  • Mexico, LATAM’s second largest economy, is battling Brazil to become the dominant fintech hub, and boasts the greatest number of fintechs in the region.
  • Colombia, while considerably behind the region’s two dominant fintech ecosystems, has quietly consolidated its position as the third largest fintech ecosystem in LATAM.
  • Argentina’s long history of economic booms and busts has created a fertile environment for fintech growth.
  • Although Chile is the smallest fintech ecosystem of the five, it has seen rapid growth of fintech players over the last 18 months.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the five markets at the forefront of LATAM’s fintech revolution: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile.
  • Discuss the factors driving fintech’s growth in each market, highlighting both regional factors as well as localized drivers.
  • Details the most notable fintech segments in each market and the major players in each segment.
  • Outlines the fintech opportunities and challenges in each of those countries going forward.

Interested in getting the full report? Here’s how to get access:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >>  Purchase & Download Now
  2. Sign up for Fintech Pro, Business Insider Intelligence’s expert product suite tailored for today’s (and tomorrow’s) decision-makers in the financial services industry, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
  3. Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Enterprise Memberships
  4. Current subscribers can read the report here.



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Coronavirus: Photos show Asia tourist hotspots left empty in outbreak

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  • The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc on the tourism industry in China and beyond.
  • Attractions like the Great Wall and Disneyland Shanghai have issued warnings to visitors, canceled events, or even shut down completely.
  • These photos show the stark contrast between Asia’s biggest attractions when there is an epidemic raging and when there isn’t.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus outbreak is devastating tourism across Asia, and these images prove it.

The problem is twofold: attractions within China are either shut or heavily restricted, and also Chinese tourists on lockdown are no longer flying abroad.

Neighboring countries like Japan, South Korea, and Thailand are especially badly affected.

These pairs of before and after photos show how individual landmarks have been left looking like ghost towns by an outbreak which has paralyzed large parts of a whole continent.



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Victoria’s Secret billionaire may step down from company: WSJ, NYT

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  • Les Wexner, the billionaire businessman behind L Brands, is reportedly “in discussions” to step down as CEO of the company and sell the Victoria’s Secret brand, according to the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
  • Sources familiar with the matter also told The Journal that the company is looking to reach a potential deal in the coming weeks.
  • Wexner founded what is now L Brands in 1963 and is the longest-standing CEO of any Fortune 500 company. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Retail billionaire Les Wexner is reportedly “in discussions” to step down as CEO from L Brands, the company behind Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported.

Sources familiar with the matter told The Journal that Wexner is also considering selling part of, or all of, Victoria’s Secret. 

“The company is looking to reach a decision on the potential deal and succession plans in coming weeks,” Journal reporters Khadeeja Safdar and Corrie Driebusch wrote early Thursday morning, quoting their sources. 

A spokesperson for L Brands declined to comment on this when contacted by Business Insider.  

Wexner founded what is now L Brands in 1963 and is the longest-standing CEO of any Fortune 500 company.

Wexner’s talks of departure comes in light of scrutiny over his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in federal prison in August while facing charges of sexual trafficking of minors.

In the summer of 2019, the company was caught up in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Epstein previously managed the money of L Brands CEO and founder Les Wexner and two were reportedly once close friends.

L Brands’ board of directors hired an outside law firm to review its relationship with Epstein. In September, Wexner addressed his ties to Epstein at L Brands’ investor meeting.

“At some point in your life we are all betrayed by friends,” Wexner said. “Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved, is something that I’m embarrassed I was even close to. But that is in the past.”

The news of the possible sale of Victoria’s Secret also comes after several years of declining sales and pressure from analysts and shareholders to address concerns over the business.

While Victoria’s Secret is still the largest lingerie retailer in the US, its market share in the US has dropped in recent years and the brand has been accused of losing relevance among shoppers as its oversexualized ads and racy runway shows fail to resonate in the era of #MeToo. 

This came to a head in November, after a Vogue interview with Ed Razek – chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands and one of its longest-standing executives after only Wexner himself – went viral online. Razek told the interviewer that he didn’t think the company’s annual fashion show should feature “transsexuals” because the show is a “fantasy.”

“It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is,” he said in the interview.

His comments sparked an outcry online, which later led to him issuing a formal apology. Razek later stepped down from the company in August.

Lauren Frias contributed to this report.



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