Pembroke: No need for secrecy this time

Click to follow
The Independent Online
FORTY St Mary Axe, the building badly damaged by the City bomb in April, is to get interior design treatment from a man who used to do regular work for Freddie Mercury.

Robin Moore Ede, who also recently completed a redesign at the Kensington home of the actor Dustin Hoffman, is to start work in the autumn and finish the pounds 7m project early next year. The cost will be covered by insurance.

Built in the 1920s by Sir Edwin Cooper, the listed building contains a splendid boardroom, including wood panelled walls, a listed table designed by Sir Edwin and intricate plasterwork.

'It's nice to be able to talk about a project,' says a chuffed Mr Moore Ede. 'When we were working for Freddie Mercury we were always sworn to secrecy because he would get people camping outside his gate all the time.'

STOY HAYWARD, whose audit division presided over a number of companies that went spectacularly bust, including Asil Nadir's Polly Peck and the Levitt Group, has gained a nod of approval from the DTI.

The government department, presumably on the grounds that nothing beats experience, has appointed Stoy Hayward Consulting to carry out an independent review of the work of the Insolvency Service and its Official Receivers.

The firm is unabashed. 'The appointment is a vote of confidence in Stoy by the DTI,' insists a partner.

A GUERNSEY businessman and a City stockbroker, who banded together last year to force the state of Mississippi to honour 150-year- old defaulted bonds, have filed a new case in the US courts.

The European Association of Mississippi Bondholders is claiming dollars 13.8m, including 152 years of unpaid interest, on bonds issued in the 1830s by two Mississippi banks and guaranteed by the state. The banks later went bust and the bonds fell into default in 1841. 'It's the longest-running debt crisis in history,' says Paul Seabrook, one of the founders.

The association is taking up where the Council of Foreign Bondholders left off. The council, wound up a couple of years ago, succeeded in making Russia and China repay long-standing bonds. 'There is no one left to protect bondholders,' says Mr Seabrook, a broker with Daiwa Europe.

In a separate lawsuit, also filed last week, three Americans are claiming dollars 1m from Mississippi.

What are their chances of getting some dosh back? 'I don't think I'd be doing it unless I thought we had a fair chance,' says Mr Seabrook. 'It is just something Mississippi should do.'

INTERESTING piece of Rice Krispies-inspired lateral thinking by Goldman Sachs, which advised in the PolyGram-Motown records deal anounced yesterday.

The Motown part of the deal was given the codename Snap and the new share issue was coded Crackle, presumably, because Snap and Crackle make Pop. Groan.

A BROCHURE issued by Spatek, a computer software consultancy, has yielded some revealing information about Owners Abroad, the troubled tour operator. The brochure includes four case studies of companies that were having problems compiling management information before they rushed into the arms of Spatek.

One example is Owners, which, the brochure claims, was taking six weeks to compile monthly data from travel agencies prior to the introduction of new software. This could explain a lot.