Monday. 24 October 2016

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John McDonnell to accuse oil giants of North Sea tax avoidance

Chancellor George Osborne is to be challenged by his opposite number over claims of tax avoidance on oil companies’ revenues from North Sea fields. Labour’s John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, is to demand an explanation from Osborne after a report by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) claimed that major oil companies appeared to have avoided tax on huge revenues from the North Sea.

Westland’s ‘Mr Fixit’ named in Italian court’s ‘corruption’ ruling


British arms-dealer Christian Michel is named in an Italian court judgment as the central figure in the corrupt sale of UK-made helicopters to India. An appeal court in Italy ruled that two chiefs at the Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer, AgustaWestland, provided Michel with €30 million for “corrupt activities” to help win a €560 million deal in 2010 for the sale of 12 AW101 helicopters to India.

Royal Bank of Scotland faces call to compensate GRG victims

Bosses at the Royal Bank of Scotland face pressure to set up a compensation scheme after its restructuring unit fleeced assets from “distressed” businesses. Exaro understands that a long-awaited report on the scandal – commissioned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the City regulator – is set to recommend a compensation scheme. The report was sent to state-controlled RBS last Wednesday for any final comments before publication.

BHP faces new criticism over probe into mine disaster in Brazil

Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton faces fresh criticism for its part in Brazil’s worst environmental disaster by commissioning an investigation that “cannot be considered independent”. BHP and its Brazilian partner ordered lawyers who acted as their corporate advisors to conduct an “independent” investigation into why a dam burst at their Samarco mine last November, releasing a huge wave of mud and killing 19 people.

Theresa May urged to up scrutiny of wealthy foreign investors

Home secretary Theresa May is being urged to introduce “full transparency” over rich foreigners who are fast-tracked for UK visas in return for investment. Transparency International UK, the anti-corruption organisation, says in a report today that the Home Office should make public disclosures of who is investing, how much, as well as their financial interests and assets for those eligible for “Tier 1 (Investor) visas”.

Hackers to probe engine control units amid emissions scandal


Researchers who work for environmental regulators around the world are hiring computer hackers to examine the engine control units of several makes of car. Exaro can reveal that the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which helped expose Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, wants the hackers to investigate whether several other car makers have been using special software, or “defeat devices”, to cheat environmental tests.

EC research revealed scandal over car emissions five years ago

European Commission technicians discovered in 2011 that in real-world tests diesel cars were emitting up to four times maximum limits of poisonous nitrogen oxides. And, for parts of the test trips, emissions averaged 14 times the legal level. Their findings are set to be raised in an inquiry by MEPs into what went wrong with the regulation of vehicle emissions in Europe.

EC probes another 300 ‘Google-style’ tax deals across Europe

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. Updated 11 February 2016

‘Defeat devices’: EU ignored warnings over exhaust emissions

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.

Wanted by Interpol: ‘Mr Fixit’ for Westland’s €560m Indian deal

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 7 April 2016


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