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Saturday Papers: Osborne tightens net on offshore tax evaders

Saturday Papers: Osborne tightens net on offshore tax evaders

Top stories

  • Financial Times: George Osborne plans to give new powers to HM Revenue & Customs to make it easier to prosecute people who evade taxes by hiding money offshore.
  • The Guardian: Cooperative Bank's annual report and accounts, issued yesterday, after two delays, showed a £1.3 billion loss and contained a "going concern" warning from its auditors, KPMG, to demonstrate the importance of raising the extra cash.
  • Financial Times: Investors who bought Lloyds Banking Group shares from the government last month are threatening to boycott future offerings by the Treasury after they were burnt by a bungled regulatory announcement that prompted a sell-off in financial stocks.
  • Financial Times: George Osborne says increased geopolitical risks, particularly in Ukraine, and the likelihood that the US Federal Reserve will soon think seriously about raising rates is likely to lead to market volatility.
  • Financial Times: JP Morgan Chase had its worst start to the year in fixed income trading since the depths of the financial crisis, causing the largest US bank to report a sharp decline in profits.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Elstree Studios, in Hertfordshire just north of London, is undergoing a multimillion-pound development to extend its 15-acre site by a quarter and potentially double its profits - vital expansion for a studio that is so overbooked it regularly turns away prospective productions.
  • Financial Times: Finland has a one-in-three chance of losing its prized triple A credit rating in the next two years, a leading rating agency warned, citing “persistent subpar growth” and the Nordic country’s exposure to Russia.
  • Financial Times: Barclays has settled its second lawsuit in a week that alleged the bank manipulated a benchmark rate underpinning an unsuitable interest-rate derivative product.
  • Financial Times: Top 10 shareholders in Wm Morrison have issued warnings to senior management over their stewardship of the supermarket after its severe profit warning last month.
  • Financial Times: A three week-long rout in technology stocks is fuelling fears of a broader sell-off in equities as investors re-evaluate the risks they are prepared to take now the era of ultra-loose monetary policy is drawing to a close.
  • Financial Times: Shares in luxury stereo and television maker Bang & Olufsen plunged on Friday, after the Danish company reported a larger-than-expected quarterly loss and said it is looking at ways to raise capital and boost growth.
  • Financial Times: Three London stock market debuts received a low-key reception from investors on Friday, marking a renewed sense of caution after the enthusiasm that had greeted other recent initial public offerings.
  • Financial Times: Standard Chartered says it has tightened its outsourcing of client data after Singapore’s regulator said it had taken “appropriate supervisory actions” against the lender over the theft of bank statements last year.
  • Financial Times: The rise of the so-called silver shopper has helped to boost sales at womenswear group Bonmarché, even as rival clothing retailers struggle for growth.
  • Financial Times: Royal Dutch Shell has postponed an innovative offshore project in Norway because of rising costs, in a further sign of the strict capital discipline being pursued by new chief executive Ben van Beurden.
  • Financial Times: The US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating Herbalife, the multi-level marketing company that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has alleged is a pyramid scheme, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Financial Times: The US government has imposed sanctions against the Crimean subsidiary of Ukraine’s national gas company, which was seized by the region’s parliament in the run-up to its annexation by Russia.
  • Financial Times: The G20 has given an ultimatum to the US to pass reforms to the International Monetary Fund or risk being left out of new changes.
  • The Independent: The UK champagne market has lost its fizz, according to the latest figures from the region; annual figures released from the Champagne Bureau have revealed 2013 sales were down 5.1% by volume and 3.8% in terms of value in the UK.
  • The Guardian: Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is seeking a replacement for its boss Sam Laidlaw. Laidlaw, who has led British Gas since 2006 and is paid more than £2 million a year, will leave before the end of the year though no date has been set.
  • The Guardian: Google will open up its Glass “Explorer Programme” for one day only to allow US residents to buy the smartglasses before general release at $1500 plus sales tax.
  • The Guardian: Homebuyers are to face tough new affordability tests which will take account of every aspect of household spending, including childcare and takeaway meals, as part of an effort by City regulators to avoid the lending mistakes made in the run-up to the financial crisis.
  • The Guardian: The influential chairman of the House energy and commerce committee on Friday said that the chairman of General Motors had received emails warning her of a problem with some GM vehicles, calling into question the company’s version of events that led to a recall of 2.6 million cars so far this year.
  • The Guardian: Phone companies have increased the cost of having a landline by 38% over the past five years, adding to the misery of consumers grappling with rising household bills, cuts in benefits and other pressures on their finances.
  • The Guardian: The UK's recovery will improve the living standards of all workers and generate well-paid jobs to replace those that technology makes obsolete, George Osborne told an audience of free-market campaigners in Washington on Friday.
  • The Guardian: Next is to dump the executive bonus scheme that produced multimillion-pound payouts that the chief executive, Lord Wolfson, has shared among staff - although the existing pot could continue to pay out for nine more years.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Tinder 'valued at $5 billion' after Diller owner of Match.com reported to have paid $500 million for 10% stake in mobile-dating site.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple and Microsoft have bigger cash holdings than UK; huge rise in foreign cash holdings in last few years mean many large companies have bigger holdings than many sovereign states.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ingenious Ventures boss Patrick Bradley has announced plans to launch Station 12, a new £150 million growth capital fund for mid-size firms in the media and entertainment industries.
  • Daily Mail: Britain stands ready to support tougher economic and financial sanctions against Russia over the crisis in the Ukraine, the Chancellor has told leading finance ministers.
  • Daily Mail: Former BP boss Tony Hayward is one step closer to the chairmanship at commodities giant Glencore Xstrata after indications his current employer, Genel Energy, will not stand in his way.
  • Daily Mail: Soggy weather throughout Britain in February put a dampener on the construction trade as output shrank, but despite this fall the UK economy is still set to grow 3.1% according to a forecaster.
  • Daily Mail: Insurers braced for hit as just a quarter of pension savers intend to use their retirement pots to buy an annuity.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Polyus Gold, the London-listed gold miner that is Russia’s top producer of the metal, said it was “analysing” calls from Moscow for Russian companies to delist from foreign exchanges.
  • Financial Times: Independent directors of Essar Energy have repeated their call for shareholders to resist an offer from its majority owner to take the Indian-focused oil refining and power generation company private.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Tech stocks: spending billions on odd bets will inspire investors to revisit fundamentals.
  • Financial Times (Lex): JP Morgan: no shortage of things to worry about in first-quarter earnings.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Japan: time for BoJ to act.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Co-operative Bank: the bank can improve with time, the group will not.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Current bout of dotcom fever appears less virulent.

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