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1557
The influx of New World silver caused bankruptcies in France and Spain.
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1841
The state of Arkansas, facing financial difficulties, stopped paying interest on a $500,000 investment that was dedicated to finance the Smithsonian Institute. Under pressure from congressman J.Q. Adams, Congress repealed the bill that authorized the Smithson bequest in state bonds and ordered the US Treasury to take over interest payments. The principal was lost, but the interest was enough to endow the institute. From 1841-1842 8 states and the territory of Florida defaulted. This led states to set up strong constitutional barriers to debt accumulation.
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1856 Sep 3
The Royal British Bank announced a suspension of business. In 1858 eight directors of the bank were put on trial for conspiracy to defraud the public. A jury found each of the defendants guilty of the charges. They were given sentences ranging from a nominal fine of one shilling to imprisonment for up to one year.
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1889
Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., was founded. During the economic crises in 2008 it became the largest ever US bank to fail.
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1898 Jul 1
The US Congress passed legislation regarding bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Act of 1898, also known as the "Nelson Act," was the first Act of Congress involving bankruptcy that gave companies an option of being protected from creditors. Previous attempts at federal bankruptcy laws had lasted at most a few years.
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1913
Francis Marion Smith and his associates at Realty Estate Syndicate became overextended and were forced to declare bankruptcy. Their SF Bay Area Key System went into receivership and was taken over by a new company in 1923. The Key rail and ferry services continued until 1939 when it began operating on the lower deck of the new SF Bay Bridge.
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1933
The state of Arkansas defaulted on its debt.
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1965
Two Hong Kong banks went bust. Depositor calls on the government to be made good were dismissed.
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1970 Jun 21
Penn Central was forced into bankruptcy. The default caught the market by surprise, largely because commercial paper ratings were in their infancy. Fed chairman Arthur Burns reacted by making discount window loans to banks that lent to CP issuers.
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1974 Jun 26
German regulators forced the troubled Bank Herstatt into liquidation. A number of banks had released payment of Deutsche Marks (DEM) to Herstatt in Frankfurt in exchange for US Dollars (USD) that was to be delivered in New York. Because of time-zone differences, Herstatt ceased operations between the times of the respective payments. The counterparty banks did not receive their USD payments.
Links: Germany, Bankruptcy, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1975 Dec 6
The US Congress authorized a $2.3 billion emergency loan to save New York City from bankruptcy.
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1975 Dec 9
President Ford signed a $2.3 billion seasonal loan-authorization that officials of New York City and State said would prevent a city default.
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1979 Sep 7
The Chrysler Corporation petitioned the United States government for $1.5 billion in loan guarantees to avoid bankruptcy.
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1980 Jan 7
Pres. Carter signed the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act. Financier James Wolfensohn persuaded 400 private lenders to restructure their debt so that a $1 billion loan from the US government could prevent Chrysler from sliding into bankruptcy.
Links: USA, Cars, Bankruptcy, CarterJ     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981
Joshua B. Jeyaretnam (1926-2008), a Workers Party lawmaker, became Singapore's first opposition politician to be elected to Parliament. He was driven to bankruptcy in 2001 by defamation lawsuits brought by PM Lee Kuan Yew, his son his son Lee Hsien Loong, and Goh Chok Tong, who served as prime minister after the elder Lee stepped down in 1990 until the son took over in 2004.
Links: Singapore, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1982 Jun 18
The body of Roberto Calvi (1920Ė1982), an Italian banker, was found hanging from scaffolding beneath Blackfriars Bridge in the financial district of London. Calvi, director of Banco Ambrosiano, allegedly hanged himself following the fraudulent bankruptcy of the bank. Calvi's clothing was stuffed with building bricks, and he was carrying around $15,000 of cash in three different currencies. Calvi, dubbed by the press as "God's Banker" due to his close association with the Vatican, had gone missing on June 10. In 1992 Carlo De Benedetti, the chairman of Olivetti SpA, was convicted for contributing to the bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano. In 1996 courts upheld his conviction and that of 30 others. In 2003 RAI state television said prosecutors believed the Mafia killed Roberto Calvi because he lost their money and knew too much about their operations. In 2005 a trial began for 5 people in the murder of Calvi. In 2007 a jury acquitted all 5 defendants charged with the murder of Calvi.
Links: Italy, Britain, Vatican, Suicide, Mafia, Bankruptcy, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Jul 5
Penn Square Bank of Oklahoma went bankrupt as wildcat oil well loans went bad.
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1982 Nov 10
IMF lent Mexico $3.8 billion due to threatened bankruptcy. The Mexican economy began to be run under the guidance of the World Bank and the Intíl. Monetary Fund.
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1982
The Manville Corp., formerly Johns Manville, filed for bankruptcy as it faced millions of dollars in claims over asbestos-related health problems. By 1996 it was operating as the Schuller Corporation of Denver.
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1982
Silicon Graphics was founded by Stanford engineering professor James Clark. It made sophisticated computers for modeling. Its first product, the IRIS graphics terminal ,was released in 1983. The company went public in 1986. Clark left the company in 1994 to start Netscape. In 2006 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2009 the company again filed for Bankruptcy and sold itself to Rackable systems from $25 million.
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1984
Peter Cartwright founded Calpine Corp., an energy company, in San Jose, Ca. He stepped down as CEO in 2005 as the company faced possible bankruptcy.
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1985
Bernard Arnault bought Dior and took the company out of bankruptcy court.
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1985
Berry Prevor and Steven Shore of Long Island, NY, opened their first Steve and Barryís store Philadelphia, selling discount Univ. of Pennsylvania apparel. In 2008 the 276-store chain faced Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
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1986
1995
About half of the US 3,234 savings and loans closed up shop, following a failed expansion into consumer real-estate lending. Congress responded by creating the Resolution Trust Corp. (1989) to make depositors whole and clean up the industry at a cost of at least $124 billion.
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1988 Jan 28
Public Service of New Hampshire filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This was the first American utility since the Depression to go bankrupt, mostly because of unexpected costs of a nuclear plant.
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1988 Sep 9
Financial Corp. of America filed for bankruptcy with assets of $33.8 billion.
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1988
Connie "Chip" Armstrong Jr., former firefighter, acquired Hamilton Taft & Co., a SF payroll tax firm, after he discovered that company officials had diverted payroll tax money to themselves. He filed suit, acquired the company and proceeded to embezzle $85 million. The company went bankrupt in 1991 and he was convicted in 1997.
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1989 Mar 9
Eastern Airlines filed for bankruptcy.
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1994 Dec 6
Orange County, Calif., filed for bankruptcy protection due to investment losses of about $2 billion. Orange County, Ca., filed bankruptcy after losing nearly $1.7 billion on risky investments [derivatives]. In 1997 a former assít. treasurer, Matthew Raabe, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for diverting $88.5 million in public funds to conceal investment schemes that led to the nationís biggest municipal bankruptcy.
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1995 May 15
Dow Corning Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing potentially astronomical expenses from liability lawsuits.
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1996
1997
In Bulgaria fourteen banks went bankrupt in a little over a year.
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1997 Jan 24
In South Korea the Hanbo Steel Group announced that it would file for bankruptcy. It was charged that there were irregularities in large government loans to the company.
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1997 May 13
The pension crises in Poland was described. One-fifth of the GDP was being used for pensions and the state social security office, ZUS, was feared to be facing bankruptcy without quick reforms.
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1997 Jul 7
Montgomery Wards, the nationís largest privately owned retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
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1997 Oct
In Nevada a US district court convicted Jose B. Uribe for attempting to swap world famous paintings for 110 pounds of cocaine. At least some of the paintings, that included work by Matisse, Renoir and Dali, were said to be owned by entertainer Wayne Newton. Newton, embroiled in a bankruptcy suit, initially denied ownership but later changed his mind and claimed ownership.
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1997 Nov 24
In Japan the Yamaichi Securities firm, the nation's 4th largest, announced a shutdown due to debts totaling $24 billion. It was the third, after Sanyo Securities and Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, Japanese financial company to collapse in a month.
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1997 Dec 8
In Thailand the government announced that it will liquidate 56 of 58 insolvent finance companies shut down by the Central Bank earlier in the year. The move was part of the conditions of the $17.2 billion IMF bailout.
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1997 Dec 12
In South Korea Dongsuh Securities, the countryís 4th largest brokerage firm, went bankrupt. Koreaís stock index fell to its lowest level in 10 years. The central bank said it would pump $6.5 billion in emergency loans into domestic financial institutions to resuscitate the financial system.
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