Credit crisis diary: McFall provides some new year fun

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The Independent Online

Members of the Commons Treasury Committee had better get some rest over Christmas because it is going to be a busy new year. The committee's sessions on the banking crisis will kick off with the MPs questioning those shrinking violets Professor Willem Buiter and Jon Moulton. Then there's an almost endless list of victims: hedge funds, auditors, credit rating agencies, investment banks, part and non-nationalised banks, the Bank of England, and even the press. Thanks to John McFall, the committee's chairman, for laying on such an extravaganza of entertainment during the dark winter days.

Denmark's veryown Madoff

Just about the only country not consumed by the Madoff affair is Denmark, which is gripped by its own fraud scandal. Stein Bagger, the former chief executive of a bankrupt software company called IT Factory, has pleaded guilty to forging the signature of the company's chairman on contracts worth up to $175m to sell and lease back non-existent software products. And who were the main victims of the blag? Yes, it's those hapless banks. A spokesman for Danske Bank, stung for up to 350m kroner (£45m), says: "Everything looked good on the surface." Sound familiar?

Journey to the centre of the world

One of the main reasons for the failure of the British Airways merger with Qantas appears to have been the Australian airline's insistence that the combined company should be headquartered in Sydney. Never mind the row over how much of BA Qantas would get under the deal, do Australians really believe the best home for a global airline should be so far from anywhere else?

Sign of the time

As Chrysler announces it is stopping production for a month as it struggles to get to grips with the almost total lack of demand for its cars, some internet-based wag has redesigned its famous logo. Funny, but a little close to the bone.

Iceland no longer feels the chill

Some good news at last. The IMF reckons Iceland is already emerging from the crisis that rocked its banking sector a couple of months ago and that the worst of the country's problems are behind it. If only the rest of the world could say the same.

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