Business Diary: Merrill Lynch stung by one of its own

Red faces at Merrill Lynch, which had to call in the authorities after falling for a tall story told by the broker Steven Mandala last year. Mandala managed to convince Merrill that he was a partner in a leading asset management company looking after £300m of clients' money. The reality was that he was a very junior member of staff, but the bank only discovered the truth after hiring him, lending him $780,000, which he spent on a Ferrari and living the high life, and then watching him quit after two months (when he refused to repay the debt). Mandala has pleaded guilty to theft charges and faces a jail sentence. But the gullible bank hardly comes out of the tale smelling of roses.

Slump school for HP's black belt change staff

Good news for the IT giant Hewlett Packard, which has signed what it describes as a "lean" deal with the University of Portsmouth. The university is to train up HP's "black belt change champions", the company's elite executives, on "how to recession proof the organisation". Never mind all the jargon, surely the timing is a little out? Recession training would have been more useful a couple of a years ago.

Even Google's IT demonstrations go wrong

So much for Google's technology. At yesterday's demo of its move into internet TV, executives were embarrassed by a string of glitches. Try as it might, Google just couldn't get its wi-fi network working, which left it unable to control the pictures on its television. The adverts for toilet paper were bad enough. Then the room was left staring at coverage of Nicholas Cage's animal sex diet (Google it for yourself if you don't know the story).

A golden chance to poke fun at Goldman Sachs

This is childish we know, but it has come to our attention that one of Goldman Sachs' American press office staff goes by the name of Gia Moron. Talk about an open goal for the bank's enemies.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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