CYPRIOT COURT LIFTS QUINN INJUNCTION - A court in Cyprus has lifted an injunction granted to the family of businessman Seán Quinn, which had been in place since June 2011, and that prevented the former Anglo Irish Bank from taking certain actions against property assets. The Irish Times says that the Cypriot District Court of Nicosia set aside the injunction granted on an ex parte basis, meaning that the bank was not represented in the case, and dismissed the legal action. The injunction prevented the share receiver appointed by the bank to the Quinns’ Swedish company behind their international properties from taking actions against its Cypriot subsidiaries. The Swedish firm owns Cypriot companies which, in turn, own companies in Moscow that hold the Quinns’ properties in Russia. Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo, said it would seek to recover the costs incurred in relation to the Cypriot injunction and related matters. “As a nationalised financial institution, IBRC is determined to recoup its costs and to minimise the expense of this matter to the taxpayer and the State,” the bank said in a statement. A spokesman for the Quinn family said they had no comment to make on the Cypriot ruling.
FOREIGN LOANS KEEP IRISH BRANCH OF SCIENTOLOGY AFLOAT - Revenues have continued to decline at the Irish branch of the Church of Scientology as it remains deep in the red, figures show. Membership of the worldwide church - established in 1954 - includes movie stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The Irish Examiner says that interest-free loans from abroad are propping up the Irish branch, which is €686,723 in the red, according to its latest accounts. However, the non-executive director of the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin, Gerard Ryan, said yesterday its membership continued to grow last year and "our church in Ireland is definitely here for the long haul". Financial documents lodged by the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin Ltd with the Companies Office show revenues fell 14%, from €193,509 to €166,086. This followed the church’s revenues more than halving in 2009 from €484,070 recorded in 2008. As a result of revenues further decreasing in 2010, the church’s operating surplus dropped 98%, from €68,292 to €1,391. This compares to a surplus of €271,804 in 2008. The accounts are for the 12-month period to the end of Apr 2010, but were only signed off by the board on February 20 of this year.
GADDAFI'S SON BIT OFF MORE THAN HE COULD CHEW - As son of a dictator chic goes, six live sharks circling menacingly in a glass tank aboard a huge purpose-built cruise liner represent the kind of talking point that remains an idle daydream for most kleptocrats’ offspring. But Hannibal Gaddafi, one of the sons of the late Libyan dictator, commissioned just such a vessel after becoming frustrated in his attempts to lease cruise liners at short notice, says the Financial Times. The 36-year-old, who controlled the country’s maritime industry and seaports, ordered the ship to entertain 3,500 guests in style and awe but never got to see the finished product. Replete with marble columns, gold-framed mirrors and huge statues, the Phoenicia was to have included a 120-tonne tank of seawater for two sand tiger sharks, two white sharks and two blacktip reef sharks. Four resident biologists would have tended to the animals. The sharks' nutritional needs mandated a dedicated food store. The overthrow of Colonel Muammer’s Gaddafi’s regime led to the termination of the order in June 2011. It is now being bought by one of the world’s biggest cruise ship operators, MSC Cruises.
GEORGE OSBORNE POISED TO SLASH TOP TAX RATE FROM 50p TO 40p - George Osborne is poised to slash the top rate of income tax from 50p to 40p in next week's budget in a dramatic move that will delight business and the Tory right, but risks reinforcing the Conservatives' reputation as protectors of the super-rich. Today's Guardian says that with the four senior ministers in the budget discussions due to speak on Friday and a final meeting scheduled for Monday, the Liberal Democrats appear to recognise that they are not going to be able to block what is Osborne's key demand for the budget, but are trying to maximise the concessions they can extract in return. Government sources say that from the outset the chancellor has seen a cut in the 50p rate as the headline-grabbing measure of the budget, and views it as the simplest single step he can take to show his commitment to an enterprise economy. A preliminary study conducted by Customs & Excise for the Treasury, due to be published next week, is expected to show that the 50p rate - introduced by Labour in 2010-11 for those earning more than £150,000 a year - is bringing in hundreds of millions, rather than billions, of pounds. An earlier Treasury study assumed it would raise £2.6 billion. Before 2010, the top rate had been at 40p since 1998.