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The Independent Online
VW 'discrediting' Lopez inquiry

One of Germany's most senior prosecutors accused Volkswagen of seeking to discredit the criminal investigation into the Lopez industrial espionage affair.

Hans-Christoph Schaefer, the chief prosecutor of the state of Hessen, dismissed accusations by VW's lawyers that the investigating authorities had covered up the actions of private detectives hired by General Motors to follow Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, VW's controversial production chief.

Eurotunnel loan

Eurotunnel's creditor banks are likely to agree to a new loan of about pounds 700m today or tomorrow, according to banking sources in Paris. The big Japanese banks, which were the least willing to agree to the loan, were reported to be in the process of reaching agreement. About 35 of Eurotunnel's 200 creditor banks are Japanese.

Steel plan dies

The European Union's competition commissioner, Karel van Miert, confirmed yesterday that the commission's plan to restructure the steel industry was to be abandoned. 'We have not obtained the capacity cuts we needed, we are way off target and we have to draw the inevitable conclusions,' he said.

Euro Disney deal

Euro Disney's creditor banks finally approved the financial restructuring of the troubled theme park, agreeing to underwrite 51 per cent of a billion- dollar investment package, according to the two lead institutions, BNP and Indosuez.

Case dismissed

The European Court dismissed a complaint by Air France that British Airways' purchase of a 49.9 per cent stake in the French regional airline TAT could contravene EU law.

Fitch resigns

Rodney Fitch has resigned as chairman of Fitch, the loss-making design company he founded, after weeks of speculation about his future. Martin Beck, chief executive, will take on the additional role of chairman.

Candover nets pounds 213m

Candover Investments has replenished its resources to back large management buyouts by raising a pounds 213m fund from institutional investors.

dollars 7bn catastrophes

Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency, said catastrophes during the first four months of 1994 have already cost more than dollars 7bn, virtually guaranteeing that 1994 will be one of the costliest years for the insurance industry - even before the start of the hurricane season.

World Markets

New York: After a hesitant opening, shares moved ahead confidently, and by the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 26.09 at 3,758.98.

Tokyo: Thin, cautious trade took the Nikkei average ahead 68.61 points to 20,221.34.

Hong Kong: Profit-taking after recent gains lowered the Hang Seng index 121.66 to 9,354.98.

Sydney: Recovering some of its early losses, the All Ordinaries closed 14.1 weaker at 2,093.7.

Bombay: Shares ended barely changed on the last day of the account, with the index just 1.7 points firmer at 3,808.71.

Johannesburg: Strong gains in the gold sector helped to send the index 52 points higher to 5,440.

Paris: A cut in leading Bank of France interest rates failed to prevent an 18.64-point retreat by the CAC-40 index to 2,165.35.

Frankfurt: Position-squaring in quiet trade left the DAX index 19.65 points down at 2,247.76.

Zurich: In dull trade the Swiss Performance Index shed 7.8 points to close at 1,784.77.

London: Report, page 30.