City People

POP ALONG to the Old Bailey and you will be able to see Ian Maxwell doing jury service in the same courts where he spent seven months on trial for conspiracy to defraud pensioners, before being acquitted.

The son of Robert Maxwell and brother of Kevin, Ian is back in business with Telemonde, a pounds 30m Bermuda-based company that supplies fibre-optic services to the telecoms industry. Brother Kevin will be minding the shop until Ian completes his courtroom stint.

ONE OF the most successful retailing barons of the Eighties is back in the thick of the action - with a foray into the Internet industry.

The figure - who will be named in a week's time - has put some of his gains into Online Strategy and Solutions or "onsas.com", a new online business consultancy which he will chair.

The start-up is the brain child of Andy Yates, a former journalist on this very organ who went to the BBC a couple of years ago to work on its website. Using the experience he picked up at White City, Mr Yates intends to issue "a wake-up call to British business".

"We're going to write to the executives of Britain's top companies telling them how their sites can be improved," he declares. The other prime mover, and with Mr Yates joint-owner, is Mark Pritchard, an investment banker who used to work for Bank of America and JP Morgan and who went on to set up his own e-commerce consultancy.

n MICHAEL HESELTINE, MP for Henley, owner of the Haymarket publishing group and one of the "Big Beasts" of the Tory europhile wing, was spotted in Moscow airport last weekend.

Appropriately for a former Communist country, provisions don't seem to have been made for VIPs, and Hezza was having to slum it in the departure area with the proles. As passengers queued for the London flight, there was an almighty punch-up at the gate. Fans of Tarzan were surprised to find that the legendary mace-wielding former minister chose to remain seated, rather than get stuck in to help a luckless Brit set upon by an unhinged Muscovite.

Reassuringly for Mr Heseltine, his former status as a minister of Her Majesty's Government was duly recognised on his arrival back in Blighty, where he was waved through passport control at Heathrow with a "don't worry, that's all right sir".

n SCOTTISH WIDOWS has scrapped this year's "Young Financial Journalist of the Year" award because the 20 entrants aren't up to scratch.

The judges met last week to examine the entries. They short-listed five writers, but then decided the standard wasn't up to previous years and called the whole thing off. A spokesman said: "It's a bit depressing. There were a few instances where they really murdered the Queen's English." At least this will save Scottish Widows the pounds 2,000 prize money for the best student journalist, and pounds 1,000 for his or her college.

A spokesman for the insurance company insists the competition will be back next year.

n YOU MAY be familiar with the magnificent Willis Corroon building, opposite the Tower of London, which houses a leading City insurance broker. Now the firm has dropped the "Corroon", creating the e-mail friendly moniker "willis". The US- owned broker reckoned without Simon Burgess, a one-man insurance maverick who runs his own brokerage, GRIP. Mr Burgess has registered "willis. co.uk", and says willis can buy it "for a couple of grand". This provokes a loud guffaw from a willis spokesman. When told Mr Burgess has registered thename, the spokesman says: "Good for him." So - will the firm buy Mr Burgess out? "No".

Mr Burgess is also a barrister and a specialist in intellectual property law. Let battle commence.

John Willcock

j.willcock@independent.co.uk

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