ANAHEIM, CA–(Marketwired – April 25, 2013) –
The National Association of Women Business Owners-Orange County (NAWBO-OC), the premier organization for Orange County women business owners, will host guest speakers California State Senator Mimi Walters and NAWBO National President Diane Tomb at the organization’s May 7th dinner meeting. The meeting will take place at The Pacific Club in Irvine, CA at 6:30PM, with a networking reception beginning at 5:30PM. The event is open to members and non-members.
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwired – April 15, 2013) - Haven and Willerby, a leading holiday home manufacturer, are offering that chance on Saturday 20th April across all of their 34 parks. Drop by for a BBQ and to meet the team and other owners. Have a look around the park’s facilities and have a nosey into some of the new holiday home models!
Originally posted here: Why Not Experience Being a Holiday Home Owner for a Day?
Exclusive: Offshore financial industry leak exposes identities of 1,000s of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world
Millions of internal records have leaked from Britain’s offshore financial industry, exposing for the first time the identities of thousands of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world, from presidents to plutocrats, the daughter of a notorious dictator and a British millionaire accused of concealing assets from his ex-wife.
The leak of 2m emails and other documents, mainly from the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), has the potential to cause a seismic shock worldwide to the booming offshore trade, with a former chief economist at McKinsey estimating that wealthy individuals may have as much as $32tn (£21tn) stashed in overseas havens.
In France, Jean-Jacques Augier, President François Hollande’s campaign co-treasurer and close friend, has been forced to publicly identify his Chinese business partner. It emerges as Hollande is mired in financial scandal because his former budget minister concealed a Swiss bank account for 20 years and repeatedly lied about it.
In Mongolia, the country’s former finance minister and deputy speaker of its parliament says he may have to resign from politics as a result of this investigation.
But the two can now be named for the first time because of their use of companies in offshore havens, particularly in the British Virgin Islands, where owners’ identities normally remain secret.
The names have been unearthed in a novel project by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ], in collaboration with the Guardian and other international media, who are jointly publishing their research results this week.
The naming project may be extremely damaging for confidence among the world’s wealthiest people, no longer certain that the size of their fortunes remains hidden from governments and from their neighbours.
BVI’s clients include Scot Young, a millionaire associate of deceased oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Dundee-born Young is in jail for contempt of court for concealing assets from his ex-wife.
Young’s lawyer, to whom he signed over power of attorney, appears to control interests in a BVI company that owns a potentially lucrative Moscow development with a value estimated at $100m.
Another is jailed fraudster Achilleas Kallakis. He used fake BVI companies to obtain a record-breaking £750m in property loans from reckless British and Irish banks.
As well as Britons hiding wealth offshore, an extraordinary array of government officials and rich families across the world are identified, from Canada, the US, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, China, Thailand and former communist states.
The data seen by the Guardian shows that their secret companies are based mainly in the British Virgin Islands.
Sample offshore owners named in the leaked files include:
• Jean-Jacques Augier, François Hollande’s 2012 election campaign co-treasurer, launched a Caymans-based distributor in China with a 25% partner in a BVI company. Augier says his partner was Xi Shu, a Chinese businessman.
• Mongolia’s former finance minister. Bayartsogt Sangajav set up “Legend Plus Capital Ltd” with a Swiss bank account, while he served as finance minister of the impoverished state from 2008 to 2012. He says it was “a mistake” not to declare it, and says “I probably should consider resigning from my position”.
• The president of Azerbaijan and his family. A local construction magnate, Hassan Gozal, controls entities set up in the names of President Ilham Aliyev’s two daughters.
• The wife of Russia’s deputy prime minister. Olga Shuvalova’s husband, businessman and politician Igor Shuvalov, has denied allegations of wrongdoing about her offshore interests.
•A senator’s husband in Canada. Lawyer Tony Merchant deposited more than US$800,000 into an offshore trust.
He paid fees in cash and ordered written communication to be “kept to a minimum”.
• A dictator’s child in the Philippines: Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, a provincial governor, is the eldest daughter of former President Ferdinand Marcos, notorious for corruption.
• Spain’s wealthiest art collector, Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, a former beauty queen and widow of a Thyssen steel billionaire, who uses offshore entities to buy pictures.
• US: Offshore clients include Denise Rich, ex-wife of notorious oil trader Marc Rich, who was controversially pardoned by President Clinton on tax evasion charges. She put $144m into the Dry Trust, set up in the Cook Islands.
It is estimated that more than $20tn acquired by wealthy individuals could lie in offshore accounts. The UK-controlled BVI has been the most successful among the mushrooming secrecy havens that cater for them.
The Caribbean micro-state has incorporated more than a million such offshore entities since it began marketing itself worldwide in the 1980s. Owners’ true identities are never revealed.
Even the island’s official financial regulators normally have no idea who is behind them.
The British Foreign Office depends on the BVI’s company licensing revenue to subsidise this residual outpost of empire, while lawyers and accountants in the City of London benefit from a lucrative trade as intermediaries.
They claim the tax-free offshore companies provide legitimate privacy. Neil Smith, the financial secretary of the autonomous local administration in the BVI’s capital Tortola, told the Guardian it was very inaccurate to claim the island “harbours the ethically challenged”.
He said: “Our legislation provides a more hostile environment for illegality than most jurisdictions”.
Smith added that in “rare instances …where the BVI was implicated in illegal activity by association or otherwise, we responded swiftly and decisively”.
The Guardian and ICIJ’s Offshore Secrets series last year exposed how UK property empires have been built up by, among others, Russian oligarchs, fraudsters and tax avoiders, using BVI companies behind a screen of sham directors.
Such so-called “nominees”, Britons giving far-flung addresses on Nevis in the Caribbean, Dubai or the Seychelles, are simply renting out their names for the real owners to hide behind.
The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks caused a storm of controversy in 2010 when it was able to download almost two gigabytes of leaked US military and diplomatic files.
The new BVI data, by contrast, contains more than 200 gigabytes, covering more than a decade of financial information about the global transactions of BVI private incorporation agencies. It also includes data on their offshoots in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Cook Islands in the Pacific.
Leeds United owners GFH Capital sell 10% of the club to Bahrain-based International Investment Bank.
Read the rest here: Leeds United secure new investment
Parking charges exemption and removing yellow and red line restrictions will improve take-up, thinktank says
Electric car owners should be allowed to park on yellow and red lines, and park for free, a leading thinktank said on Thursday.
On one of the busiest days of the year for road traffic as people take to their cars for Easter breaks, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said that a ‘green badge’ akin to the blue badge scheme for disable drivers should be introduced to drive take-up of electric vehicles, seen as a key way to cut carbon emissions. Owners of such a badge would be exempt from charges in car parks and permit areas, and allowed to drive for free through congestion charging zones such as London’s and Durham’s and across toll roads such as the M6 toll or Severn bridge.
But the idea was immediately attacked by motoring organisation AA, which suggested the plans could in fact increase greenhouse gas emissions rather than reduce them.
An AA spokesman said: “Allowing them [electric car owners] to park on double yellow lines, which are there mainly to ensure good traffic flow, you may create problems. The disturbing irony is that these low emission vehicles could create more congestion, which would increase emissions from other vehicles and be a bit of an own goal.”
He warned that if electric cars became much more popular, a “saturation point” could be reached. However, he said that cheaper parking charges for such cars would be a good idea to encourage take-up.
Electric car sales increased rapidly in 2012 in part due to the £5,000 government grant launched in 2011, outstripping growth in the wider car industry. But the number registered under a grant scheme last year – about 2,000 – was just a fraction of the 1.9m conventional cars sold in 2012.
The IPPR also suggests fining owners of combustion engine-powered cars parked in front of electric charging points, and that parking charges should go up for normal cars to offset loss revenue for local authorities giving exemptions to electric cars. It even suggests electric cars should potentially be allowed into bus lanes, an idea which has been trialled in Oslo, Norway.
The proposals are contained in an IPPR report due soon on the UK’s automotive industry, whose authors say “the UK is already lagging behind other countries” on electric car ownership because they are perceived to be too expensive and people do not know enough about them. The thinktank also calls for keeping the £5,000 ‘plug-in car grant’, which is due to expire in 2015.
Will Straw, IPPR’s associate director, said: “Although early days, Britain is currently behind other European countries and the US in terms of the take up of electric cars and other ultra low emission vehicles. A ‘green badge’ scheme would help increase demand, giving a much needed boost to the industry and supporting other government policies like the ‘plug in’ grant.
“While we want to encourage innovation from local authorities, they need to act together to make sure their policy is uniform across neighbouring areas. This will provide clarity for drivers about the privileges that they are entitled to as they travel around.”
Deputy PM says he wants to encourage more owners to sell business on to employees
Nick Clegg will propose tax breaks on bonuses handed out to staff in employee-owned firms as part of an attempt to boost what he calls the “John Lewis economy”.
In a speech to the Employee Ownership Association, the deputy prime minister will outline plans to consult in the summer on “a relief on tax on bonuses paid through benefit trusts, where a significant chunk of the business is owned by employees”.
To qualify it would be necessary for the rewards to go to the whole company and not just those at the top.
It is the first time that Clegg has gone so far as to promise a specific consultation on the issue. He will say: “Employee ownership works because it so neatly aligns incentives and puts the workers at the heart of the business.”
The ideas go beyond the budget commitment to provide £50m capital gains tax relief from next year for a majority shareholder to sell his company to his employees.
Justifying that plan, Clegg will say: “Many owners end up selling to the investor who has the largest chequebook but little regard for the traditions, employees and customers of the firm.
“Others hand the business down to their children even if that isn’t what they or their children really want. What we want to encourage is for more owners to sell the business on to those people who know the business inside out, who will go the extra mile, the wider family who have worked to build it up and contribute to its success – in other words, the employees.”
In the past year there has been a 10% growth in the number of employee-owned firms.
In common with the Tories Francis Maude and Oliver Letwin, Clegg is pushing for a diverse model of companies in the UK, including mutuals in the public sector. He will say: “A diversity of business models in an economy is important because it ensures that not all firms are structured to take short-sighted, gung-ho risks on behalf of others.
“Crucially, employee ownership can drive employee engagement by aligning the incentives of ordinary workers and the business. In practical terms, it means lower absenteeism and lower levels of staff turnover. Across public service mutuals we have seen organisations who have decreased their absenteeism by an average 20% since spin-out. Many companies spend thousands of pounds to come up with quirky ideas to motivate their staff, yet fundamentally it is the structure of their company which fails to align incentives.
“The Cass Business School concluded in 2010 that employee-owned businesses are between nine and 19% more productive than traditionally structured companies. So not only does employee ownership help build a more motivated, more committed workforce, but it improves the bottom line too.”
LONDON–(Marketwire – Mar 20, 2013) – Following the success of its recent iPhoneT application launch, back-to-basics spread betting provider Finspreads are prepping the release of a follow-up app for iPadT owners.
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwire – March 18, 2013) - Haven want to make holiday home ownership easier for new owners or upgrading owners in 2013 by introducing the ‘Beat the VAT’ scheme.
Coventry are facing administration after the owners of the Ricoh Arena went to the High Court claiming £1.3m in rent is owed.
Read this article: Coventry facing administration
You repeat the myth that companies “return money to shareholders”. Your report on David Einhorn’s abandonment of his lawsuit against Apple (2 March) is the latest repetition of this fable. One cannot return what was not given. For over 80 years – from Berle & Means’ landmark 1932 book to the recent report by John Kay – reports have unequivocally shown that shareholders provide a trivial amount of corporate finance and in many years are a negative source. Overwhelmingly, shareholders are not investors in companies, but speculators in their shares. I am not condemning that – I trade myself – but I’m not deluded into thinking that I’m investing in business. Describing shareholders as investors is not merely quaint, it is misleading. To paraphrase Adolph Berle: when, for example, I bought shares in Apple from Bardolph, who bought them from Pistol, who bought them at 10,000 removes from Sir John Falstaff – who did in fact invest some money in an original issue of common equity of Apple – my money did not go to Apple, nor did that of the 10,000 or so other previous owners of those shares. A shareholder’s relationship with a company is, in effect, the same as that of a punter on horse races with the owners of the horses.
Professor Brendan McSweeney
Royal Holloway, University of London
• Polls show general satisfaction with the NHS, state education, the BBC, the probation service and so on. Yet this government seems determined to undermine them. But when it comes to banks and financial services, which earn widespread dissatisfaction, they are treated like holy cows.