Credit crisis diary: Desmond forced to grovel
Thursday 05 February 2009
The spat between Richard Desmond and the hedge fund firm Pentagon Capital continues, and very much not in favour of the media baron. Desmond fell out with Pentagon last year, after some of the company's funds were frozen and it was unable to return an investment of his. Desmond has now had to publish a humiliating apology to Pentagon in the Sunday Express. After the row began, the paper, which Desmond owns, published a series of accusations about the honesty of Pentagon and its senior staff. Now the paper has admitted the allegations were untrue and – embarrassingly – that the article was based on comments made by Desmond himself. Damages have also been paid.
A slip of the tongue that ruined the effect
John Sweeney's exposé of offshore tax havens on Monday night's Panorama was an excellent piece of investigative journalism, but what a pity he couldn't get a few basic facts right. Like the fact that the OECD is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, not "Cultural Development", as he kept saying. Not that the folks at the OECD aren't cultured, of course.
Plain speaking can be so feminine
Fair play to Martin Currie, theScottish fund management company, which is banning jargon from reports it sends to clients. But it's not talking about the technical stuff – yields, standard deviation and so on are all fine, apparently. It's words such as "bets", described as "unnecessarily macho" and "aggressively", which is "muscle flexing" that are ruled out.
Protectionism of the old-fashioned type
Russia's finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, chose an unfortunate time to brief financial journalists on the country's economy yesterday – just as news was breaking that thecountry's credit rating had been downgraded. Hacks naturallywanted to know what Kudrin thought about the downgrade and he was happy to answer one question. Then a burly minder stepped in andescorted him from the room.
Tell us what you really think, David
David Buik, frontman extraodinaire for BGC Partners, is clearly not a fan of the ratings agencies. Told yesterday that Fitch had cut Russia's rating, plunging international currency markets into chaos, Buik rushed out a statement. "With great respect, does anyone really care what Fitch thinks after all the carnage in the market in the last two years?" said Buik.
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