Date: Sunday 01 Jul 2012
David Cameron has signalled his willingness to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in an abrupt change of tone towards Brussels. The Prime Minister had repeatedly rebuffed calls from Conservative Eurosceptics who want a legal commitment to holding a referendum. Two days after publicly rejecting the pleas from right-wing MPs, however, Mr Cameron declared today that he is “not against referendums on Europe”. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he stopped short of accepting the need for an in/out referendum but said Britain may need to renegotiate its relationship with the EU. “The fact is the British people are not happy with what they have, and neither am I,” he said. Mr Cameron’s move to reassure right-wing backbenchers was timed to head off a speech that will be delivered tomorrow by Liam Fox, a leading member of the party’s Eurosceptic wing, The Times reports.
The Sunday Telegraph understands that South African-born Mr Glasenberg, who owns 15.8% of Glencore’s shares, is unwilling to increase the merger terms above those originally set down. He is due to meet Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed, Qatar Holding’s principal, this week to discuss the merger, after the Middle Eastern investor last week surprised fellow investors by rejecting Glencore’s offer. It will be the first time the two men will have sat down face-to-face to discuss the merger. It follows a series of meetings between advisers on both sides. Lazard, acting for the Qataris, and Citigroup, acting for Glencore, met last Wednesday.
The financial regulator has branded the conduct of banks in the years running up to the crash as “unethical”, saying that in many cases staff at major lenders did not understand the products they were selling or that they might harm their customers. Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Martin Wheatley, head of financial conduct at the Financial Services Authority (FSA), said Britain has been left with a “big problem” as a result of what he described as the “back book legacy” of the banks actions in the boom years. “I think the banks suspended normal ethical standards and were selling products that were profitable for the investment banks, not well understood by the banking staff that were introducing them, and not at all understood by the customers who were buying them,” he said.
Two of Barclays’s leading shareholders have demanded the removal of Bob Diamond, the chief executive, and Marcus Agius, its chairman, as the firestorm surrounding the bank intensifies. The calls — which follow £290m fines over rate fixing allegations — were made as the Chancellor faced questions after incorrectly naming HSBC as one of the banks being investigated as part of the ongoing Libor probe. The Government is also setting out a series of measures designed to clean up the image of the banking industry, including a consultation on making it possible to criminally prosecute bankers for wrongdoing. But the proposals are unlikely to silence Barclays’ critics, who feel that the situation at the top of the British bank is now untenable. One top 20 shareholder at one of the major London investors told The Sunday Telegraph: “In recent years the board, including the chairman, appear to have acted as agents of the executive, rather than the top governing body. The chairman and the chief executive need to be replaced.”
Aviva is considering selling or closing up to a fifth of its business divisions in a radical overhaul of one of the UK’s leading insurers. In a strategy presentation to be given to analysts this week, John McFarlane, the recently appointed executive chairman, will reveal that of the 58 business divisions identified in the company, between 10 and 15 could be sold or wound down. Although it is unclear which businesses Aviva will highlight as possible sale or closure targets, analysts have previously questioned whether the insurer’s US life business is a strong enough performer. Commentators have also raised the prospect of Aviva further selling down its stake in Delta Lloyd, the Dutch insurance provider, The Telegraph reports.
Britain’s dependence on imported Russian gas is set to deepen under plans by Gazprom to build a giant pipeline linking the two countries, The Times has learnt. The Kremlin-backed group has held preliminary talks with the Government about the project, which would dramatically increase Russian gas supplies to Britain and help to redraw the global energy map. British ministers are keen on the plan. Last night in Moscow, Gazprom’s chief executive Alexey Miller said: “There have been signals the UK would be interested, both on the government and corporate level.”
Global investment manager BlackRock is taking space in one of Edinburgh’s newest office blocks in what is the biggest city-centre letting of a speculative development for almost a decade. The US firm will occupy part of the first floor and three other entire floors of Exchange Place 1, owned by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, in Fountainbridge. BlackRock will double its existing 40,000sq ft of floorspace in nearby Torphichen Street, providing it with enough room to expand its operations. Nigel Bolton, head of BlackRock in Scotland and head of European equities, said it represented a long-term commitment to Edinburgh, Scotland on Sunday reports.
Bankers who manipulate interest rates to boost their profit margins will face criminal investigation under new laws to be proposed by Ministers this week amid growing demands for a full inquiry into the scandal of Britain’s financial sector practices. An independent review of regulations, to be unveiled by David Cameron, is expected to bring in severe punishments for bank staff who seek to rig key interest rates following the £290m fine levied on Barclays Bank. Fears were mounting last night that if the rigged-rates scandal spreads to other banks such as the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, taxpayers could be left exposed to multi-million pound fines. RBS’s exposure will be raised at this week’s meeting of the Treasury Select Committee, which yesterday ordered Bob Diamond, Barclay’s under-fire chief executive, to appear before it to answer questions on how much he knew about the affair and when, Scotland on Sunday says.
Britain's premier anti-corruption agency refused to carry out a criminal investigation into alleged manipulation of the benchmark Libor bank lending rate because it did not have enough money to fund it. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) ruled out an investigation into allegations that staff at Barclays and other banks had tried to rig the lending rates which could have led to anyone found guilty facing prison sentences. Officials said last night that the SFO and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) were now urgently reviewing details of the allegations following the outcry over the decision not to investigate originally. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said yesterday: "Once these investigations are complete, if they have committed criminal offences they should be brought to trial," The Independent on Sunday explains.
or share it with one of these popular networks:
You are here: news