Credit Crisis Diary: 10/04/2009

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The Independent Online

They do kidnapping differently in France

Say what you like about the rather aggressive techniques employed by French trades unions when it comes to defending jobs, but at least they don't forget common courtesy. Three Britons employed by Scapa, the auto-parts firm, have just been released from the plant in France where workers had been holding them hostage in response to a threat of closure. The managers apparently didn't suffer too much – their French employees even served them up a three-course dinner.

Cheap at the price for an audience with Nick

Just £95. That's all a ticket for the annual lunch of the BII, the professional body for the licensed retail sector, will cost you. You'll get some decent nosh at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane, plus entertainment from the guest speaker, "the star of The Apprentice". But before you rush out to hear Sir Alan Sugar speak, bear in mind that the star in question turns out to be Nick Hewer, left, his steely-eyed sidekick.

Come on Randy, do the decent thing

Three cheers for the good folk of Aston Villa, who are so worried about the plight of workers at the troubled van manufacturer LDV that they've offered employees free tickets for Sunday's match against Everton. It's a lovely gesture from one of LDV's local football clubs, though of course if Aston Villa's billionaire owner Randy Lerner really wanted to help, he could always buy the business.

An all too rare victory for TDR Capital

Still on the footie theme, it's nice to see that there is at least one winner in the crisis-hit world of private equity. TDR Capital has just triumphed in an inter-firm football tournament held to raise funds for charitable concern the Private Equity Foundation. TDR won the trophy while Bridgepoint walked off with the tournament's plate.

Thousands of Ponzis on the internet

Worrying news from fraud investigators: it's not just the wealthy who fall prey to the likes of Bernie Madoff. YouTube is currently running 23,000 different videos promoting cash-gifting schemes. The number of these scams is astonishing, but they all rely on the same flawed pyramid structure. You have been warned.