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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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Start-up loans age cap ‘should go’

Category : Business, World News

An age cap on accessing loans to set up a company should be removed, says the PM’s enterprise adviser Lord Young, in a report into business growth.

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New Award to Recognize Excellence in Caribbean Literature for Young Adults

Category : Stocks, World News

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO–(Marketwired – April 27, 2013) - An exciting global initiative in Young Adult literature is coming to the Caribbean! The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was launched today at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

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Leaks reveal secrets of the rich who hide cash offshore

Category : Business

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.

Jailed property man hid his assets in offshore network during divorce

Category : Business

Ex-wife is suing Scot Young for share of £400m fortune that he claims he lost within three months

Jailed British property developer Scot Young, an associate of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, constructed a secret network of offshore companies to hold his assets during a multimillion-pound divorce battle, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ’s) research.

His story graphically demonstrates the way hideaways such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI) can be used by a man bent on cheating the law.

Young, 51, described as a fixer for the super-rich, rose suddenly from working-class origins in Dundee to occupy a £14m Oxfordshire mansion and to throw his money about in spectacular fashion. He once bought his then wife, Michelle, a Range-Rover filled to the roof with couture dresses. For her 40th birthday, he gave her a £1m necklace.

He is held in Pentonville prison for contempt of court, following bitter seven-year divorce proceedings in which he failed to explain where his fortune had gone. He could be eligible for parole in two weeks. He has not responded to requests for comment.

Michelle Young is suing for a share of the £400m fortune that Young reportedly owned in 2005, but which he claims disappeared and became debts of £28m within three months. He owes nearly £1m in maintenance and £1.28m in unpaid tax.

Despite declaring bankruptcy in 2010, Young continued to live lavishly. He told the high court that top businessmen were supporting him with gifts and loans.

Mrs Young alleges that associates such as the exiled Berezovsky, who was found hanged at his Ascot mansion last month, helped her ex-husband conceal his assets.

She said: “I find it disgraceful the amount of money that has been allowed to be hidden offshore, and that it is legal to put assets out of reach in cases like mine.”

Young was finally jailed in January 2013 for failing to verify his alleged financial losses. Mr Justice Moor told him he had committed a “flagrant and deliberate contempt” over a very long period of time . Back in 2005, as his marriage deteriorated, Young had joined forces with Russian businessman Ruslan Fomichev, formerly Berezovsky’s business partner, to invest in a deal to redevelop a $100m (£65m) former paint-factory site in Moscow into shops and offices.

Fomichev sold him a half share in an offshore Cyprus company, Parasol Participations Ltd, which controlled the planned property speculation. Their secret deal involved 12 obscure companies and trusts in Cyprus, Russia, the BVI and Lichtenstein.

Young subsequently claimed that “Project Moscow” fell apart and that he got no shares.

Mrs Young testified in court that in March 2006 she suddenly received a phone call from Stephen Jones, a London lawyer and owner of offshore specialists Jirehouse Capital. Jones told her that her husband had lost all his money, had attempted suicide and was seeking help at the Priory clinic. Mrs Young could, however, find no record of his admittance. Jones does not dispute making the call, but says that the contents are “subject to legal professional privilege held by our clients”.

On 28 March 2006, according to documents the Guardian has seen, Young signed a power of attorney giving the lawyer control of “interests held by me in Parasol Participations”. The authority indicates that Young’s interests are to be transferred to Solar Breeze Ltd and five other BVI companies.

A week later, according to documents seen by ICIJ, the lawyer also took control of these BVI companies, at a meeting held in Monaco. The next morning, the companies and shares were shifted even further offshore, to the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis. Jones then established a new Nevis-based trust, the “SY Refinance Foundation”, to “restructure” Young’s financial affairs.

Young’s estranged wife finally obtained a “global freezing order” from the high court in June 2007, forbidding Young from moving or selling the assets under dispute.

In May 2009, Young was summoned by a judge and ordered to explain how he was managing to live. Mr Justice Charles warned him of imprisonment if he did not do his “utmost” to give true answers to questions about his finances.

Two days later, the documents record that agents appointed by Young sought to merge the six BVI companies he had set up, containing half shares in the Moscow property .

The instruction to consolidate Young’s share of “Project Moscow” was carried out on 17 August, 2009 . This created a single new company with a different name, Solar Breeze (Consolidated) Limited. The sole share in the new company was issued to Stephen Jones’s company, Jirehouse Fiduciaries Nominees.

In the most recent move in the offshore battle, on 4 July 2012, Jirehouse Fiduciaries Nominees of Nevis took full ownership of Parasol Participations of Cyprus. This means that Jones’s clients, who have included Young, now own all of Parasol Participations and any stake in the potentially valuable Moscow development.

Jones denies fronting for the jailed tycoon. He says: “We only ever acted on behalf of various creditors (and upon the express instructions of those creditors) of Mr and Mrs Young and have never acted for Mr or Mrs Young or represented any of their respective interests.”

VIDEO: promotes science subjects

Category : Business

Musician is encouraging young people to engage with science, technology, engineering and maths.

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Poor IT skills ‘hurt young jobless’

Category : Business, World News

A lack of computer skills could be damaging the career chances of young people, the Prince’s Trust charity warns.

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Spain hasn’t seen unemployment this bad since Franco

Category : Business

Six million out of work is a figure reminiscent of the near-feudal agrarian state the country used to be

Not since the days of Franco has Spain suffered such high unemployment rates. The country was virtually a feudal, agrarian economy the last time almost six million workers were unemployed.

This year Spain is preparing for another year of recession. Output is expected to fall after the economy worsened in the final three months of 2012 and the housing crash that wrecked the country’s banks showed no signs of abating. Factory and energy production figures on Friday are expected to show industrial output was down 6% year on year in January. Average house prices remain 36% below their 2008 peak.

Youth unemployment, which has spurred thousands of young people to protest in Madrid’s main squares, has climbed to 56.5% without hitting a ceiling.

In a barely disguised jibe at Spain’s employment laws, Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, said countries that put “all the weight of flexibility” on young people would continue to suffer problems. Spain’s youth unemployment figure is surpassed only by Greece.

As well as its troubled banking sector, Spain suffers from a lack of competitiveness inside the eurozone and excessive household and company debts. Under pressure from Brussels, the government’s answer to its own escalating debts has been to impose harsh austerity measures.

Unlike Italy, which has almost balanced its budget after a clampdown on spending, Spain is expected to spend more than it receives in taxes in 2013 in breach of eurozone rules. The government deficit is expected to fall to 4.5% after hitting 6.3% last year. Only in 2014 is it expected to fall within Brussels’ 3% ceiling.

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy has faced strong criticism after he saved some of his toughest austerity measures for regional governments, which run the health and education services, while preserving the budgets of many departments run from Madrid.

Young drivers ‘could save £370′

Category : World News

Young drivers could save up to £370 a year on their car insurance if the government introduced new safety standards, the Association of British Insurers says.

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VIDEO: Banking on craft perfumes for success

Category : World News

One young Asian entrepreneur tells the BBC how he looked to his forebears’ perfume expertise for business inspiration.

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Small shop closures are progress, says former Tesco boss

Category : Business

Sir Terry Leahy defends supermarkets and reveals he bribed his children to inform on their mother if she shopped at Waitrose

Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy has described the rise of supermarkets and the closure of small shops across the country as “part of progress”.

Leahy ran the supermarket chain for more than a decade, in which it became one of the world’s biggest retailers, but critics have accused it of driving smaller independent shops out of business and turning town centres into ghost towns.

Appearing on Radio 4′s Desert Island Discs, he told host Kirsty Young he had mixed feelings on the issue.

Asked if seeing boarded-up shops made him sad, Leahy said: “It does, but it is part of progress. People are not made to shop in supermarkets, they choose to shop there.

“High streets– some of them are medieval and the way that we live our lives now is very different, so what you have to do is make sure the benefits do outweigh the costs, and I think that they do.”

The Liverpool-born businessman told Young his devotion to Tesco was so strong he bribed his children to inform on their mother if she ever shopped at Waitrose.

He also revealed an unlikely connection with punk rockers UK Subs – telling Young how he lived in a flat above theirs and once kept them awake by listening to his radio too loudly.

He said: “I came down to London round about 1980 and it was just at the time of punk music and new wave music, and I got an attic flat in London above a punk rock band called the UK Subs.

“They used to play their music every day to four in the morning and I would be rocked to sleep by the UK Subs, and then I was up one morning with the Today programme on my transistor radio and there was a bang on the door and it was a man in a leopard skin leotard and he said, ‘Will you turn that radio down? I’m trying to get some sleep’.”