` Extradition of Businessman `Dmitry Firtash ‘ from `Austria to United States ‘Expected to Take Place in May ‘

#AceFinanceNews- VIENNA – April 30 – Decision to extradite businessman Dmitry Firtash from Austria to the United States is expected in May, according to Deutsche Welle , with reference to the District Court of Vienna.

Firtash is the head of the board of Group DF group of companies and of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine. Lawyer businessman in court will act former Minister of Justice of Austria Dieter Bemdorfer.

As the U.S. Department of Justice, Firtash threatens conclusion for several decades for the creation of a criminal group and money laundering, the maximum combined sentence for the crimes he is charged with is 50 years.

Firtash suspected of forming a criminal group and bribing local officials in one of the states of India, as well as representatives of the central authorities.

DEUTSCHE WELLE – GAZETA – BBC

#AFN2014

#austria, #dmitry-firtash, #ukraine, #united-states, #vienna

` Co-operative Groups Merger with Britannia Flawed Though Merger Advice Given by J P Morgan for £7 Million Fee ‘

AceFinanceNews – BRITAIN – April 30 – The Co-operative Group is facing calls to claw back pay from the executives who presided over its tumble towards collapse as a review blames a “culture of mediocrity”.

The independent review of the problems which led to a £1.5bn funding gap, carried out by Sir Christopher Kelly, was commissioned by the bank before it fell into the control of US hedge funds.

It concluded the roots of its problems lay in its 2009 merger with the Britannia Building Society – burdened by property loans which turned sour at the height of the financial crisis.

Sir Christopher said the bank’s demise reflected a “sorry story of failings” on many levels.

The review found “overwhelming” evidence that Britannia chief executive Neville Richardson, who took over as boss following the tie-up, failed to leave the new business “in a good position” when he left in 2011.
It also said the culture of the bank was such that there was a “willingness to accept poor performance” and a “tendency not to welcome challenge”.

Led at the time by Peter Marks, the board of the wider Co-operative Group was also criticised.
Sir Christopher said it had failed to provide an “effective stewardship” and had let down the group’s millions of members.

The findings were released as research by Sky News identified pay and bonuses among three key figures in the Co-operative movement worth more than £12m between 2008 and 2012.

Mr Marks topped the list with a total £8.1m, followed by Mr Richardson with £3.77m and disgraced former Bank chairman Reverend Paul Flowers, who received £750,000.

In an interview with Sky News John Mann MP, a member of the Treasury Select Committee and member of the co-operative movement, slammed rewards for failure and said the report showed that shareholders deserved to get money back.

Commenting on the conclusions of his report, Sir Christopher told Sky News: “The executive of the bank proved incapable of dealing with some of the difficult issues it faced.

( Guardian) Reported – December 13 – Regulators should investigate how investment banks are paid for takeover advice, according to the head of the Treasury select committee, after JP Morgan revealed it received £7m for advising the Co-op Bank on its disastrous merger with Britannia Building Society.

The US bank would have received nothing if the deal had not gone ahead, the bank revealed to MPs.

Members of the Treasury select committee said the investment bank had given “a green light” to Co-op’smanagement to do the deal which generated a multimillion pound fee for the US bank.

Tim Wise, one of JP Morgan’s top bankers, admitted that the Britannia merger had worked out badly but insisted his bank’s advice was sound at the time and that he would never be swayed by the prospect of a large fee.

However, the committee’s chair, Andrew Tyrie, said after the hearing that regulators should scrutinise how investment banks are paid for orchestrating takeovers. “A fee structure for the provision of independent advice that heavily incentivises one outcome over others strikes me as inherently problematic.

The industry and the regulators will need to look closely at the way such advice is remunerated,” he said.

Ace Related News:
1. Sky News – April 30 – http://tinyurl.com/pnvljrg
2. Guardian – December 13 – http://tinyurl.com/paaju22

#AFN2014

#acefinancenews, #ans2014, #co-operative-bank, #co-operative-group

` MIT Students to Receive $100 in Bitcoin After Wall Street Financier Donated $500,000 as a Study ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES – April 30 – Every student at a US university is to be given $100 (£59) in bitcoin after a Wall Street financier donated $500,000 (£297,000).

Students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will receive the virtual currency when they return to campus this autumn, as part of a study to see whether a small-scale bitcoin ecosystem can be created.

They will be free to spend their bitcoin in any way they please, but it is hoped they will use it to trade and barter with each other.

Given bitcoin’s soaring price, $100 will give each student just a fifth of a bitcoin at the current exchange rate.

Dan Elitzer, who founded the university’s bitcoin club, wrote on the website: “We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation: ‘When you step onto campus this fall, all of your classmates are going to have access to bitcoin; what are YOU going to build to give them interesting ways to use it?'”

Bitcoin is a virtual currency – also known as a cryptocurrency – which was introduced five years ago.
It can be mined using advanced computer processors, and exchanged between people at often fluctuating rates.

It is still unclear whether it is a passing fad, or a currency of the future.

Ace Related News:
1. Sky News – April 30 – http://tinyurl.com/osvxwey

#AFN2014

#bitcoin, #united-states

` Three Men Found Guilty of Payroll System Scam in New York City Get Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison ‘

#AceFinanceNews – NEW YORK – (Reuters) – Three men found guilty of engaging in a scheme to line their own pockets while implementing a payroll system for New York City whose costs ballooned to $700 million were each sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan, in sentencing Mark Mazer, Gerard Denault and Dimitry Aronshtein, also had sharp criticism for the city, which he said for years failed to stop the men’s “brazen scheme.”

The judge called New York’s contracting process an invitation for waste and fraud and said that until changes are made, criminal cases connected to it would remain “routine.”

“The process is in need of significant reform,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the New York City Law Department had no immediate comment on the judge’s remarks.

Mazer, Denault and Aronshtein received the maximum sentence for each count on which they were convicted in November, with the sentences for each man to be served concurrently.

The three were part of what prosecutors called a network of relatives and other conspirators involved in a massive fraud and kickback scheme.

(NYDN) – Gerard Denault, Mark Mazer and Dmitry Aronshtein were found guilty in November of siphoning away nearly $100 million associated with CityTime in a kickback and money laundering scheme.

A Manhattan federal judge gave the men the maximum sentence for each count Monday, but will allow the sentences to be served concurrently, meaning each will spend about 20 years behind bars.
BY Daniel Beekman
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Ace Related News:
1. Reuters – April 29 – http://tinyurl.com/mw2s239
.

#AFN2014

#new-york, #new-york-city

` One Tenth of Cuba’s Debt to Russia will be Invested in Cuban Economy RFM Sergei Lavrov ‘

#AceFinanceNews- HAVANA – April 29 – One-tenth of Cuba’s debt to Russia will be reinvested in Cuban economy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday upon the completion of talks with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez.

“The part of the debt that is not written off – and that’s 10% of the total – will be reinvested in Cuban economy on agreement between the two sides,” he said. “We’re interested in the making these investments productive to the maximum.”

Various companies are showing interest towards operations in Cuba and the energy sector leaders like Zarubezhneft, Rosneft and Inter RAO are among them, Lavrov said.

He recalled an important arrangement that has already been fulfilled in the form of an agreement on writing off Cuba’s debt to our country.

“This agreement is in the final phase of ratification at present,” Lavrov said.

Russian Oil and Media News

#acedebtnews

#AFN2014

#cuba, #cuban, #havana, #rosneft, #russia

` Visa International Payment System Stops Servicing Russia’s SMP Bank and Invest Capital Bank ‘

#AceFinanceNews – MOSCOW – April 29 – Visa international payment system stops servicing Russia’s SMP Bank and Invest Capital Bank.

“On April 28, 2014, several more Russian individuals and organizations, including SMP Bank and InvestCapitalBank, were added to the list of specially designated nationals, or SDN’s.

In compliance with the US legislation, Visa International Service Association stopped servicing the above mentioned financial institutions,” a spokesperson for Visa told ITAR-TASS.

#AFN2014

#moscow, #russias

` Sweden’s Government Increases Defence Spending by $830 Million for First-Time Since Collapse of Soviet Union ‘

#AceFinanceNews – STOCKHOLM – April 28 – Following the crisis in Ukraine, Sweden’s government has proposed increasing the Nordic country’s military spending by 5.5 billion Swedish kronor ($830 million) a year.

The four-party centre-right coalition said Tuesday it is deeply concerned by the recent events in Ukraine and wants to raise the military outlays gradually in coming years to reach the proposed figure by 2024.

Among other things, it wants to buy 10 more fighter jets and two more submarines to improve the defence of the Baltic Sea and the island Gotland.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Sweden’s defence budget was slashed and its military emphasis shifted toward international peacekeeping operations. Now, however, both the left-leaning opposition and the government agree that the country’s military readiness is inadequate.

#AFN2014

#gotland, #soviet-union, #stockholm, #sweden, #ukraine

` Ukraine’s PM Yatsenyuk Ultimatum to Russia $268 per 1,000 Cubic Metres Agree 30 Days Contest Debt in Court ‘

#AceFinanceNews- KIEV – April 28 – Ukraine is ready to pay the price of 268 US dollars per 1,000 cubic metres of Russian gas, parliament-appointed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Monday, April 28.

This is 45% below the established price of gas.

If Moscow disagrees, Kiev will be prepared to contest its debt in court, he said.

Yatsenyuk told reporters that a “note” had been sent to Russia’s Gazprom, which “states the price”.

If Gazprom accepts the proposed terms, Ukraine will pay the gas debt of 2.2 billion US dollars immediately.

If no solution is found within 30 days, the dispute will be taken to court.

#AFN2014

#arseniy-yatsenyuk, #gazprom, #kiev, #moscow, #ukraine

` Romania to Raise Defence Ministry Budget by $217mn Citing Problems in the Eastern Ukraine Regions ‘

#AceFinanceNews – BUCHAREST – April 28 – Romania will raise the defense ministry’s 2014 budget by $217.41 million, or 0.2 percent of national output, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday.

As tensions continue to build in neighbouring Ukraine, Romania has agreed a fiscal budget deficit target of 2.2 percent of gross domestic product this year under the terms of a 4-billion-euro aid deal led by the International Monetary Fund, Reuters said.

Higher defence spending would raise the ceiling, as would government plans to slash employer taxes to the social insurance budget.

REUTERS – RT News – AP

#AFN2014

#bucharest, #romania

` London Listed Oil Group Reliant on Funds from one of Russia’s Largest Banks Drawn into Takeover Controversy’

#AceFinanceNews – BRITAIN – April 26 – Vince Cable the Business Secretary, has been drawn into a row about the controversial takeover of a London-listed oil group that is reliant on funds from one of Russia’s largest banks.

Sky News has seen a letter sent by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to Mr Cable warning him that the Stanlow refinery, which produces 15% of the UK’s transport fuel, is being used as collateral in a bid for Essar Energy.

Robert Hingley, an ABI director, said in the letter to Mr Cable that Essar Global, the vehicle of the billionaire Ruia brothers who want to buy the company, had failed to provide any indication of its plans for the Stanlow site in north-west England.

By highlighting the Russian provenance of the financing for the offer, the ABI’s intervention will escalate tensions over the cut-price bid by Essar Global for the 22% of Essar Energy shares it does not already own.
The Ruias listed Essar Energy in London by selling shares less than four years ago priced at six times the price they are now offering.

The cut-price offer has sparked fury from big City institutions, including Standard Life Investments, which in February described it as “cynical opportunism” and “a calculated attempt to deprive minority shareholders of the substantial future upside in Essar Energy’s valuation”.

Under stock exchange rules, because the Ruias already control a majority of the shares, they can declare their offer unconditional even if no other shareholders accept their bid.

Doing so would enable them to de-list the company without a vote, which would either force investors to accept just 70 pence -a-share or to remain shareholders in a more highly-indebted and unlisted company where they possess no influence.

The ABI special committee, which represents major City shareholders including Standard Life and Henderson, has urged Essar Global to commit to a de-listing only if a majority of the independent investors accept its offer.

The Financial Conduct Authority is changing its rules relating to de-listings but has irritated the ABI by not applying that rule-change to takeover situations.

Ace Related News:
1. April 26 – Sky News – http://tinyurl.com/l567o5u

#AFN2014

#abi, #britain, #financial-conduct-authority, #russian, #standard-life