European leaders failed to tackle car makers over the cheating of emissions tests despite a clear public warning back in 2012, Exaro has established. Three years before the US Environmental Protection Agency caught Volkswagen out for using software in diesel engines to cheat emissions tests, there was growing concern in European Union institutions about trickery employed by car makers to deceive regulators over exhaust gases.
Business / TAX
Around 300 “Google-style” sweetheart tax deals are under investigation across the European Union, Exaro can reveal.
Sources at the European Commission confirmed to Exaro the number of “rulings” under scrutiny across all 28 EU states. The investigations, which are at an early stage, could lead to findings that specific countries were providing state aid illegally through such deals.
Interpol has issued a “red notice” for the arrest of a British businessman implicated in a bribery scandal over a UK defence contract in India. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation wants Christian Michel to be seized and extradited for prosecution over allegations of running a slush fund of €30 million linked to a €560 million deal secured by AgustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian helicopter maker. Updated 15 December 2015 11.30am
MPs are to summon two of the City’s top financial regulators to face questions next Tuesday about the collapse of the HBOS banking group. Exaro can reveal that the House of Commons Treasury committee, chaired by Andrew Tyrie, Conservative MP, will grill leading figures from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority – especially over enforcement action.
MEPs are lining up to condemn the European Commission and member states for lax regulation of car emissions that led to the Volkswagen scandal. Germany is accused of pressuring the EC and environmental regulators not to be too tough on its car makers. Meanwhile, US regulators are fuming over what they see as weak regulation of the car industry in Europe. Updated 17 December 2015
Pressure is rising on ministers to set up a national UK agency to fight money laundering to stem the flow of funds for terrorism. Police and regulatory sources revealed to Exaro their worries about a patchwork of 27 bodies that currently supervise the reporting by accountants, lawyers and other professions of transactions suspected of fuelling terrorism, human trafficking or organised crime.
Car makers furthest away from meeting emissions rules due to be in force in 2020 have been lobbying the hardest against tighter regulations. That is the conclusion of a new report by InfluenceMap, which tracks lobbying over policy on climate change.
London and Wales showed large falls in company failures as insolvencies across the UK dropped year on year for the third quarter in a row. The Exaro Insolvency Index reveals a continuing deceleration in the number of insolvencies this year, down on 2014 by 11.5 per cent across the UK. Insolvencies also fell five per cent in the third quarter compared to the second.
Former defence secretary Geoff Hoon faces fresh pressure as Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland has been plunged into a spate of corruption claims. Hoon, managing director for AgustaWestland’s international business, will be responsible for helping the company to defend itself from several criminal investigations abroad. He had helped to promote AgustaWestland’s business in two countries where investigations are under way.
This year’s falling rate of company failures is gathering pace as even the manufacturing sector sees a turnaround in insolvency levels. New figures from the Exaro Insolvency Index show how company failures fell faster in the second quarter of the year than in the first. The construction sector saw a strong year-on-year decrease, and Scotland had a turnaround from the previous quarter.
Scotland suffered a sharp year-on-year rise in insolvencies while the UK as a whole saw a slight fall. With Scotland set to be the key battleground in next Thursday’s general election, the latest data from the Exaro Insolvency Index highlights how its economy is faring relatively badly under the UK’s “austerity” strategy. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon (pictured), is staunchly opposing “austerity”.