The City Diary: A case of us and them
Sunday 24 October 2010
Much anger among the creditors of Mint Equities – the interdealer broker that was bought out of a pre-pack administration by rival BGC Partners in August.
The administrator's report reveals that it was threatened with winding up proceedings by Revenue & Customs in July and again by the design company Base Interiors in August. At an emergency hearing on 19 August, Mint was put into administration, its assets acquired by BGC, and the business trades much as before. While that preserved jobs, it left Mint's suppliers out of pocket. They will convene at a creditors' meeting on Thursday.
They are irked that Mint's directors enjoy hospitality boxes at Wembley and White Hart Lane (which they pay for personally), plus another Mint rented at Ascot, perks surrounding the firm's Polo in the Park sponsorship and a yacht it leased in Puerto Banus.
BGC's spokesman, Bob Hubbell, will not say if the firm can still use these facilities, musing: "This is what happens to creditors. I don't want to sound flippant, but a firm goes into administration, it gets wound up, and they have a meeting." That's the spirit!
The administrator's report contains some intriguing lines: "Fleming Family & Partners made an offer of a £10m investment in the business.
"Before the deal was completed, [Mint] suffered losses due to the actions of one of its traders. The investment agreed was withdrawn as a result." I'm told Fleming was spooked by the actions of a rogue oil trader. Er...ex-trader.
Every shoe tells a tale
Has Joyti De-Laurey got an impersonator? The former Goldman Sachs secretary famously stole £4.3m from her bosses Scott Mead, Ron Beller and Jennifer Moses. Now I learn of a rival who's been foiled after a decent effort at overhauling Joyti's record. Louise Martini, a cashier at the West Midlands law firm Williamson & Soden, has been convicted of nicking £1.6m from her employers. She splashed out £10,000 on Cartier jewellery, £8,325 on a trip to Selfridges and £130,000 on holidays. Oh, and she also acquired a fleet of cars and, er, a racehorse.
Still, you'd be wrong to think this seven-year spending spree – by a woman earning £24,000 a year – was easy to detect. As senior partner Ian Williamson explains: "As a male, I wouldn't particularly have noticed the difference between one pair of shoes and another."
A rare setback
I see the venture capital firm KKR has snapped up Goldman Sachs's proprietary trading team, headed by Bob Howard – which seems like a blow to hedge fund honcho Marc Lasry, who was also believed to be chasing the team.
It's a rare setback for Bill Clinton's pal, who once hired the ex-president's daughter, Chelsea, as an intern. And in another disappointment, I read that Lasry's daughter, Emma, has shunned a career on Wall Street to pursue pop stardom. Her debut single is entitled, "Closet Bitch".
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