The City Diary: Things can only get worse

Slackbelly exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly of the square mile
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The Independent Online

It just keeps getting worse for Andrew Greystoke, the Atlantic Law founder and solicitor.

The Financial Services Authority gave him a life ban from the City last week, plus a £200,000 fine, for his role in assisting share pedlars to rip off at least 130 people in a "boiler room" scam. Now I learn that the supervisory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, has Greystoke in its sights. "I don't think he knows it yet, but we are instituting disciplinary proceedings against him," says a spokesman. "I'd have struck him off by now." The SRA will take its case to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, meaning Greystoke could be banned from practising as a solicitor. Greystoke was unavailable for comment. Surprisingly.

Donations not what they were

Might Michael Spencer, the Icap founder and Tory donor-cum-treasurer, miss out on a peerage? "The smart money would be on ermine for the likes of [former banker] Sir James Sassoon, [economist] Ruth Lea and [inventor] Sir James Dyson," muses my Tory mole. "They will be very careful. The old days of making a big donation and then getting a peerage are gone." What is the world coming to?

No smoke without fire?

When Darren Blackhurst, Asda's chief merchandising officer, quit earlier this month, it was seen as a sign that he'd already missed out on becoming the supermarket's next chief executive. So it proved, when it was duly announced that rival Andy Clarke was the new boss. Since then, there have been rumours that the pair never got along, with stories of "fisticuffs" circulating. "It is absolutely not true," says a mouthpiece. "The rumour goes round every now and again." That's interesting. If this erroneous gossip won't die (even internally), would it be fair to assume they really do dislike each other? "Er, er, I don't know their relationship," the spokeswoman stutters, adding: "Can I call you back? I'm just moving to another room." She never does. Odd.

A new sponsor for Tiger?

In March, with Tiger Woods's corporate backers fleeing, bookmakers Paddy Power and Bodog both came up with the ruse of offering to sponsor the golfer. The moves came to nothing (much like Tiger's marriage to Elin Nordegren). But Bodog is trying again, this time with a contract that includes a "no moral judgement clause". This means the five-year $100m deal will be honoured no matter what the golfer gets up to – a staggering sum from which I can only infer two things: either the bookie thinks he won't accept; or it's expecting lots more sensational Tiger stories to come out of the woods.

Captain Marvel, please

Close Brothers, the corporate finance boutique, has been renamed DC Advisory Partners after its sale to Daiwa Capital Markets. That switch has provoked much chortling about how DC is a comics firm, and prompted rivals to pester the company's switchboard with requests to speak to Captain Marvel. Boys, boys.

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