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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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Columbus Plastic Surgeons Highlight Benefits of Breast Surgery in the Spring

Category : Stocks

Dr. Anne Taylor and Her Columbus Plastic Surgery Colleagues Say Spring Can Be an Ideal Season to Receive a Breast Augmentation or Other Breast Surgery Procedure

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Rolls-Royce accused of bribing a Chinese airline executive

Category : Business

Blogger alleges that airline executive accepted payments as intermediary in deal to supply aircraft engines valued at £1.25bn

Rolls-Royce is facing allegations that it paid bribes to an executive involved with two Chinese airlines, in the latest claims attached to a corruption probe at the aircraft engine maker.

The latest allegations are contained in postings by a blogger operating under the pseudonym of “soaringdragon” and related to deals worth a total of $2bn (£1.25bn) with Air China in 2005 and China Eastern in 2010. They claim an executive who worked at both airlines, Chen Qin, accepted payments as an intermediary in those deals.

Rolls-Royce revealed last month that the Serious Fraud Office had approached the company over allegations of malpractice in Indonesia and China, prompting the Derby-based manufacturer to conduct its own investigation through a law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton. In a statement last month Rolls-Royce said the probe had found “matters of concern” in Indonesia and China and other unspecified markets, relating to “concerns about bribery and corruption involving intermediaries in overseas markets.”

Rolls-Royce, which is aware of the Soaringdragon postings, declined to comment on whether the blogger’s allegations were included in the dossier passed to the SFO. However, the Sunday Times published a statement from China Eastern which appeared to confirm the blogger’s claim that Chen Qin had been arrested by the Chinese authorities in 2011. It said: “Neither China Eastern nor Air China has any right to talk about Chen’s case; only prosecutorial organs know the real background.”

The deals at the centre of the allegations boosted Rolls-Royce’s presence in the rapidly growing Asian aviation market. In 2005 Rolls-Royce said it had received an order from Air China for Trent 700 engines, to power the Airbus A330, worth $800m. Then in 2010 Rolls-Royce said it had won an order from China Eastern worth $1.2bn for Trent 700 engines to power 16 A330 aircraft. The China Eastern deal was signed in the presence of David Cameron, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, during an official trade mission to China.

Rolls-Royce faces the threat of a multimillion-pound fine on both sides of the Atlantic if the allegations escalate into official investigations by authorities, although the SFO and the US Department of Justice have yet to announce whether they will proceed with formal probes. The Soaringdragon postings are the second set of allegations implicating Rolls-Royce in corruption to be posted on the internet. Dick Taylor, a former Rolls-Royce employee in Indonesia, had alleged via a series of online postings that Tommy Suharto, the son of the former Indonesian president, was paid $20m (£12m) by Rolls-Royce and given a Rolls-Royce car to persuade the Garuda airline to buy Trent 700 engines in 1990. Taylor has said he felt “cheated” by his experience at Rolls-Royce, the world’s second largest aircraft engine maker, after he was warned that he risked redundancy when he raised concerns over a colleague’s expenses claims. Taylor subsequently took early retirement in 2004 but claims that Rolls-Royce was still making payments to intermediaries in Indonesia in 2010.

The Asia-Pacific region is a vital market for western aerospace companies targeting new customers amid stagnating demand at home. According to Airbus, the region will account for 35% of aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years, with China overtaking the US as the world’s largest domestic airline market from 2031 onwards. As well as bringing opportunities for aircraft makers such as Airbus and Boeing, new jet sales also boost orders for engines. The front-runners for those orders are the likes of Rolls-Royce and its US rivals, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.

Speaking in December, Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, John Rishton, said the company would not tolerate “improper business conduct of any sort.”

“This is a company with exceptional prospects and I will not accept any behaviour that undermines its future success”. The company also announced that it will appoint an “independent senior figure” to review its compliance process and report to the board’s ethics committee. Rolls-Royce is one of Britain’s blue-chip exporters and thus a key manufacturer in George Osborne’s “march of the makers”, posting revenues of £11.3bn last year and a pre-tax profit of £1.2bn, with its strong future prospects underlined by an order book worth £62.2bn.

Rolls-Royce has admitted that the disclosures could result in the “prosecution of individuals and the company.” Legal experts have warned that Rolls-Royce’s co-operation so far will not spare the business from a prosecution by the SFO. The organisation’s new boss, David Green, has signalled that the SFO will eschew settlements in favour of prosecutions, tackling a perception that it had been keener in recent years to deal with cases outside the courtroom.

Grinnell’s Jack Taylor scores record 138 points in 179-104 win –

Category : Stocks

San Francisco Chronicle
Grinnell's Jack Taylor scores record 138 points in 179-104 win
Jack Taylor scored 138 points to shatter the NCAA scoring record in Division 3 Grinnell's 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible Tuesday night in Grinnell, Iowa. Taylor made 27 of 71 3-point attempts, was 52 of 108 overall from the field, and added 7 free
Kevin Durant, NBA players stunned by D-III player Jack Taylor's 138 pointsUSA TODAY
Jack Taylor scores 138 points for GrinnellAustin American-Statesman
Grinnell's Taylor scores 138 pointsChicago Tribune

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Adoboli was excessive gambler, says colleague

Category : Business

Former UBS trader weeps in court over unauthorised dealing

Former UBS trader, John Hughes, 30, wept in court on Tuesday after reading an email in which Kweku Adoboli, a former colleague accused of fraud, admitted to unauthorised trades that risked undermining the Swiss bank and colleagues.

Hughes, once a senior trader on the bank’s exchange traded funds (ETF) desk in London, conceded at Southwark crown court that he also made some unauthorised trades.

But he insisted he did not know Adoboli had been creating fictitious trades. He smiled when calling his former colleague an “excessive” gambler. Hughes said he did not know the extent of losses Adoboli had amassed in a secret “umbrella” account in which he hid unauthorised trades.

Adoboli, 32, denies fraud and false accounting that cost UBS $2.3bn (£1.4bn).

Hughes, who was dismissed for gross misconduct weeks after Adoboli’s arrest, has not been charged with any crime.

The prosecution, led by lawyer Sasha Wass, says Adoboli was a “master fraudster” who hid his activities from colleagues.

But Charles Sherrard, Adoboli’s lawyer, alleges his client was one of “four musketeers” on the ETF desk – and that the other three later “stabbed him in the back”.

A third member of the desk, Simon Taylor, told the court he had resigned two days before a disciplinary meeting last November because he believed he would have merely been “collateral damage” if he had remained.

Taylor, who also brushed away a tear under persistent cross-examination by Sherrard, insisted he was too junior to have been told much about Adoboli’s umbrella account.

However, the account was mentioned in a conversation between Taylor and Adoboli via their computer message system in January 2011.

“Great week, really have enjoyed it,” Taylor wrote. Adoboli responded: “We’ve got some nice cash for the umbrella fund. We have a new fund for the rainy days.”

“Nice,” said Taylor, who will be back in court on Wednesday.

G4S boss stays but two lieutenants go after Olympics shambles

Category : Business

Nick Buckles survives despite company’s failure to provide enough guards for London 2012

The chief executive of G4S has survived calls for him to resign following the company’s failure to provide enough guards to secure the London 2012 Olympics.

G4S said on Friday that it would keep Nick Buckles in the top job despite the 52-year-old acknowledging to MPs that the staffing crisis had been a “humiliating shambles”.

While Buckles will be retained in his £830,000-a-year job, two of his lieutenants have walked the plank.

David Taylor-Smith, chief operating officer, and Ian Horseman Sewell, managing director of G4S’s global events division, resigned over the “major failings” that forced the government to call in the army to provide security staff for the games. The men will walk away with their full contractual entitlement, which in Taylor-Smith’s case is a year’s pay.

John Connolly, G4S’s chairman, said that while Buckles had “ultimate responsibility” for the debacle, an independent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers “could not directly attribute failings to Nick”.

“We recognise Nick is the group CEO and cannot be directly involved in everything. That said, this contract was extremely important,” he said.

Connolly, who took over as chairman weeks before the company said it could not provide a promised 10,400 guards for the London games, said he understood that the public and politicians are extremely angry with Buckles but said “many people take a different view, certainly that includes our large shareholders”. G4S provided only 7,000 staff for the games.

Some analysts were not satisfied with the departure of the two lower-ranking executives. “Are we surprised that Buckles hasn’t gone? Frankly, yes. Does it draw a line under the whole affair? I don’t think it does,” said Kevin Lapwood, an analyst at Seymour Pierce.

Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, which has twice hauled Buckles over the coals, said Taylor-Smith and Horseman Sewell had paid the “ultimate price” by resigning but said it was “not the end of the matter”. “It’s not closure. They must waive their fee and pay compensation,” he said via Twitter.

The home affairs select committee is calling for G4S, which is expecting to lose £50m on the £284m Olympic contract, to waive its £57m management fee for the contract. Connolly said G4S is negotiating with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog).

“It’s clear G4S let the country down in all the preparations for Olympic security. It turned into a fiasco. This was an 11th hour move and if it had not been for the government, Locog and the ministry of defence we would not have had this splendid Olympic Games,” Vaz told the BBC.

He added he was concerned that Buckles knew that G4S would not be able to provide enough staff for the Olympics but “didn’t bother” to tell Theresa May, the home secretary.

“He knew something was wrong the day before they basically told everyone that they didn’t have enough people but he had a meeting with the home secretary [and] didn’t bother to tell her,” he said.

Vaz said he was “very interested to know what [payoff] package” Taylor-Smith and Horseman Sewell would be collecting. “I can’t believe they have resigned and not been given some kind of compensation. I just hope if they have been given compensation G4S remembers there is unfinished business here: we need to make sure others are compensated.”

On Twitter, Vaz added: “The only senior officials at G4S who have resigned are those with double barrel names. Need to know what the resignation package.”

G4S refused to state exactly how much payoff the resigning executives will collect and their pay is not disclosed in the company’s annual report.

Connolly reiterated that Buckles, who has worked for G4S for 27 years, had promised to forfeit his annual bonus for the second year running.

Bovis reports boost in half year profits as sales rise 18% with prices up 6%

Category : Business

Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Barratt Developments have also reported strong profit growth this year

Bovis Homes on Monday joined a growing list of housebuilders to report a strong rise in profits over the last six months from a surprise rise in prices and sales.

Bovis said prices were 6% higher and sales up 18% on the same period in 2011 despite the weakening economic outlook and lack of mortgage lending.

The company, which has shifted most of its building to the south of England, said it had enough land with consents to last three to four years in normal trading and much longer if the trend for low levels of transactions persists for another year.

Chief executive David Ritchie said the firm had 30,600 plots that could be used for house building, “but I’ll only build as many as I can sell”.

The company’s profitability has also been boosted by a strategy to buy up development plots whose value had been depressed in the financial crisis, along with an increase in the number of its sales outlets and its focus on building in regions where house prices have stayed strong.

Ritchie said it was financially safer to build below a line drawn from Cheltenham in the west to Cambridge in the east after a severe slowdown in the northern half of the country.

Like most building firms, Bovis has scaled back the number of homes it builds each year and restored margins by reducing staffing levels and other outgoings.

In the first half of 2007, at the height of the boom, the company built 1,250 homes compared with 944 completions in the last six months.

Bovis builds mainly three to five bedroom family homes on greenfield sites north and west of London where the demand for new homes has remained robust.

Rivals Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Barratt Developments also reported strong profit growth this year after a torrid four years during which many housebuilders have gone out of business and others, hugely indebted after a pre-crisis spending spree, were only saved by the forgiveness of their banks.

Taylor Wimpey reported an increase in first half profit up 50%, helped by strong demand for its properties, and said it expected full-year 2012 returns to be in line with its expectations.

Britain’s second largest builder by market value, Taylor Wimpey saw operating profit jump to £100.9m against £67.2m in the same period last year.

Bovis, which also builds social housing for housing associations, celebrated a 27% increase in revenues to £170m compared to £133m in the same period last year. Last year it built only 844 homes in the first six months.

Brokers have put buy notices on much of the industry, believing in the potential for growth after a sharp reduction in debts and the potential for further increases in sales should the economy recover. Some analysts believe house prices could fall further outside central London.

Ritchie said initiatives to support extra lending in the economy by the Bank of England had failed to reach its customers, who were still considered high risks by lenders, but more specific government initiatives were having a positive effect.

He praised the NewBuy scheme that acts as an insurance bond to protect lenders against the default of a new mortgage. So far only a trickle of customers have successfully come through the scheme, though he expects momentum to grow over the next couple of years.

He poured cold water on plans to jettison requirements for social housing in major developments, saying the lack of financial underpinning from housing associations may undermine the projects.

“If that was to come to fruition as a policy, one of the concerns would be, how are the banks going to support an increased level of private development?” Richie said. “In the short term it could potentially be difficult … to see volumes growing.”

Bovis and its rivals are required under UK law to set aside a proportion of their schemes to be sold as affordable, cheaper homes. But recent reports have suggested a review by Sir Adrian Montague, the chairman of venture capital group 3i will suggest this stipulation is relaxed.

The FDIC filed suit on Friday against 11 major banks for allegedly mispresenting the quality of the loans that were packaged together in over $388M of mortgage bonds sold to Alabama-based Colonial Bank, which failed three years ago after being…

Category : Stocks, World News

The FDIC filed suit on Friday against 11 major banks for allegedly mispresenting the quality of the loans that were packaged together in over $388M of mortgage bonds sold to Alabama-based Colonial Bank, which failed three years ago after being defrauded by Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage. The banks sued include the usual suspects of JPMorgan (JPM), Citigroup (C), BofA (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC). 1 comment!

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G4S chief predicts mass police privatisation

Category : Business

Private companies will be running large parts of the police service within five years, according to security firm head

Private companies will be running large parts of the UK’s police service within five years, according to the world’s biggest security firm.

David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected police forces across the country to sign up to similar deals to those on the table in the West Midlands and Surrey, which could result in private companies taking responsibility for duties ranging from investigating crimes to transporting suspects and managing intelligence.

The prediction comes as it emerged that 10 more police forces were considering outsourcing deals that would see services, such as running police cells and operating IT, run by private firms.

Taylor-Smith, whose company is in the running for the £1.5bn contract with West Midlands and Surrey police, said he expected forces across the country to have taken similar steps within five years . “For most members of the public what they will see is the same or better policing and they really don’t care who is running the fleet, the payroll or the firearms licensing – they don’t really care,” he said.

G4S, which is providing security for the Olympics, has 657,000 staff operating in more than 125 countries and is one of the world’s biggest private employers. It already runs six prisons in the UK and in April started work on a £200m police contract in Lincolnshire, where it will design, build and run a police station. Under the terms of the deal, 575 public sector police staff transferred to the company.

Taylor-Smith said core policing would remain a public-sector preserve but added: “We have been long-term optimistic about the police and short-to-medium-term pessimistic about the police for many years. Our view was, look, we would never try to take away core policing functions from the police but for a number of years it has been absolutely clear as day to us – and to others – that the configuration of the police in the UK is just simply not as effective and as efficient as it could be.”

Concern has grown about the involvement of private firms in policing. In May more than 20,000 officers took to the streets to outline their fears about pay, conditions and police privatisation. The Police Federation has warned that the service is being undermined by creeping privatisation.

Unite, the union that represents many police staff, said the potential scale of private-sector involvement in policing was “a frightening prospect”. Peter Allenson, national officer, said: “This is not the back office – we are talking about the privatisation of core parts of the police service right across the country, including crime investigation, forensics, 999 call-handling, custody and detention and a wide range of police services.”

Taylor-Smith said “budgetary pressure and political will” were driving the private-sector involvement in policing but insisted that the “public sector ethos” had not been lost.

“I have always found it somewhere between patronising and insulting the notion that the public sector has an exclusive franchise on some ethos, spirit, morality – it is just nonsense,” he said. “The thought that everyone in the private sector is primarily motivated by profit and that is why they come to work is just simply not accurate … we employ 675,000 people and they are primarily motivated by pretty much the same as would motivate someone in the public sector.”

In the £1.5bn deal being discussed by West Midlands and Surrey police, the list of policing activities up for grabs includes investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public, as well as more traditional back-office functions such as managing forensics, providing legal services, managing the vehicle fleet, finance and human resources.

Chris Sims, West Midlands chief constable, has said his force is a good testing ground for fundamental change as he battled to find £126m of savings. He said the armed forces had embraced a greater role for the private sector more fully than the police without sparking uproar.

But a home affairs select committee report said many of the policing contracts being put up for tender amounted to a “fishing expedition”. MPs added that they were not convinced the forces understood what they were doing. The committee chair, Keith Vaz, said: “The Home Office must ensure it knows what services local forces wish to contract out before agreeing to allow expenditure of £5m on what is little more than a fishing expedition.”

Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police announced this month that they were considering privatising some services in an attempt to tackle a £73m funding shortfall created by government cuts. Police authority members in the three counties will be asked to consider how services including HR, finance and IT could be outsourced in line with the G4S contract in Lincolnshire as part of a joint recommendation made by the three chief constables.

It has also emerged that Thames Valley, West Mercia, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Hampshire forces have begun a tendering process to outsource the running of 30 custody suites and 600 cells.

Doldrums Britain: jobs blow has a familiar feel in Corby

Category : Business

East Midlands town, which lost 115 more jobs when Aquascutum closed its factory, is trying to fight back in a tough climate

“Sometimes it does feel that a lot of bad news comes this way,” says Barry Taylor, glancing at his three stalls in Corby indoor market, stacked high with model cars and lorries and, for the moment at least, conspicuously short of customers.

It is a grey and drizzly afternoon in the town centre, and business would seem as disappointing as the Northamptonshire spring. Taylor, a sixty-something man with a neatly trimmed beard and a palpable pride in his business, has made “a couple of small sales” so far today, but footfall in the town is pretty underwhelming, and, in the market, almost non-existent.

More broadly, it’s been a grim week in a town that historically has known a few of them. Last week the venerable clothing brand Aquascutum slumped into liquidation, bringing an abrupt closure of its Corby factory, an institution here for a century. It means the loss of 115 jobs.

Matters are unlikely to improve much in the next few days either: on Wednesday the government will publish the growth figures. After a 0.3% shrinkage at the end of last year, many fear a second quarter of negative growth, returning Britain into a state of official recession, and leaving chancellor George Osborne presiding over the double-dip he has been so desperate to avoid.

Even those market analysts who predict a return to growth can foresee only a scrape into the black by the narrowest of margins. With rising unemployment, rising fuel costs and wages lagging behind inflation, many predict a short- to medium-term future that is sluggish at best, stagnant at worst.

As if to underline the point a US firm, Computer Sciences Corporation, started a formal 90-day consultation to cut 640 jobs, while British Gas said it planned to close a Southampton call centre at the end of the year with the loss of 550 jobs.

For anyone seeking out an archetype for Doldrums Britain, Corby has much to offer, at first glance at least.

A regeneration scheme has tidied up one shopping thoroughfare, but the remainder of the bricked lanes and alleyways of the town’s retail heart are a warren of pound stores, phone shops and clothing outlets in a crumbling concrete arcade, dotted with charity shops and shuttered lots.

It is not difficult, either, to encounter people for whom life already seems to be struggle enough.

“How does it feel in Corby? It feels pretty rubbish,” says one man, a serving police officer who declines to give his name after expressing, in no uncertain terms, his anger at the government over police pensions. His partner is a nurse.

“We both feel very badly let down by the government. And I am a Tory voter, though never again. To be honest, I’m just very worried about the future.”

They fret about fuel costs, shop carefully for food, and will think nothing of filling the car with just enough fuel to take them to a marginally cheaper petrol station, where they can fill up. “Are you sure we’re not in a recession already?” he asks.

David Blair lost his job as a traffic manager when Stobart Group hauliers closed their Corby hub this year, axing 140 jobs. “That was another place that used to be a job for life,” he says wryly. “Corby used to be pretty good for that. There always used to be jobs you could get and expect to stay in. That’s all gone.”

Tata Steel, formerly Corus and the lingering remnant of what was once Corby’s all-dominant industry, laid off 119 people in January.

“Jobs are hard to come by in Corby, and that’s why Corby can’t afford to lose the 115 jobs at Aquascutum,” says Rachelle Wilkins, the local GMB organiser working with the firm’s ousted staff. “I know there’s going to be a new Tesco, and that’s 400 jobs, but I think there’s going to be a fight to the death for those, if I’m honest.”

Karen Blair is partially disabled, and she and her now jobless husband worry about their 14-year-old son, who has looked unsuccessfully for a paper round or delivery job. “When we were aged 16 or 17 you could buy the paper on a Thursday and there were always 40, 50 pages of jobs. Now there’s two or three. It’s hard.”

And yet, for all their concerns, today has been a good day, she says. “I’ve just been to Costa Coffee, how bad can it be? Seriously, we’re doing OK. Could be a lot better, but definitely we’re doing OK.”

In the indoor market Taylor feels the same. “I’m just about ticking over, I’d say, so I can’t really complain. The thing is, we’ve been here before, haven’t we?”

That resilient spirit may be a Corby attribute, according to Tom Beattie, leader of the borough council. “No question, events have dealt us a serious blow. But we’re not really people to get downhearted. Corby has proved itself as a community able to rally round.”

Certainly there are plentiful efforts to revive the town. A huge, architecturally impressive library and theatre complex, the “Corby Cube”, has sprung up in the town’s heart, next to an equally striking swimming pool complex and a large plot “considered suitable for a multiplex cinema, restaurant, bars, hotel and residential uses”.

A new train station with a 70-minute connection to St Pancras, new housing developments and infrastructural investment has permitted a cheeky marketing strategy badging the area “North Londonshire”.

Sajeeda Rose, director of economic development at Northamptonshire enterprise partnership, points to the county’s location (close to the south-east, but well connected to the eastern ports as well as, for lorry drivers, the rest of the country) as a key asset. The local chamber of commerce’s own economic analysis consistently shows Northants outperforming the country as a whole, she says.

And yet shiny new buildings mean little when essentials cost more, wages are worth less, and jobs are on the line, as Carol Williams, leaning over the bunches in a town centre flower stall, notes. “It’s all right building a lovely new theatre, but there’s not much point if nobody can afford to go.”

Does it matter much if, technically, Britain is deemed in recession or not?

“I think it’d make a difference,” she says. “The word is worrying. It’s frightening to hear.” Happily, Flowers of Corby is keeping its head above water, she says. “That’s because we do a lot of bridal orders, and a lot of funeral work.

“That’s the last to go, isn’t it?”

Japan glass firm’s US boss quits

Category : Business, World News

Japan’s Nippon Sheet Glass says its American chief executive, Craig Taylor, has resigned over “disagreements with the board”.

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