Business Diary: E&Y set to take squash title

The Canary Wharf & Square Mile Corporate Challenge is hotting up – and if you want to make a few quid from the squash tournament that pits the staff of City firms against each other, put your cash on Ernst & Young. Already in the semis, it will take on PricewaterhouseCoopers for a place in the final against Credit Suisse or the Financial Services Authority. How can we be so confident? Well, E&Y is represented by an employee, a certain Peter Marshall. His work at the firm is his second career – he was previously a professional squash player. A former world number two, in fact. So unless E&Y's rivals had the foresight to hire a former world number one, they don't stand a chance.



Yet more pornat the SEC

Remember the scandal at the Securities and Exchange Commission last year, when a senior staffer got into trouble after spending hours at work looking at pornographic websites? After that business, the US regulator thought an audit of staff's internet use might be a wise move. It has now turned up 33 similar cases – half of those caught out were on salaries of more than $100,000 a year.



More than just handbags

It is getting nasty at Hermès, the posh bags company, which is upset about the way LVMH has been raising its stake in the company. First, Hermès' chief executive, Patrick Thomas, said this of LVMH: "If you want to seduce a beautiful woman, you don't start by raping her from behind." Now Bertrand Puech, head of the Hermès founding family, has described the current situation as being like the period between September 1939 and May 1940, when the Second World War had been declared but hadn't got going. A sly dig at LVMH's ownership of Christian Dior, where designer John Galliano has just been fired for a racist outburst that complimented Hitler?



Just don't let Raj see red

A tip for the defence team of Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon hedge fund boss on trial on insider dealing charges: keep anyone in the courtroom wearing red out of his line of sight. A former employee at Galleon tells the Dealbreaker gossip site that just a glimpse of people wearing red, the colour of trading losses, sends the man into a rage.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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