ABN AMRO ADMITS SANCTIONS BREACH
The former ABN Amro, now part of Royal Bank of Scotland, on Monday agreed to pay $500m (£337m) in fines as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice and admitted that it willfully and systematically violated US sanctions against Iran, Libya, the Sudan and Cuba. The settlement marks the latest in a series of big penalties brought by US prosecutors in connection to money-laundering violations.
US LOOKS TO TOYOTA FOR SAFETY
Ray LaHood, US transportation secretary, yesterday warned Toyota that the carmaker’s efforts to improve safety and quality needed to show results, and left open the possibility that it might face further fines. LaHood said that measures taken by the Japanese carmaker to address these quality issues were “very encouraging steps”, but added that he would “watch very carefully for improvements in safety”.
JAPAN TO DEVELOP GREEN CITIES FOR INDIA
Japan is to build three green cities in India to help Asia’s third-largest economy industrialise and raise urban planning standards. Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Toshiba are using Japanese cities as models for the project along a $90bn Japanese-funded industrial corridor between Delhi, the capital, and Mumbai, the financial centre.
UNITED UTILITIES SCALES DOWN WITH AUSTRALIAN UNIT SALE
United Utilities, Britain’s biggest listed water firm, has continued to dismantle its far-reaching empire with the sale of its Australian unit for A$225m (£136m). The sale to a consortium led by Mitsubishi Corporation, the Japanese conglomerate.
JITTERY UK SHOPPERS SPEND LESS AS POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY TAKES HOLD
High street sales slumped last month, hit by the timing of Easter and pre-election jitters. The value of like-for-like sales fell by 2.3 per cent in April, data from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG showed, offsetting more than half the 4.4 per cent increase seen in March.
MORE CASH FOR BORROWERS WHO BUY TO LET
The buy-to-let market is set for a strong rebound if demand for private rented accommodation continues to increase until 2014 as expected. A Datamonitor report forecast that buy-to-let lending volumes would almost double from a 2009 level of £8.5bn to £15.8bn in 2012, rising to £25.6bn by 2014. The forecast came as The Mortgage Works increased its loan-to-value limits to 80 per cent.
The Daily Telegraph
SKYPE 'TO OFFER ADVERTS’ TO KEEP SERVICE FREE
Josh Silverman, the chief executive of Skype, the popular internet telephone service, is “seriously considering” launching third party advertising on the service. Silverman, who says the company’s mission statement is to be “the fabric of real-time communication on the web”, has revealed that his team are looking into the possibility as an additional revenue stream.
CHAMPAGNE TUMBLES DOWN LIST OF WORLD'S FAVOURITE DRINKS
Dom Perignon – the bankers’ choice – fell around 30 places to exit the “Power 100” ranking of the world’s most popular drinks, while other brands such as Lanson and Tattinger also disappeared from the list. Moet et Chandon was the world’s most popular champagne at number 18 – down four places from 14 last year.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
RIG OWNER HAD RISING TALLY OF ACCIDENTS
Nearly three of every four incidents that triggered federal investigations into safety and other problems on deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico since 2008 have been on rigs operated by Transocean, according to an analysis of federal data. Transocean defended its safety record but didn’t dispute the Journal’s analysis.
EXPECTATIONS HIGH FOR PZU'S IPO
Shares of Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen are set to make a strong start to trading following the Polish insurer’s initial public offering on Wednesday, boosted by the European Union finance ministers’ agreement to bail out Eurozone economies that get into financial trouble. PZU’s IPO is the biggest in Europe this year, and the largest in Poland to date.