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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com 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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Councils seeking ‘cash in the attic’

Category : Business, World News

Local councils could be sitting on £250bn in hidden assets

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Kipper Williams: Bank of England fears that financial system needs more capital

Category : Business

Bank’s financial stability review calls on the FSA to conduct a ‘proper valuation’ of bank assets amid concerns that they are sitting on hidden losses

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Man behind MegaFon pictured with alleged Russian gangsters

Category : Business

• Telecoms company’s London flotation slips
• Post-Communist Moscow connections emerge

The photograph is low quality and appears similar to any taken of a group of male friends after dinner in post-Communist Moscow. But contained within this grainy 1994 shot, are some remarkable characters who have suddenly started to fascinate City bankers.

On the bottom right is Andrei Skoch, now rated as the richest man sitting in the Duma, Russia’s parliament. He is also a close friend of the billionaire oligarch and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov and indirectly a leading figure behind MegaFon, the Russian telecoms business that Usmanov jointly listed on the London and Moscow stock markets on Wednesday.

Sitting next to Skoch is Sergei Mikhailov and, next to him on the front row is Viktor Averin. These are said to be two of Russia’s most feared gangsters.

These old connections have suddenly resurfaced as MegaFon – which last week announced the appointment to its board of former Labour minister and one time chairman of the Guardian Media Group Lord Myners – began trading 17% of its shares in London. Coincidentally, that is almost the same size of stake indirectly owned by the Skoch family. The shares fell nearly 3% on their first day.

Skoch, who has placed all of his business interests in the name of his father, Vladimir, declined to answer any questions about his connections when approached by the Guardian in Moscow last week. In a response to questions by email, a spokesperson for Usmanov said there have been “too many unwarranted allegations, rumours and speculations about different people in Russia”.

However, Skoch was prepared to give an interview to last Friday’s Financial Times in which he admitted knowing Mikhailov and Averin. He also previously spoke about the ties in a 2010 interview with the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, during which he confirmed that the photo was genuine.

He said that he got to know Mikhailov after he and Lev Kvetnoy bought several service companies at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.

Skoch added that he was “introduced” to Mikhailov and Averin as the “owners” of the Vnukovo companies. “We met, discussed terms, and then agreed – the photo was taken afterwards,” he said.

Averin subsequently invited him and his wife to a holiday in Prague, in 1995. Skoch was one of 50 guests who celebrated Averin’s birthday at the Ritz Hotel. In his Vedomosti interview, Skoch said the guests had been sitting down for 15 minutes over dinner when the Czech police burst in. The police took all the guests down to the station for questioning, photographed them and then let them go. “After that I didn’t have any shared history with Viktor [Averin]. Not with him, not with Sergei [Mikhailov]. We didn’t have any joint interests,” he said.

However, Skoch told the FT last week that he continued to meet Averin for business purposes after the incident, with their last meeting seven years ago when they bumped into each other at a Moscow restaurant. “He’s a nice enough guy,” he told the paper.

The politician, whose wealth has been valued by Forbes at $4.2bn (£2.6bn), denied that he, Mikhailov or Averin had any links with Russian organised crime. “I can’t say they were bandits. They were ordinary businessmen,” he told the FT.

“I couldn’t say that anyone joined a [mafia] group. That would be incorrect,” Skoch also told Vedomosti. In the lawless Russia of the 1990s, he said it wasn’t entirely clear “who was in a mafia group and who wasn’t”. “You’d go into any restaurant and there would be a serious-looking guy sitting there. If you wanted to live, you had to be unafraid,” he said.

However, according to Federico Varese, professor of criminology at Oxford University, Mikhailov is the alleged founder of the “Solntsevo fraternity”, Russia’s most powerful mafia gang.

The group is named after a rundown area of western and southwestern Moscow – the name Solntsevo would translate as Sunnyside in English. Varese dubs the gang “arguably the mightiest organised crime group to emerge from the wreckage of the Soviet Union.”

In the same Vedomosti interview Skoch boasts of his close friendship with Usmanov – who has also faced questions about links to the alleged Uzbek drug trafficker, Gafur Rakhimov.

Usmanov denies that he has ever had any business dealings with Rakhimov, whom he says was a neighbour of his parents.

Skoch recalled that he met Usmanov in 1995, and went into business, buying a metallurgical industrial complex. The venture succeeded thanks to Usmanov’s “intellect”, Skoch said, adding: “We are very close. I trust him with my life.”

In 2010 Skoch said he saw Usmanov “virtually every day” and had travelled with him to Tashkent when Usmanov had a major operation.

Forget Apple, look at Google’s stock

Category : Stocks

Shares of Google hit a new 52-week high, and are sitting comfortably above $700 — the same mark that Apple briefly topped Tuesday.

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Extreme heat continues in Ontario, Quebec

Category : World News

Temperatures across southern Ontario and Quebec are sitting in the early to mid 30s with humidex values in the 40s and the extreme heat and humidity are expected to carry on over to Thursday as well.

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Companies may finally be starting to spend some of the $1.24T they were sitting on at the end of 2011. An NFIB survey of small businesses shows 57% of firms have made a capital expenditure over the last six months, the largest percentage since March…

Category : Stocks, World News

Companies may finally be starting to spend some of the $1.24T they were sitting on at the end of 2011. An NFIB survey of small businesses shows 57% of firms have made a capital expenditure over the last six months, the largest percentage since March 2008. Another survey of execs finds they expect to increase spending by 5.9% this year, likely a lowball estimate. Post your comment!

Continued here: Companies may finally be starting to spend some of the $1.24T they were sitting on at the end of 2011. An NFIB survey of small businesses shows 57% of firms have made a capital expenditure over the last six months, the largest percentage since March…

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More on the Burger Wars (previous): While fast-food burger joints saw a respectable 3% increase in sales to $67B last year, the premium burger segment grew at 18% to reach close to $2B – fueled in part by …

Category : World News

More on the Burger Wars (previous): While fast-food burger joints saw a respectable 3% increase in sales to $67B last year, the premium burger segment grew at 18% to reach close to $2B – fueled in part by
interest stirred up
by cooking shows on TV. Not sitting still, execs at MCD, WEN, SONC, and JACK are offering up their own “premium” burgers in an attempt to break up the momentum of the niche market. 1 comment!

Read the original post: More on the Burger Wars (previous): While fast-food burger joints saw a respectable 3% increase in sales to $67B last year, the premium burger segment grew at 18% to reach close to $2B – fueled in part by …

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With the end of the first quarter approaching, ICAP Corporates’ Ken Polcari sees a key reason why the rally isn’t likely to stall soon: Professional money managers, scrambling to match their benchmarks, "don’t get paid for sitting it out."…

Category : World News

With the end of the first quarter approaching, ICAP

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New dinosaur species found in drawer

Category : World News

A University of Windsor graduate discovered a new species of dinosaur after he pieced together fossils that had been sitting in a drawer since the 1950s.

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U.S. companies are sitting on a massive $1.2T cash pile, Moody’s says in a new report, and more than half of it is stashed overseas. The tax code is to blame and it will get worse without “permanent tax reform that lowers taxes on…

Category : Stocks, World News

U.S. companies are sitting on a massive $1.2T cash pile, Moody’s says in a new report, and more than half of it is stashed overseas. The tax code is to blame and it will get worse without “permanent tax reform that lowers taxes on overseas profits,” Moody’s says. Apple (AAPL) is a major factor: In 2011, overall corporate cash would actually have decreased by $6B if not for Apple’s $46B increase. 4 comments!

Originally posted here: U.S. companies are sitting on a massive $1.2T cash pile, Moody’s says in a new report, and more than half of it is stashed overseas. The tax code is to blame and it will get worse without “permanent tax reform that lowers taxes on…

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