City Diary

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Marc Mansfield, part of the top-rated pan-European engineering analysts' team at Morgan Stanley, has jumped ship to join Mark Crawshaw 's growing band at Schroders Securities.

Marc Mansfield, part of the top-rated pan-European engineering analysts' team at Morgan Stanley, has jumped ship to join Mark Crawshaw 's growing band at Schroders Securities.

Mr Mansfield leaves behind his two fellow analysts Gideon Frankling and David Cunliffe . The trio were voted top in their sector in this year's Primark Extel Survey.

Mr Crawshaw said earlier this week when he hired Tim Adams , engineering analyst from HSBC, that he only had "one more slot to fill" - which is where Mr Mansfield comes in.

So to Geneva for Telecom '99 and its online offshoot, Interactive '99, which finished yesterday.

The quadrennial trade show hosted by the International Telecommunications Union is probably the world's biggest business event, attracting over 200,000 visitors and featuring thousands of exhibitors.

They range from the obscure, such as TCI (that's Telecoms Corporation of Iran, not John Malone 's Tele-communications Inc), to the omnipotent, omnipresent Microsoft.

In Geneva, the buzz is all about bringing Internet access to wireless handsets and palm-top computers, thus bringing to fruition the truly mobile office.

How appropriate in the city of Calvin, the man who invented the work ethic and much else.

With no hotel rooms to be found in or around Geneva, delegates have been reduced to schlepping out to Lausaunne or, in extreme cases, Chambery, France, some 90 miles to the west.

Luckily, there's no shortage of Genevoise cabbies willing to make the 75 minute journey to Chambery for the rather remarkable fare of 450 Swiss francs, or nearly £200 to you and me.

The return trip, however is a bargain: French cabbies are happy to run you back for a mere 800 francs or £80. And that includes stopping for a quick espresso en route.

Forget rip-off Britain. Our cabbies are cheap as chips compared with their mercenary Swiss counterparts.

The Oblast of Nizhny Novgorod has lost the vote to get the terms on one of its $100m bond issues restructured, leaving it vulnerable to default.

I'm sure you all wanted to know that.

"Oblast" is Russian for county, while "Nizhny Novgorod" literally translated means "Lower New Town". This wasn't grand enough for the Communists, who renamed the town Gorky after the writer Maxim Gorky .

Now it's reverted to its historic name, and is battling to deal with the impact of last year's financial collapse and the devaluation that followed.

I tell you all this because ING Barings in London was the book runner for the bond issue two years ago, during the good times, when Western money was pouring into Russia, and has now sent me a press release about the matter.

Manuel Carrelet , on the ING Barings Syndicate Desk, says that an Extraordinary Resolution of the noteholders held last week needed 75 per cent to get through. It got just 74.27 per cent, and therefore failed. Any noteholder can now put the whole thing into default.

The elders of Nizhniy Novgorod are flying into London this week to try to persuade City institutions which hold the notes to agree to cut the coupon on the bonds and extend the maturity.

I'm sure it was all a lot simpler in Stalin's day.

Philip Taylor , the founder and chief executive of SquareSum, an accountancy software company, settled out of court with Deloitte & Touche last week over a disputed £80,000 tax bill.

The Yorkshire-based IT entrepreneur claimed that Walbrook Trustees, the giant accountancy firm's Isle of Man subsidiary, had incurred a tax bill of £80,000 for him by trading shares it held on his behalf without his permission.

Mr Taylor found out in August that Walbrook had realised a profit of nearly £200,000 by selling his shares.

The trustees had put his inactive portfolio into the hands of a stockbroker without telling him. The ensuing capital gains tax bill threatened to wipe out a tenth of his trust's value.

Members of Deloitte met Mr Taylor last week in order to persuade him not to fulfill his threat of suing the firm. They did a deal with him, the terms of which are confidential, and all ended in sweetness and light.