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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Press intrusion: Don’t name suspects in the media until charged, urges MP

Category : Business

Robert Buckland calls for reporting restrictions to be imposed as controversy over ‘secret arrests’ grows

Reporting restrictions should be imposed to prevent the routine naming of suspects by police until they have been charged, a prominent Conservative MP has urged. As the debate over so-called “secret arrests” intensifies following the naming of Rolf Harris last week, Robert Buckland, a member of parliament’s influential joint committee on human rights, has called for media organisations that name individuals without seeking permission from magistrates to face punishment.

His comments come as Acpo, the Association of Chief Police Officers, is drafting fresh guidance for police forces which is likely to advise against confirming the identity of those who have been detained.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, has also called for the “arrest anonymity” to be enshrined in law but admits she is not in favour of jailing journalists or bloggers.

Buckland, a barrister and the MP for south Swindon, was a prominent supporter of a private member’s bill put forward by the Conservative MP Anna Soubry in June 2010 that would have criminalised the identification of anyone who had been arrested without first seeking official permission. It proposed a punishment of up to six months in prison. Soubry eventually withdrew her anonymity (arrested persons) bill when the government failed to support it.

“There is a case for conferring greater anonymity [on suspects],” says Buckland. “There should be reporting restrictions but there should also be a mechanism which would allow reporters to request that they are lifted.”

The media would have to make an application before magistrates if they wanted to make an application, Buckland proposes. Media practices have changed, he says, and in the past newspapers were more prepared to talk about an “18 year old man” being arrested rather than identifying suspects before charges are brought.

Buckland adds: “If you think about someone who might be wrongly accused … that [accusation] is going to be on Google for the rest of his life and he will never be able to get away from it.

“I don’t want to be too draconian, but there would have to be some sanction [to prevent newspapers naming those arrested without permission]. The need for some reform is pressing. I have had conversations with the attorney general [Dominic Grieve QC] about this.”

Crook also wants the law changed. “There should be a presumption that people have anonymity at the point of arrest,” she says. “And there should be a proper decision-making process if there’s a reason to reveal their identity.

“People are innocent until proven guilty. It has to have the force of law. I’m reluctant to attach a criminal sanction to it and I don’t want to see more people going to prison – journalists or anyone else. People’s lives have been blighted when they have been named and [subsequently never charged]. It’s not just high-profile cases.”

Following the coining of the phrase “secret courts” to describe the restricted evidence hearings sanctioned by the justice and security bill, the term “secret arrests” is gaining currency.

Few of those involved in the latest debate sparked by comments in Lord Justice Leveson’s report, however, are suggesting that the media should be formally banned from naming suspects arrested by the police.

Stricter enforcement by the attorney general of contempt of court powers has resulted in a series of prosecutions of newspapers and may have reduced the political pressure for fresh criminal sanctions against the media.

The speculation has arisen from continuing concerns over the impact of media reporting on cases such as that involving the retired Bristol teacher Christopher Jefferies.

Jefferies was vilified by the popular press after being erroneously arrested in December 2010 for the murder of 25-year-old Joanna Yeates, a tenant in the building he owned. His name, he claimed, was disclosed by police to newspapers.

In Leveson’s report on the culture, practices and ethics of the press, the appeal court judge suggested that guidance about releasing names needs to be strengthened.

“I think that it should be made abundantly clear,” he wrote, “that save in exceptional and clearly identified circumstances (for example, where there may be an immediate risk to the public), the names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released to the press nor the public.”

The Law Commission, which last November put out proposals on refining the contempt of court laws for consultation, did not agree. It called for “greater certainty and consistency” in the way that police forces released information about those arrested.

But, it proposed, suspects should generally be identifed following a media request. “We consider that such policy should establish that, generally, the names of arrestees will be released,” it said, “but that appropriate safeguards will need to be put in place to ensure that some names are withheld, for example, where it would lead to the unlawful identification of a complainant, where the arrestee is a youth or where an ongoing investigation may be hampered.”

Spurred on by the debate, Acpo decided it should clarify its current guidance which allows police forces to adopt different approaches on whether or not to identify those detained.

Andy Trotter, chief constable of British Transport Police and Acpo’s lead officer on media policy, told the Mail on Sunday earlier this month that there should be a presumption of not confirming identities: “We are suggesting that people who have been arrested should not be named and only the briefest of details should be given.” Acpo is drafting fresh guidance which will eventually have to be approved by the College of Policing and chief constables.

Two senior judges, Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Tugendhat, responding on behalf of the senior judiciary to the Law Commission’s consultation, recently endorsed Trotter’s and Leveson’s preference for withholding the identification of those arrested save in exceptional circumstances.

They commented: “If there were a policy that the police should consistently publish the fact that a person has been arrested, in many cases that information would attract substantial publicity, causing irremediable damage to the person’s reputation.”

The Home Office insists it is not involved in drafting the new Acpo guidelines and declined to comment on Leveson’s proposals on the grounds that it was not a “full-blown recommendation” in his report.

The free speech organisation Index on Censorship has expressed alarm at the prospect of “secret arrests” where officers decline to confirm identities of those detained. Its chief executive, Kirsty Hughes, says: “‘De facto anonymity for people who have been arrested would reverse the principle of open justice that we have in the UK and could lead to people being arrested and taken into custody without anyone knowing about it. Anonymity may be appropriate in certain circumstances, but sweeping powers for secrecy should not be the norm.”

Key libel reform thwarted as Conservatives block defamation bill

Category : Business

Conservatives succeeded in blocking a Lords amendment to tighten up laws which allow corporations to stifle free speech

The Conservatives have succeeded in their attempt to water down defamation laws which would have prevented large companies ranging from McDonald’s to Tesco from suing their critics unless they could prove financial losses.

The Conservatives won a vote in the House of Commons to remove a House of Lords amendment to the defamation bill to tighten up the laws which critics say allow corporations to stifle free speech.

But during the Commons debate, the justice secretary Helen Grant promised to reconsider the amendment after the vote to get the support of the Liberal Democrats.

But Labour denounced Grant’s concession as a sham and it is almost certain the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester, who has led a three-year battle for libel reform, will move to reinstate the amendment when the bill returns to the Lords.

After losing the vote 298 to 230, shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: “The government gave the impression there would be last minute concessions but this has proved false.”

Labour MP Paul Farrelly said “the issue here is not just about big corporations which want to bully like McDonalds intimidating the little people just because they could … it’s also about the desire of big businesses to silence its critics”. He said big corporations used the libel laws “to take journalist out of the game”.

Tracey Brown from Sense about Science which has campaigned for doctors and scientists who have been sued after they criticised big health companies said she was “deeply disappointed” the clause was removed but that support from many MPs on the issue had led to the government concession.

The amendment also included a clause, now struck out, which would have banned local councils and their subcontractors from suing anyone who criticised them in their performance of public duties, paid for by the taxpayer.

Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley made an impassioned plea with his fellow politicians not to vote to remove this clause said that although case law had established, under the so-called Derbyshire principle, that councils could not sue, this did not extend to private companies such as Atos Healthcare, a company employed by the department of work and pensions, which has threatened disability blogs and websites with legal action.

Agreeing with Bottomley, Khan said: “Just because a school, prison or hospital is run by a private company doesn’t mean it should be insulated from public criticism.”

English PEN, whose campaign for libel reform has been backed by high-profile figures including Stephen Fry and William Boyd said: “We’re depending on the Lords now to deliver the reform that all the parties signed up to.

“It’s essential that companies are no longer allowed to exploit libel law to bully whistleblowers into silence. This has always been a key demand for the campaign.”

Whichever way the Leveson vote goes, it’s poison

Category : Business

The whole sorry saga of press regulation has been undermined by hidden agendas

There has been too much hate, and it has undermined the whole point of the exercise whichever way Monday’s votes go. Tabloid journalists hate upmarket journalists, and both are variously hated in turn by struggling editors in our regional press. Broadcasters hate print journalists; and vice versa. Ed and Nick hate David, and vice versa. Hacks hate lawyers, grubbing for fees. The campaigners of Hacked Off – many of them much richer, courtesy of Rupert Murdoch’s £100m compensation fund – want their pound of flesh come what may. Increasingly, ministers and shadow ministers hate taking their hectoring calls. And – remind me again – what was the point of the whole Leveson parade? To restore trust, public trust, in the press. Forget it.

Our politicians – the ones Lord Justice Leveson wanted removed from the action – can’t find common ground. It’s far easier to slag off opponents and play wrecking games. The press – never a cohesive industry anyway – hasn’t been allowed to get its own act together and so has inevitably fractured into its component parts of mutual resentment. And there is no realistic way forward here.

If Cameron and his Conservatives win through, they’ll be broad-brush denounced by Labour, Lib Dems, the serried victims and their lawyers. Since “statutory underpinning”, in its shorthand, barely understood way, has become the litmus test of proper regulation in the public mind, any body that fails to include it upfront – even this commodiously detailed charter – will automatically be scorned as a press barons’ pleaser, a fudge, a catalogue of supposed betrayal. The corrosion of hate.

But if Ed and Nick carry the day for their charter version, then what? Goodbye to relatively speedy answers. Hello to what’s called “full” Leveson implementation – except that Sir Brian never delivered a full bundle of answers himself. The most vexatious issues – intrinsically asking what “independence” means in a quangoid Britain where the same cast of great and good characters, retired judges, retired permanent secretaries, Oxbridge dignitaries, shift sweetly from one padded committee seat to the next – weren’t addressed. To underpin real press support for a new self-regulator, you have first to decide what exactly that body is, who appoints it, how it can be vetted and kept up to the mark. But consensus there (as built by Lord Hunt at the residual Press Complaints Commission) will fracture as hate poisons civilised discussion.

Hunt’s timetable (a new organisation up and running by 1 July) won’t endure if Miliband and Clegg have their way, because much of his plan can’t realistically survive Cameron defeat. Why should the local press saddle itself with the cost of arbitration tribunals when it has done nothing wrong? Why should the press as a whole pay for regulation by a commission it has no real say in appointing, administering a code it has no clear say in drawing up?

Miliband victory opens the door to two wholly unwelcome things: many more months of threat and disillusion – or a simple refusal to go any further, leaving parliament to devise and install its own statutory press regulation regime if it so wishes: an Ofpress to match Ofcom. There have always been voices on newspaper backbenches saying leave regulation to the law itself, to articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, just as the US relies on its first amendment. They may be heard again as this miserable row snarls on.

The problem, from beginning to end of this sad, sliding saga, has lain with the poison of hidden agendas. It began intrinsically when the politicians of 65 years ago, used to the deference of wartime censorship, sought to put a newly unruly press back in its box. It has gathered a whole sub-industry of specialist lawyers serving their own needs along the way. The press sees exposing political crookery as one of its jobs. The politicians – read the new Bribery Act that would surely have stopped the Daily Telegraph’s investigation of MPs expenses – have a different job in mind. Was Leveson’s array of victimhood presented as current, transparent and fair? The latest round of arrests, covering alleged events in 2003-4, come coated with dust yet again.

There could, without Leveson, have been a substantial remaking of press self-regulation long since. There could, with a little statesmanship from the politicians, have been an agreement that had some chance of short-term success (until sabotaged by the galloping internet). But it’s precious hard to see even modestly durable hope now. You can’t restore trust if you don’t trust anyone around you.

Spanish eviction rules ‘unlawful’

Category : World News

The European Court of Justice rules that mortgage laws in Spain are too hard on borrowers who default.

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Supermarkets and shoppers can keep British farming alive | letters

Category : Business

Demand for British food can shift prospects for farmers

Jamie Doward’s review of the state of British farming reminds us that the challenges of the food system are broader than those exposed by the horsemeat scandal (“British farming in crisis as crop losses from ‘relentless’ flooding pile up woes“, News). He rightly asks whether demand for British food can cause a long-term shift in the prospects for British farming.

It’s essential we as shoppers look to a wider set of values, including who produces our food and how, as well as the effects on local businesses and the town and countryside. Buying local food is one way out of this impasse. But we can’t leave it to shoppers. Big retail sells over 90% of the food we eat at home. Until government policy starts to support greater retail diversity, supermarkets must assume the main responsibility for paying food producers a fair price that takes into account the cost of production to give British farming a future.

Graeme Willis
Campaign to Protect Rural England, London SE1

Charter for cover-ups

We are deeply concerned by the justice and security bill. It was drafted in response to legal cases involving allegations of UK complicity in secret rendition, torture and inhumane treatment. The bill is a charter for cover-ups. Neither the public, nor the victims, nor their lawyers nor the media will have a right to know.

Court records could be kept secret forever. Secret courts could be extended to undercover police officers, deaths of suspects in custody and deaths in the military. The measures in the bill are an attack on open and accessible justice, they threaten the right to a fair trial and the rule of law. Journalism at its best uncovers the truth and the bill intends to hide the evidence. We are asking MPs to make their vote count and oppose the secret courts proposals in the justice and security bill next week.

Michelle Stanistreet
General secretary, National Union of Journalists (UK)
Frances O’Grady
general secretary, Trades Union Congress (TUC)
Clare Algar
executive director, Reprieve
Gavin Millar QC
Doughty Street chambers

Roy Greenslade
professor of journalism, City University
Kate Allen
director, Amnesty International
Kirsty Hughes
CEO, Index on Censorship

Shami Chakrabarti
director, Liberty
Gillian Slovo
president of English PEN
Angela Patrick
director of human rights policy, Justice
Keith Best
chief executive officer, Freedom from Torture
Agnès Callamard
executive director, Article 19
Jim Boumelha
president, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Chris Frost
chair of NUJ ethics council and head of journalism, Liverpool John Moore University
Mike Jempson
director, The MediaWise Trust, and senior journalism lecturer, University of the West of England
Lawrence McNamara
reader in law, University of Reading
Noe Mendelle
director, Scottish Documentary Institute, Edinburgh College of Art/University of Edinburgh
David Baines
lecturer in journalism, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University
Paul Lashmar
lecturer and convenor, MA international journalism, Brunel University
Tom O’Malley
department of theatre, film and television, Aberystwyth University
Natalie Fenton
professor of media and communications, Goldsmiths University
Julian Petley
professor of screen media, School of Arts, Brunel University
Vian Bakir
senior lecturer in journalism, School of Creative Studies and Media, Bangor University
Angela Phillips
reader in journalism, convenor MA journalism, Goldsmiths University
Delwyn Swingewoo
senior lecturer in journalism, University of Central Lancashire
Jackie Newton
senior journalism lecturer, Liverpool John Moore University
Richard Lance Keeble
acting head, Lincoln School of Journalists
Hazel Barrett
senior lecturer, department of journalism, Liverpool John Moore University
Kate Heathman
senior lecturer, Liverpool Screen School
Charles Brown
course leader, MA in media management, University of Westminster, and chair of UCU Harrow branch
Bronwyn Jones
lecturer and PhD researcher, Liverpool John Moores University
Lieve Gies
department of media and communication, University of Leicester
Lucy Brown
programme leader MA film and TV, University of Hertfordshire
Michael Pickering
Communication Research Centre, Loughborough University
Ayo A Oyeleye
media lecturer, Birmingham School of Media
Marie Gillespie
professor of sociology, The Open University
Hugh Mackay
deputy associate dean and senior lecturer in sociology, The Open University in Wales
Sally R Munt
director, Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies
Raminder Kaur
School of Global Studies, University of Sussex
Damian Carney
principal lecturer, School of Law, University of Portsmouth
Ian Cram
professor of comparative constitutional law, School of Law, University of Leeds
Alastair Mullis
professor of law, School of Law, University of East Anglia
Andrew Scott
senior lecturer, Department of Law, London School of Economics
R Craufurd Smith
senior lecturer, School of Law, University of Edinburgh
Fiona Fairweather
dean, School of Law and Social Sciences, University of East London
Andrew Cumbers
University of Glasgow
Farah Mendlesohn
Anglia Ruskin University
Nigel Williams
TUC programme co-ordinator, Ruskin College
Nick Clark
senior research fellow, Working Lives Research Institute
Vir Bala Aggarwal
chairperson, Department of Mass Communication, Himachal Pradesh University Shimla (India)
Len McCluskey
general secretary, Unite the Union
Gerry Morrissey
general secretary, BECTU
John Smith
general secretary, Musicians’ Union
Mark Serwotka
general secretary, PCS
Bob Crow
general secretary, RMT
Sally Hunt
general secretary, UCU
Mick Whelan
general secretary, Aslef
Steve Murphy
general secretary, UCATT
Rob Monks
general secretary, URTU
Tony Burke
assistant general secretary, Unite the Union

Harry Fletcher
assistant general secretary, NAPO
Frank Ward
assistant general secretary, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Megan Dobney
regional secretary, SERTUC
Jon Rogers
NEC member, Unison (personal capacity)
Karen Reissmann
NEC member, Unison (personal capacity)
Dave Green
national official, FBU
Matt Foot
solicitor, Birnberg Peirce Solicitors
Peter Noorlander
chief executive, Media Legal Defence Initiative
Nani Jansen
senior legal counsel, Media Legal Defence Initiative
Anthony Hudson
Doughty Street Chambers
Conor McCarthy
Doughty Street Chambers
Guy Vassall-Adams
Doughty Street Chambers
Mark Stephens
CBE and vice president, Commonwealth Lawyers Association
Des Freedman
chair, Media Reform Coalition
Maurice Frankel
director, Campaign for Freedom of Information
Barry White
national organiser, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
Peter Tatchell
director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Milica Pesic
Media Diversity Institute
Kate Hudson
general secretary, CND
Lynsey German
convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Jeremy Hardy
Jo Shaw
federal executive member, Liberal Democrats (personal capacity)
Martin Tod
Liberal Democrat federal executive (personal capacity)
Mark Pack
Liberal Democrat federal policy committee (personal capacity)
Stephen Tall
co-editor of Lib Dem Voice (personal capacity)
Neal Lawson
chair, Compass
Natalie Bennett
leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Pluto Press
Hilary Wainwright
editor, Red Pepper magazine
Richard Bagley
editor, Morning Star
Mike Dodd
editor, Media Lawyer
Nick Davies
special correspondent, The Guardian
Amelia Hill
special investigations correspondent, The Guardian
David Leigh
investigations executive editor, The Guardian
David Rose
special investigations for the Mail on Sunday and contributing editor for Vanity Fair
Liam Clarke
political editor, Belfast Telegraph
Gerry Carson
Carson Public Affairs and Media
Kary Stewart
multimedia producer, Ignite Creative Production
Kathryn Whitfield
production editor, Observer News
Erika Singh
senior editorial administrator, Guardian
Jane Dudman
editor, the Guardian’s Public Leaders Network
Neil Willis
production editor
Jamie Doward
senior reporter, Observer
Martin Shipton
chief reporter
Séamus Dooley
Irish secretary, NUJ
Adam Christie
joint vice president, NUJ
Eamonn McCann
NUJ NEC member
Paula Geraghty
NUJ NEC member
Brian Morgan
Welsh executive council and vice chair, Cardiff and South East Wales NUJ branch
Jason Parkinson
chair, London Photographers NUJ branch
Anton McCabe
secretary, Derry and North West Ireland NUJ branch
Phil Turner
vice chair, South Yorks NUJ branch
Don Smith
welfare officer, Dublin Freelance NUJ Branch

Focus on Arts Council funding

Peter Bazalgette, the head of Arts Council England, needs to consider the “portfolio funded organisations” mentioned in last week’s article (“Arts funding is ‘investment’ not ‘subsidy’, insists Bazalgette). The 698 nationally funded organisations generate £2 for every £1 the Arts Council gives – seed funding, as he terms it.

This is true of the Tate galleries, where 62% of expenditure came from self-generated funds, but far from the case at Newlyn art gallery in Cornwall, which produces considerably less than 30% from self-generated funds using the same definitions as those at the Tate.

Another way of putting it is that it costs the taxpayer nearly £10 to get each visitor through the doors. Bazalgette needs to study the effectiveness of all Arts Council funding and to direct funds to those organisations that truly engage the public.

Bernard Evans

I know why women fail

The representation of women in politics will never be improved until political parties deal harshly with the young aspirant professional male politicians, who will go to great lengths to prohibit skilled, able women from being selected. (“Revealed: shocking absence of women from UK public life“, News). I know this from the tribulations I endured in the 1980s-90s when I dared to aspire to become a candidate in a winnable seat. Unlike our male colleagues, women have to be prepared to start at the bottom, and go for unwinnable seats, or byelections. (I was Labour candidate in Selby in 1983, York Euro, 1984, Ryedale, 1986, Stockport, 1987, plus numerous constituencies I was invited to as the token woman.)

Considering that party leaders and general management committees are in the main male, I see no hope in any possible advancement. I have never agreed with women-only shortlists but maybe this is the only way.

Shirley Haines

System of revenge, not justice

I was very moved to read Alex Clark’s article about Patricia Machin (“One woman’s true compassion is a lesson for us all“, Comment).

I lost a daughter in a car accident nearly 25 years ago. She was a beautiful, intelligent 16-year-old girl and she was sitting in the boot space of an overcrowded car. The car went out of control and hit a tree and she was thrown on to the road. She suffered a grave head injury and her life support was turned off several days later.

The young driver was consequently convicted of dangerous driving and received a prison sentence. Both I and her father had written to the court to say this was not what we wanted. His driving may not have been perfect and the car was overcrowded, a fact known to my daughter as she entered the car. He was neither drunk or on drugs. If no one had been injured it would have passed with very little consequences.

I feel that we have a revenge, not a justice, system, which punishes outcomes not actions. Nor do I believe that prison alters others’ driving or influences their behaviour in any way. I

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Trials collapsing thanks to ‘shambolic’ privatisation of translation services

Category : Business

Ministry of Justice and Capita-owned interpreting firm condemned by MPs as courts count the cost of no-shows

The privatisation of court interpreting services has been “shambolic”, MPs warn saying it has caused more trials to collapse and suspects to be remanded unnecessarily in custody.

In a damning report on the decision to hand a near-monopoly of courtroom interpreting in England and Wales to the company Applied Language Solutions (ALS), the justice select committee criticises the Ministry of Justice for failing to understand the complexity of the

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Barclay brothers accused of ‘illegal strategy’ to dominate Mayfair hotel

Category : Business

Former attorney general Lord Goldsmith says the twins carried out ‘grotesque’ attempt to freeze out a major investor

A flurry of complex deals struck by the Barclay brothers to gain a controlling stake in the £1bn Mayfair hotel group behind Claridge’s involved a “quite astonishing, even grotesque,” attempt to freeze out major investor Paddy McKillen, three appeal court judges were told on Tuesday.

Lord Goldsmith QC, the former attorney general, accused Sir David and Sir Frederick — best known as the owners of the Ritz and Telegraph newspapers — of deploying a clever, but ultimately illegal, strategy to dominate the hotel business.

The strategy, explained Goldsmith, counsel for McKillen, involved side payments to the family of fallen property tycoon Derek Quinlan, a former business partner of McKillen, who was drowning in debt.

Quinlan, it was suggested, was important to the Barclays because he still owned a one-third stake in Coroin — the company behind Claridge’s and sister hotels The Berkeley and The Connaught — even though the value of his shares was less than the borrowings against which they were pledged.

Goldsmith is seeking to overturn a judgment handed down by Mr Justice David Richards last August which found there was nothing improper about a pact entered into by the Barclays and Quinlan. The judge ruled he saw no evidence suggesting advances of £1.86m and €1m from the brothers, between late 2010 and early 2012, were part of a contract struck with the Quinlans.

The Barclay twins declined to appear in court during the 30-day hearing last year, but in a witness statement — released to the Guardian only after the intervention of Justice Richards — Sir Frederick insisted financial assistance had been offered to Quinlan’s family purely out of friendship. “Helping the Quinlan family in their time of need was something that I will never regret and I would not hesitate to do it again if necessary, regardless of anything to do with Coroin [the disputed hotel group], which is irrelevant to how I feel on this issue.”

He added: “My brother and I deeply resent the suggestion that we have been party to an unlawful conspiracy,” noting that they had been family friends with the Quinlans for some years.

At the heart of the dispute is an agreement between Coroin shareholders which had been designed to remove concerns that one of their number might sell to an outside shareholder who might come to dominate the business. Under so-called “pre-emption provisions” in the agreement, any shareholder wishing to sell shares must first offer them to existing investors.

At the start of 2011, however, the Barclays effectively acquired its first stake in Coroin from the wealthy Green family from Manchester. McKillen later launched a failed legal battle claiming that these shares should have first been offered to him and other existing shareholders under the pre-emption rules. That legal action was defeated in the courts because the Barclays had in fact acquired the Green’s ownership vehicle, a Cyprus-based company, rather than the Coroin shares themselves.

Shortly after acquiring the Greens’ interest, the Barclays struck a series of deals with Quinlan that effectively gave them control — though, crucially, without officially purchasing the shares. This has given them effective control of Coroin, with a two-thirds holding.

Goldsmith on Tuesday suggested Justice Richards’ findings were flawed because they did not properly consider the Barclays’ actions in their entirety, nor their practical impact. “A deliberate and calculated attempt was made to circumvent the pre-emption provisions and the practical effect of the steps taken was the same as if Mr Quinlan had sold his shares,” he said. “It is quite astonishing – I dare even to say grotesque – that he [McKillen] was not given the opportunity to bid for Mr. Quinlan’s shares under the pre-emption provisions.”

Goldsmith added that the strategy to win control of Coroin ought to be considered in its totality, and not “in a blinkered and unrealistic way”. He suggested Justice Richards’ compartmentalised approach had been “very reminiscent, the court may think, of the way that tax avoidance schemes used to be considered. What he did not do is to consider the clauses commercially or purposively.”.

The brothers’ chief lieutenants, led by Sir Frederick’s former son-in-law Richard Faber, have made no secret of the fact that, in their efforts to win control of Coroin, they took particular care not to trigger pre-emption provisions.

The appeal hearing continues.

US sues S&P over ratings ‘fraud’

Category : Business, World News

The US Justice Department confirms it will sue ratings agency Standard and Poor’s for allegedly “defrauding investors” before the financial crisis.

Go here to see the original: US sues S&P over ratings ‘fraud’

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Defendants in Libor-fixing case may be named, court rules

Category : Business

More than 100 employees or former employees of Barclays failed in a bid to prevent their names becoming public

More than 100 bankers have failed in a bid to prevent their names being revealed during preliminary hearings of a high court case centred on alleged rigging of the key London interbank offered rate (Libor) by Barclays staff.

The bankers – employees or former employees of Barclays – wanted their identities kept secret during pre-trial hearings in London. But a high court judge ruled that identifying them was in the public interest after objections raised by the media.

More than a dozen firms are airing grievances with Barclays in litigation which lawyers call a “test case”.

Bosses at companies which run care homes are suing the bank after claiming that Barclays sold financial products without telling them that the inter-bank lending rate on which they were based was likely to have been “undermined” by manipulation.

Barclays, which was fined for “misconduct and wrongdoing” in relation to manipulation of Libor, disputes the companies’ allegations.

Mr Justice Flaux said open justice was a “fundamental principle” of the legal system and bankers had not established that their case justified him making an exception to that rule.

He said 106 people – who were employees or former employees of Barclays – had made the application and that 24 of those were on a “shortlist” of people believed to have been “involved”.

The email accounts of others had been provided to regulators investigating alleged Libor manipulation. Mr Justice Flaux said the Libor case would examine “how far up the chain” the responsibility went.

“That there was manipulation of Libor is clear because that is what the regulator has found and there has been a whopping great fine,” he told the court. “The issue is how far up the chain did this go.”

Barclays, which is defending the case, said the naming of individuals could be unfair: “The fact that someone is named in hundreds of thousands of pages of documents following a wide-ranging three-year investigation in which no stone was left unturned does not necessarily mean that that person was involved in any wrongdoing.

“Many entirely innocent individuals may be referred to in the documents underpinning the settlements.”

A trial is expected to take place later this year or next year.

Victims of Crime in Yukon Benefit from Government of Canada Funding

Category : Stocks, World News

WHITEHORSE, YUKON–(Marketwire – Jan. 19, 2013) - Today, the Government of Canada announced it has allocated more than $600,000 in program funding to help victims of crime in Yukon. The announcement was made by the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Minister Toews was joined by the Honourable Mike Nixon, Minister of Justice for Yukon; and Ryan Leef, M.P. for Yukon.

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