Category: Business


Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green is facing calls to give up his knighthood if he does not pay back dividends received from BHS when he owned the stores chain.

The calls came as the work and pensions select committee confirmed it will investigate how the BHS pension scheme, which has a deficit of £571m, will affect the state-backed Pension Protection Scheme ( PPF).

BHS called in administrators on Monday, putting almost 11,000 jobs at risk and the Pension Protection Fund is now set to take on the company’s pension scheme. There was further bad news for the retail sector on Tuesday as clothing retailer Austin Reed also collapsed into administration, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk.

Green and Dominic Chappell, who bought BHS from the billionaire tycoon for £1 in March 2015, are facing questions about their management of the retailer.

The Guardian has calculated that Green and his family collected £586m in dividends, rental payments and interest on loans during their 15-year ownership of the retailer. Meanwhile, BHS made payments of more than £25m to Retail Acquisitions, the consortium led by Chappell, in the 13 months since it bought the company. These payments were for management fees, salaries, professional fees, and interest on loans.

John Mann, the Labour MP and member of the Treasury select committee, called on Green to repay £400m of dividends that were paid out of BHS, or give up his knighthood.

Mann said: “Sir Philip Green and his family have made millions out of BHS and its hard working staff. He took over a company with a healthy pension pot, yet when he sold BHS a black hole had appeared in its fund.

“Sir Philip Green has taken over £400m out of the company and now must be held responsible for the actions that were taken under his stewardship.

“There is a very simple and honourable solution to this crisis; repay the dividends, live up to the name he has chosen for his new yacht, ‘Lionheart’, or lose his knighthood.”

The work and pensions committee said it was too early to confirm whether Green would be called to appear in front of MPs as part of its investigation

Source: Sir Philip Green must repay £400m or lose knighthood, says MP | Business | The Guardian

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According to the Guardian, Mr Cameron’s father Ian ran an offshore fund that avoided having to pay tax in Britain by hiring Bahamas residents.

Downing Street insists it was a “private matter” whether the Cameron family still had funds in offshore investments.

But Mr Corbyn is expected to say: “It is time to get tough on tax havens. Britain has a huge responsibility. Many of those tax havens are British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies.

“As the leaked documents show, tax havens have become honey pots of international corruption, tax avoidance and evasion.”

Among the other revelations in the Panama Papers is a network of secret deals and loans worth $2bn (£1.4bn) which apparently leads to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Others said to be involved in the schemes include the prime ministers of Iceland and Argentina, as well as footballer Lionel Messi – among those now being investigated by Spanish authorities.

Source: Panama Launches Criminal Probe After Data Leak

Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday, becoming the first casualty of leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm which have shone a spotlight on the offshore wealth of politicians and public figures worldwide.

The Panama Papers showed the premier’s wife owned an offshore company with big claims on Iceland’s banks, a undeclared conflict of interest for Gunnlaugsson, infuriating many who hurled eggs and bananas in street protests calling for him to step down.

The banks collapsed as the global financial crisis hit in 2008 and many Icelanders blame politicians for not reining in their debt-fuelled binge and averting a deep recession.

The more than 11.5 million documents, leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, have caused public outrage over how the world’s rich and powerful are able to stash their wealth and avoid taxes while many people suffer austerity and hardship.

Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore companies, denies any wrongdoing. On Tuesday, the Panamanian government sought to defend the country’s reputation.

 

Source: Iceland’s leader resigns, first casualty of Panama Papers | Reuters

Brazilian football legend Pelé has sued Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS) for at least $30 million, claiming that the Korean company improperly used a look-alike in an advertisement that ran in the New York Times without permission.

According to the complaint filed this month in federal court in Chicago, Samsung placed the October ad for ultra high-definition televisions after breaking off negotiations in 2013 to use Pelé’s identity to promote its products.

Pelé, 75, is widely regarded as the greatest football player ever, and among the world’s most famous athletes in any sport.

Though the ad does not mention Pelé, it includes a portrait-sized image of a man who “very closely resembles” him, and a small photo of a football player making a “modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pelé,” the complaint said.

Pelé relies on endorsements for much of his income, and the ad will hurt the value of his endorsement rights and confuse consumers into believing he endorses Samsung products, the complaint added.

Samsung spokeswoman Danielle Meister Cohen declined to comment.

 

Source: Football legend Pelé sues Samsung over image in newspaper ad | Reuters

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