What the other papers say this morning - 12 May 2014

FINANCIAL TIMES

Fraud office steps up Barclays probe
Bob Diamond, John Varley and other senior members of Barclays’ former management are set to be questioned under caution by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, in an acceleration of its probe into alleged corrupt arrangements in Qatar as part of the bank’s emergency cash call in 2008. For Barclays, which launched a big restructuring plan last week to boost struggling profitability, the news is an unwelcome reminder of the legacy issues hanging over the bank. Mr Diamond denies any wrongdoing.

Europe firms write off €360bn in debt
The debt written off by Europe’s companies due to late payment or non-payment of bills has swelled to €360bn despite the pick-up in economic activity in the region. “The late payment consequences for businesses pose a real threat to Europe’s competitiveness and social wellbeing,” said Lars Wollung, president of Intrum Justitia, a credit management group. “Hardest hit by the problem . . . are small and medium enterprises.” Justitia surveyed more than 10,000 business managers in 33 countries for the annual European Payment Index.

Sale of Sebia to attract stiff competition
London buyout house Cinven expects to get a price of more than €1bn for Sebia, a French medical diagnostics group it is preparing to sell, as private equity funds compete for a dwindling volume of large deals in Europe.

THE TIMES

Henderson set to cash in on Laing
One of the biggest names in British construction is being prepared for a possible return to the stock market through a flotation that could value the business at as much as £1.5bn. The future of John Laing, an infrastructure investor best known for delivering a string of PFI projects for the last Labour government, is under consideration by its owner Henderson, the fund management and private equity group.

Cameron hits out at tax avoiders
David Cameron has joined a tide of criticism against Gary Barlow after a judge ruled that the pop star was part of a giant tax avoidance scheme.

The Daily Telegraph

Producer warned over DSK film
The producer of a film which appears to chart the spectacular downfall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn has said he was warned that the estranged wife of the former IMF chief would “destroy his life”.

The accusation will heighten controversy over the film Welcome to New York, which premieres next weekend at Cannes despite being shunned by festival organisers.

Hosepipe bans pointless, study says
Hosepipe bans do little to preserve water as the vast majority of people do not use them in their gardens anyway, according to the latest research.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
EUROPE

Race for AIG’s job has two favourites
Two front-runners have emerged in the race to succeed Robert Benmosche at the top of American International Group. In their search for the next chief executive at AIG, the insurer's directors have narrowed the field of internal candidates to two executives, Peter Hancock and Jay Wintrob, according to people familiar with the matter.

Kohn urges financial oversight in China
Former Federal Reserve official Donald Kohn urged China to give its central bank a big role in safeguarding financial stability as the nation moves to liberalize its financial system.