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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

LEHMAN CREDITORS GET A LIFT AFTER $620M OF ASIAN ASSETS ARE SOLD
The Hong Kong-based liquidators of Lehman Brothers’ Asian operations have sold $620m (£420m) of the failed investment bank’s portfolio of loans, bonds and equity positions in the region. The transactions, which achieved an average recovery rate of 100 per cent, mark the first major disposals from Lehman’s $2.6bn “principal investments and loans” portfolio.

BANKS USED TO EASE SUPPLY CHAIN PRESSURE
Big construction groups are turning to banks to help ease the pressure on their supply chains as companies in the sector fall victim to the strains of weak demand and constricted lending. Lenders have seen an uptake of supply chain finance, where the creditworthyness of the lead contracter is used to bridge the invoicing gap.

CONSORTIA IN FIGHT FOR LE MONDE
Le Monde, France’s most venerable newspaper, will next week choose a new owner from two rival consortia after France Telecom agreed to inject €50m to €60m ($62m to $74m) into the daily if the bid wins. The telecoms group would invest alongside Claude Perdriel, owner of Le Nouvel Observateur magazine, and Prisa, the Spanish media group, in a joint bid worth a little over €100m. A rival consortium comprising Mathieu Pignasse, a Lazard banker, Pierre Bergé, the former business partner of Yves Saint Laurent, and Xavier Niel, the telecoms billionaire, has offered to invest €100m in the newspaper.

ICP IS ACCUSED BY SEC OF FRAUD
The US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday broadened its crackdown on alleged abuses in the market for debt products by accusing ICP Asset Management, a boutique bank, of defrauding investors in collateralised debt obligations.

THE TIMES

PRISONER CLAIMS MADOFF FUNNELLED $9BN TO FRIENDS
The mystery surrounding Wall?Street’s biggest swindle deepened yesterday with a claim that Bernard Madoff had funnelled £9bn (£6.1bn) to friends. A fellow prisoner said the convicted fraudster had told other inmates that he secretly sent the money to three people before he was arrested in 2008.

MAKEOVER FOR BANK OF SCOTLAND AS HIGH-STREET RIVALRY INCREASES
The Bank of?Scotland is set to reassert its traditional conservative values on the country’s high streets by embarking on a major rebranding exercise. The bank’s new parent, Lloyds Banking Group, has approved the project, which will see more than 300 branches in Scotland drop the “H” and remove all traces of the supermarket-style interiors of Halifax.

The Daily Telegraph

BATTERED EUROZONE LEFT VULNERABLE TO CRISIS, WARNS FITCH
The global crisis has revealed weaknesses in the Eurozone’s framework which left it particularly vulnerable to the downturn, Fitch has warned. The ratings agency said that although the risk of a Eurozone break-up was low over the short to medium term, further episodes of “extreme market volatility” were likely to persist until the recovery and deficit reduction were secured in the region.

HILTON HOTEL CLOSED BY CHINESE POLICE OVER PROSTITUTION CHARGES
Hilton has been severely embarrassed in China after one of its flagship hotels was closed down by the police over an alleged brothel operating in the basement. The Hilton hotel in the Chinese city of Chongqing was closed down by the police, who said it would remain shut indefinitely.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

ADIDAS SEES STRONG SOCCER SALES
German sportswear and sports equipment maker Adidas said yesterday it would post record soccer-related sales for the year on the back of the World Cup in South Africa. “After the first 10 days it is already clear this World Cup will be a great success for Adidas. We will not only achieve our ambitious goals in football, we will over-achieve them,” chief executive Herbert Hainer said in Germany.

INTEL, FTC IN SETTLEMENT TALKS
Lawyers for Intel and the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday they agreed to suspend administrative trial proceedings while they weigh a possible settlement in the agency’s case charging the chip giant with abusing its power over the microprocessor market. Intel and the agency now have until 22 July to review a proposed consent order.