PLANS REVEALED FOR US-STYLE PLEA BARGAINS
The UK plans to introduce US-style corporate plea bargains that could result in fines totalling hundreds of millions of pounds, according to the Solicitor General. “You have to have a cost-benefit analysis. If I can produce a system which has all the benefits [of the US] and can do justice, as well as making money for this country, it seems to me that there’s something to be thought about,” Edward Garnier QC said.
SEC PROBES BANKS OVER MORTGAGE LOANS
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse and other financial institutions for their handling of problem mortgage loans, according to public disclosures and people familiar with the matter. The SEC is examining whether banks misled shareholders about the number of loans they might be forced to buy back because of early defaults.
PFIZER FACES OFF-PATENT SMOKING DRUG THREAT
Pfizer is facing a threat to its top-selling smoking cessation drug Champix from the Bulgarian company that has long marketed the low-cost off-patent drug from which it was derived. A clinical study financed by British charities concludes that Tabex, sold by Sofia-based Sopharma is as effective and much cheaper than alternative products used by smokers seeking to quit.
AUDIT STAFF PLAN BID WITH MAZARS FOR WORK
District audit staff have teamed up with Mazars, an international accountancy firm, as they plan to form a mutual to bid for local government and NHS work as the Audit Commission is abolished. Mazars, will provide the initial funding for the mutual, to be called DA Partnership.
REEBOK FINED OVER ADVERT
Trainers that promised a quick way to a toned bottom have been shown to carry flabby evidence that they work, leading to a multimillion-dollar penalty for Reebok. The footwear manufacturer has been fined $25m (£16m) by US regulators over the advertising of its EasyTone shoes and flipflops, which claim to improve the appearance of legs and bottoms.
MOULTON BIDS FOR CLARITY
Jon Moulton has launched a bid for the retail software company Clarity Commerce less than three months after snapping up one of its rivals. The move cements the interest of the venture capitalist who runs Better Capital in the retail software sector. A regular TV and radio pundit, Mr Moulton used to run Alchemy Partners until he quit two years ago after a spat over strategy.
The Daily Telegraph
APD CUT ON FLIGHTS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND
Air passenger duty on all long-haul flights from Northern Ireland will be reduced from £60 to £12 for passengers travelling in economy class, and from £120 to £24 in business class from 1 November. APD on short-haul and domestic flights from Northern Ireland, and duty paid by travellers across the rest of the UK, will be unaffected.
NHS CHIEF CONFIRMS PFI BAILOUTS
The chief executive of the National Health Service has admitted that taxpayers will have to bail out hospitals struggling with debts from Private Finance Initiative schemes. Sir David Nicholson said some of the trusts struggling to balance their books, and so reach semi-independent Foundation Trust status, may have to be “subsidised”.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
CRÉDIT AGRICOLE BOLSTERS SAFETY NET
Crédit Agricole SA yesterday became the latest French bank to announce plans to reduce its financing needs and strengthen its balance sheet, a move aimed at showing it can adapt to harsher market conditions. Crédit Agricole said will lower the amount of financing it needs from wholesale money markets, drop some businesses and focus capital on its key retail banking business.
H-P HIRES GOLDMAN TO GUARD AGAINST ACTIVISTS
Hewlett-Packard has hired Goldman Sachs to help the firm defend itself against possible activist investors who could push for change at H-P, people familiar with the matter said. H-P has felt vulnerable to possible activist investor pressure amid questions about the company’s performance.