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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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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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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Lloyds chairman to retire in 2014

Category : World News

Lloyds Banking Group, which is 39%-owned by the UK taxpayer, says its chairman, Sir Win Bischoff, will retire before May 2014.

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VIDEO: Branson turns air stewardess after bet

Category : Business, World News

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson got dressed up as a female flight attendant after honouring a bet he lost to Air Asia chief executive Tony Fernandes.

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Man Utd shares fall on Sir Alex news

Category : Business, World News

Manchester United shares fall in New York amid concerns over the impact Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement will have.

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Churchill to feature on new banknote

Category : Business, World News

Sir Winston Churchill will feature on the new design of a banknote which will enter circulation in 2016, the Bank of England announces.

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HBOS bosses remain in firing line

Category : Business, World News

Past HBOS figures are coming under more pressure over the bank’s collapse after ex-chief Sir James Crosby quit his current posts and offered to give up his knighthood.

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James Crosby to give up knighthood and 30% of pension

Category : Business

Request by discredited former HBOS chief comes after MPs’ report slammed his management of bank

• James Crosby’s statement in full

Sir James Crosby, the former boss of HBOS, has asked for his knighthood to be revoked after a scathing report by MPs found that he sowed the “seeds of destruction” at one of Britain’s biggest banks.

Crosby was chief executive of HBOS until 2006, but was described as the architect of a strategy that just two years later led to the bank having to be rescued by Lloyds and eventually bailed out with £20bn of taxpayers’ money.

He said he was “deeply sorry” for his role in HBOS’s failure and asked for his knighthood to be removed. He is believed to be the first person to have voluntarily offered to hand back a knighthood. The 57-year-old chose to give up the honour, granted in 2006, rather than face the prospect of being stripped of it – as Fred Goodwin, the former boss of RBS was last year.

Crosby also offered to hand back 30% of his £580,000-a-year pension. He will still collect £406,000 annually in pension payments – 80 times as much as the average private sector worker. On Tuesday he also quit his £125,000-a-year role on the board of catering company Compass.

Attention is now likely to turn to his successor at HBOS, Andy Hornby, and the chairman, crossbench peer Lord Stevenson, who were also blamed in the damning report.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott said: “James Crosby has done the right thing. Clearly it’s not sustainable for Andy Hornby not to follow.”

Crosby’s decision came hours after David Cameron refused to intervene when MPs from all three main political parties called for action.

The former banker, who is sitting on a pension pot worth more than £20m, said he had “never sought to dissociate” himself from HBOS’s near-failure and its bailout by taxpayers.

“Shortly after I left HBOS, I received the enormous honour of a knighthood in recognition of my own – and many other people’s –contribution to the creation of a company which was then widely regarded as a great success,” he said.

“In view of what has happened subsequently to HBOS, I believe that it is right that I should now ask the appropriate authorities to take the necessary steps for its removal.”

The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards report, published on Friday, had described him as the “architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster”.

The MPs blamed Crosby for putting in place “a culture of perilously high–risk lending” with a lack of controls that “may have given rise to an accident waiting to happen”.

Crosby said the report, which described his misjudgments as “toxic”, made for “very chastening reading”.

The honours forfeiture committee, chaired by the head of the civil service Sir Bob Kerslake, will meet to discuss Crosby’s request for his knighthood to be revoked. A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said although it is believed to be the first time anyone has asked to have their knighthood revoked, Crosby’s request does not preclude the committee formally stripping him of the title if it is told to consider doing so – as happened with

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Bank governor suggests splitting RBS

Category : Business

Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King says there is a case for splitting up state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Barclays to reveal as many as 600 staff earn more than £1m a year

Category : Business

Move will shed light on the earnings of lowest and highest paid staff and could force rival banks to follow suit

Barclays is expected to reveal next week that as many as 600 of its staff are paid more than £1m, in the most detailed disclosure yet about how much its 140,000 employees take home each year.

In a move that could force rival banks to follow suit, Barclays is preparing to report how much its staff earn through a wide range of pay scales, shedding light on the pay of its lowest and highest paid staff.

Under the direction of chairman Sir David Walker, Barclays is to adopt a new way of providing information about pay when it publishes its annual report next week, potentially re-igniting the row over the high bonuses handed out in the City. Analysts estimate as many as 600 Barclays staff could take home more than £1m. It is understood that Royal Bank of Scotland is considering whether to provide more information about pay for 2012.

Walker, a City veteran, was hired to replace Marcus Agius after the Libor rigging scandal in June, which also forced out chief executive Bob Diamond and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier.

In 2009 Walker was commissioned by the Labour government to review standards in banking following the bank bailouts and called for pay to be disclosed in bands above £1m. But when the coalition came to power in 2010 he had backed down, saying such a move needed international co-operation. Walkers’s brackets for bands at the time of his 2009 report were £1m to £2.5m, £2.5m to £5m and in bands of £5m thereafter. The recipients were not to be named.

He appears to be going further in the disclosures that will be made by Barclays by including the lowest pay grades. Shortly after his appointment to the bank’s board in September he was the first witness at the parliamentary commission on banking standards and called for more disclosure of bankers’ pay, suggesting that the pay of the top “50 to 100″ highest paid bankers should be released.

Under UK rules banks are required to publish the pay of all boardroom directors. Since the financial crisis banks have been required to disclose the pay of the five highest paid staff reporting to the chief executive, although this has now been increased to the eight highest paid staff. Other rules require banks to publish information about the number of “code staff” – those responsible for managing and taking risks – and broad details about how they are paid.

For 2011, Barclays said its 238 code staff were paid an average of £1.2m while RBS had 386 code staff earning £820,000 on average.

However, some banks have voluntarily provided details about the number of people taking home more than £1m. HSBC, which will be the first bank to publish its annual report containing pay details for staff when it reports its full-year results on Monday, does not formally publish how many of its staff receive more than £1m. But when asked last year the bank said that 192 were paid £1m or more in 2011. Sir Philip Hampton, the chairman of RBS said in 2011 that “more than 100″ were paid £1m when he was asked about top pay.

Devising the best formula for how bankers – and any top executives – are paid each year is difficult. Barclays is expected to calculate total take-home pay on the basis of salaries, annual bonus and the value of any Long-term incentive plan (Ltip) issued to employees in shares. These Ltips typically last for three years.

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.

Lloyds bonuses ‘will be lowest’

Category : World News

The chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, Sir Winfried Bischoff, says its employees’ bonuses this year will be the “lowest undoubtedly of any bank”.

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