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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 Under pressure from congressman J.Q. Adams, Congress repealed the bill that authorized the Smithson bequest in state bonds and ordered the US Treasury to take over interest payments.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.
Links: USA, Florida, Arkansas, Bankruptcy, AdamsJQ, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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.
Links: Britain, Bankruptcy, Corp. Scandal, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1889
Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., was founded. During the economic crises in 2008 it became the largest ever US bank to fail.
Links: USA, Washington, Bankruptcy, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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.
Links: USA, New York, NYC, Bankruptcy, Big Money, FordG     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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 
1982 Jun 18
The body of Roberto Calvi (1920–1982), 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 Int’l. Monetary Fund.
Links: Mexico, IMF, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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 Barry’s store Philadelphia, selling discount Univ. of Pennsylvania apparel. In 2008 the 276-store chain faced Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Bankruptcy, Retail     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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.
Links: USA, New Hampshire, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1988 Sep 9
Financial Corp. of America filed for bankruptcy with assets of $33.8 billion.
Links: USA, Bankruptcy, Big Money     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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.
Links: USA, SF, Bankruptcy, Corp. Scandal, Scam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
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 ass’t. 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 nation’s biggest municipal bankruptcy.
Links: USA, California, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 May 15
Dow Corning Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing potentially astronomical expenses from liability lawsuits.
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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 nation’s 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 country’s 4th largest brokerage firm, went bankrupt. Korea’s 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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1997
The last US manufacturer of cellophane went bankrupt due to the cheaper petroleum-based polypropylene.
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1998 Jan 12
In Hong Kong the Peregrine finance house collapsed due to a debt burden to an Indonesian cab company of $260 million.
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1998 Feb 5
A federal judge in Los Angeles threw out Charles Keating's state securities fraud conviction for a second time, saying the trial judge had given jurors flawed instructions. In 1999, on the eve of the retrial of the federal case, Keating entered a plea agreement: he admitted to having committed bankruptcy fraud by extracting $1 million from American Financial Corp. while already anticipating the collapse that happened weeks later; in return, the federal prosecutors dropped all other charges against him and his son, Charles Keating III. Keating, an Arizona land developer, was sentenced to the four years he had already served.
Links: USA, California, Arizona, SEC, Bankruptcy, Fraud     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1998 Sep 7
In Kenya the Central Bank took closed the Reliance Bank due to insufficient deposits. Five businessmen and 4 officials were charged with fraud.
Links: Kenya, Bankruptcy, Fraud     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998 Sep 29
Japanese Leasing, a non-bank affiliate of the failed Long Term Credit Bank, announced that it is filing for bankruptcy with liabilities of 2.2 trillion yen or more than $16 billion. Two other affiliates of the LTCB are expected to suffer the same fate. This was the country's biggest-ever bankruptcy. LTCB was later renamed Shinsei.
Links: Japan, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998 Dec 2
Filanbanco, Ecuador’s largest bank, was turned over to the federal government with net losses of $661 million US dollars. Owners Roberto and William Isaias fled to the US owing $661 million to the state Deposit Guarantee Agency.
Links: Ecuador, Bankruptcy, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1999 Apr
Webvan, a grocery delivery company, went public and raised $1.2 billion. The operation went bankrupt in 2001.
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1999 Dec 21
The US blocked $498 million in loan guarantees to the Russian Tyumen Oil Co. following charges of illegal control of a bankruptcy proceeding.
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1999
Charter Communications, co-founded by Paul Allen of Microsoft, went public. In 2009 the provider of cable-TV, broadband and phone services, faced bankruptcy due to its heavy debt load.
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2000 Mar 17
A bankruptcy plan for Iridium Corp. was approved. Its satellites would be allowed to burn up in the atmosphere.
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2000 Mar 22
Mark Lombardi (b.1951), artist, hung himself the day before his 50th birthday. His work included "BCCI-ICIC-FAB" (1996-2000), a rendering of the financial transactions that led to the collapse to the Bank of Credit & Commerce Int’l. (BCCI), an enterprise backed by Arabs and run by Pakistanis. [see 1991] Another work (1999) recorded the pattern of money and influence in the Iran Contra operation, 1984-1986.
Links: Artist, Money, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2000 Oct 20
In Japan the Kyoei Life Insurance Co. filed for bankruptcy. The failure of the 11th-largest Japanese live insurer marked the biggest corporate failure since WW II.
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2000
Conseco Corp., an insurance and financial services giant, began struggling after an ill-fated acquisition. The Board pushed out CEO Stephen C. Hilbert, who had borrowed over $175 million to load up on company stock. In 2002 the company filed for bankruptcy and pushed Hilbert's debt to over $200 million.
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2000
Bradford College of Massachusetts closed its doors and left debts of almost $20 million.
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2001 Jan 10
American Airlines (AMR) called its plan to acquire Trans World Airlines (TWA) beneficial to consumers. TWA’s board approved plans for bankruptcy and accept the buyout offer. TWA had used St. Louis as a hub.
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2001 Feb 6
Sunbeam, a consumer appliance manufacturer, filed for bankruptcy and rendered worthless a large stake held by financier Ronald Perelman.
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2001 Mar 15
Australia’s HIH Insurance, the country’s 2nd largest insurance firm, was forced into liquidation. This led to a revision of regulatory oversight.
Links: Australia, Bankruptcy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2001 May 25
PG&E filed for permission to award $17.5 million in additional payouts to the management team that guided the company to bankruptcy.
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2001 Aug 11
In Brunei some 10,000 items belonging to Prince Jefri Bolkiah’s bankrupt development corporation went on auction.
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2001 Sep 3
The Mexican government announced the expropriation of 27 of 60 privately owned sugar mills from some $110 million. All were on the brink of bankruptcy.
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2001 Sep 30
ExciteAtHome, a firm that connected cable companies to the Internet, declared bankruptcy. A month later some 764,000 AT&T customers found their Internet access shut down.
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2001 Oct 12
Polaroid Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection.
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2001 Oct 15
Bethlehem Steel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
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