News That Matters

Business

Barclays charged with fraud in Qatar case

Barclays charged with fraud in Qatar case

Business
Barclays and four former executives have been charged with fraud over their actions in the 2008 financial crisis.The Serious Fraud Office case relates to the billion of pounds the bank raised from Qatari investors enabling it to avoid a government bailout.Former chief executive John Varley is one of the four ex-staff who will face Westminster magistrates on 3 July.Barclays says it is considering its position and awaiting further details."The charges arise in the context of Barclays' capital raisings in June and November 2008. Barclays awaits further details of the charges from the SFO," the bank said in a statement.It is the first time criminal charges related to the financial crisis have been brought against a bank in the UK.Mr Varley, former senior investment banker Roger Jenkins, Thomas...
Brexit negotiations: Barnier rules out 'concessions'

Brexit negotiations: Barnier rules out 'concessions'

Business
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceThe EU's chief negotiator said there would be "substantial" consequences from Brexit after the first round of talks with the UK.Michel Barnier said he was "not in the frame of mind to make concessions or ask for concessions".UK Brexit Secretary David Davis said talks got off to a "promising start".The UK appears to have conceded to the EU's preferred order for the talks which will mean trade negotiations do not begin immediately.Mr Davis and Mr Barnier gave a joint press conference after day one of the talks in Brussels.The initial focus will be on expat rights, a financial settlement and "other separation issues".Discussions aimed at preserving the Good Friday Agreement and common travel area in Ireland will also begin, although Mr Davis suggest...
Historic Brexit negotiations begin in Brussels

Historic Brexit negotiations begin in Brussels

Business
By Mark Stone, Europe Correspondent in Brussels, and Alessandra Rizzo, Political ReporterBritish and European Union negotiators have begun historic talks on Britain leaving the bloc - with both sides seeking to strike a positive tone.Speaking in Brussels, Brexit Minister David Davis said London wanted a "new, deep and special partnership" in the interest of Britons and all Europeans."There is more that unites us than divides us," he said, adding that Britain was looking for a "positive and constructive tone" in the talks.The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he hoped they could agree a format and timetable on Monday.The former French minister said his priority was to clear up the uncertainties that the Brexit vote had created.The start of the talks - almost exactly a year after t...
Blackstone to buy The Office Group for £500m

Blackstone to buy The Office Group for £500m

Business
The world's biggest property investor is buying a British flexible office provider in a deal that will be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the UK economy as Brexit talks get underway.Sky News has learnt that Blackstone, the private equity giant whose activities include managing more than €140bn of real estate assets, will announce on Monday the purchase of a controlling stake in The Office Group.The transaction will value the privately owned landlord of corporate clients such as Facebook and Santander UK at £500m, according to insiders.The timing of the deal, which comes at a time of conflicting signals about the outlook for UK commercial property, will be seen as a sign that global investors remain confident in its prospects.The beginning of formal talks between the UK and the Europ
UK wealth gap 'widening over past decade' says report

UK wealth gap 'widening over past decade' says report

Business
The UK's wealth gap has been widening over the past decade, a report says. Think tank the Resolution Foundation estimates 1% of adults, some 488,000 people, own 14% of the nation's assets - worth about £11 trillion. At the other end of the financial scale, 15% (7.3 million people) either own no assets at all, or are in debt. The government has responded to the findings by insisting that income inequality is at its lowest level since the mid-1980s. The Resolution Foundation says it is non-partisan and was founded in 2005, with "the goal of improving living standards for the 15 million people in Britain on low and middle incomes".'Wealth gap'The foundation says the spreading of property wealth in the mid-1990s and mid-2000s fuelled a decade-long fall in wealth inequality - but that progress