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JUDGE TO STRIKE OUT ON TURF OF TRADERS

A SLIGHT glitch yesterday at the long-anticipated court case between wheeler-dealers BGC Partners and Tullett Prebon, as one of the barristers was taken ill and could not attend to give his opening statements. As is customary with these things, the rest of the legal eagles were keen to make the best of their time in the courtroom, proceeding with the pressing matter of arranging a time for judge Justice Jack to visit Tullett&rsquo;s trading floor to glean a sense of how the industry works.<br /><br />The suggestion seemed to please His Lordship, who stressed he was keen to be part of a small party. &ldquo;I want to see it in operation,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Once we get up to around six people, the visit will be a considerable distraction.&rdquo;<br /><br />With all due respect, m&rsquo;Lud, The Capitalist wonders if the presence of a High Court judge on the trading floor, even in &ldquo;mufti&rdquo;, could be anything less than a considerable distraction (explaining a sotto voce comment overheard at the back: &ldquo;You can bet your bottom dollar there&rsquo;ll be a memo sent out telling them to be on their best behaviour&hellip;&rdquo;). <br /><br />One wonders what these brokers get up to when the judiciary&rsquo;s not coming to tea.<br /><br /><strong>KINGS OF SPIN</strong><br />Interesting goings-on at Portland PR, the firm headed up by financial spinner Tim Allan, formerly one of Tony Blair&rsquo;s most trusted advisers.<br /><br />Not even a month has passed since Michael Portillo, a veteran of the Tory old guard, joined a new advisory board at the firm, and now Allan has taken on some more fresh blood. Joining Portland as a partner is George Pascoe-Watson, political editor at The Sun &ndash; who claims to be the brains behind the paper&rsquo;s recent historic decision to back David Cameron&rsquo;s Conservatives at the next election.<br /><br />One thing&rsquo;s for sure: Allan certainly knows which side his bread is buttered.<br /><strong><br />AHOY, SAILOR</strong><br />If anyone was wondering at the unhealthy amount of time Mike Slade, chief executive of property group Helical Bar, has been spending in the office recently, The Capitalist is pleased to set minds at rest.<br /><br />Slade is renowned for his uncanny ability to deliver the goods at work while spending rather a lot of time out sailing aboard his record-breaking 100ft super-maxi racing yacht, the ICAP Leopard.<br /><br />But having not heard a peep about Slade&rsquo;s extra-curricular activities for almost four months now &ndash; something of a record &ndash; in pops news about him getting back on the high seas for the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta this weekend. <br /><br />Predictably, the yacht is tipped to take the trophy for the race, having already won its sister event the Rolex Fastnet Race earlier this year.<br /><br /><strong>BRUISING TIME</strong><br />Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford is having rather a hard time of it over in Houston, where he is awaiting trial for a $7bn fraud. The alleged swindler, who was recently hospitalised after a vicious brawl with a fellow inmate, started spitting blood into a tissue at a court hearing earlier this week to set a trial date.<br /><br />Apparently, he&rsquo;s now in solitary confinement in an 8ft by 9ft cell and suffering stress as a consequence, perhaps causing the bleed. Mind, given the choice between acute boredom and being beaten up by hardened jailhouse thugs, The Capitalist knows which option sounds preferable&hellip;