IRISH CUSTOMERS OF EQUITABLE LIFE URGED TO SEEK COMPENSATION - People in this country who took out pension policies with Equitable Life have been urged to immediately seek compensation from the British government.There were some 6,500 policyholders in Ireland, along with more than one million UK policy holders who incurred losses to their pensions, savings and investments, when the company went bust says the Irish Independent. Estimated total losses were close to €6 billion for all the policyholders. The British government announced in October 2010 that £1.5 billion (€1.8 billion) would be paid out to the victims and to the relatives of those who died waiting for compensation. Now Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness has urged policyholders here who lost out on their pension savings and who have not to date received compensation under the UK Government's partial-compensation scheme, to immediately seek redress. She said there was a deadline of next March for making a claim. Some policyholders have already received pay-outs, but theses have been a fraction of the losses.
MINISTERS WANT ANGLO KEPT OUT OF INITIAL BANK INQUIRY - Senior Government figures believe the forthcoming parliamentary inquiry into the banking crash should postpone investigating the Anglo Irish Bank debacle until after the trials next year of three former Anglo executives. Ministers wish to avoid jeopardising the trials by closing off scope for any prejudicial comment to be made during the course of the inquiry, writes the Irish Times. The Government gave the go-ahead yesterday for the inquiry under new laws as the Dáil resumed after its nine-week summer recess. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the inquiry should focus on the bank guarantee and events leading up to it, the role of banks and auditors, and the role of State institutions. Mr Kenny said it was his earnest hope and expectation - and that of the Government - that the inquiry was conducted prudently and judiciously "having regard to pending criminal trials". This matter is viewed with great sensitivity due to the potential for trials to collapse if defendants successfully argue they cannot get a fair hearing. Former Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick, former finance director Willie McAteer and former leader of the bank's business in Ireland Pat Whelan are due to stand trial in January.
REVENUE DENIES 'SPECIAL' TAX DEALS - The Government does not negotiate individual tax rates or tax arrangements with multinationals, Revenue's Eamonn O'Dea told the Oireachtas finance committee hearing into taxation. Ireland's corporate tax rate has come into focus over recent months following US Senate hearings which found that Apple had significantly reduced its tax rate through Irish-registered companies, says the Irish Examiner. Moreover, it emerged last week that the European Commission has launched a probe into Ireland's tax system. Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty wanted to know did the Government have the ability to scrap the system whereby multinationals were allowed to set up Irish-registered but non-tax resident entities. This system was pivotal in the operation of a complex tax structure known as the 'double Irish' that enabled multinationals to route royalty and patent revenues through Ireland to a tax haven. Gary Tobin from the Department of Finance said it was possible to close down this provision, but it would have a marginal impact on global tax avoidance by multinationals. Instead of acting unilaterally, it was best to wait for the OECD to complete its initiative, base erosion and profit shifting, which is aimed at clamping down on tax avoidance, he said.
WALL STREET LINES UP FOR ‘MIDNIGHT MADNESS’ - Some time next week Dan Keegan, Citigroup’s head of US equities, will be asked to sing a ballad over the speakers on the bank’s New York trading floors. The unusual request is part of Citi’s efforts to raise at least $250,000 to enter five teams into a fundraising competition known as “Midnight Madness”, says the Financial Times. Traditionally the purview of Goldman Sachs bankers, this year the all-night competition has expanded to include other financial groups. Goldman will now compete in the lavish scavenger hunt and puzzle-solving game against Citi, Credit Suisse, the hedge fund BlueMountain and Secor Asset Management. The competition takes place on October 5 and has already kicked off a flurry of activity across a competitive Wall Street. The prospect of earning bragging rights in a battle of wits against rivals while raising money for charity is set to lure about 250 traders, quantitative analysts and bankers to this year’s event. “This type of mental Olympics, combined with adventure, is something that I think might have a broad appeal on Wall Street, and when it’s all for a good cause it’s an attractive combination,” said Michael Liberman, managing partner at BlueMountain. Goldman has asked participants to stump up at least $50,000 per team. Proceeds go to Good Shepherd Services, a New York City-based charity which offers education and support services for poor or at-risk children and teenagers.