The Canary

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The Independent Online
Russian roulette: Never mind the casino, the most exciting game in town has been the Russian debt negotiations. Western bankers have been trying to get something back from the $40bn (pounds 24bn) they lent to the country in a moment of madness. But they have been no match for Kasyanov, a Russian, who like a character in Chekhov, is known only by a single name. His tactic has been one of non-co-operation. According to insiders, he turned up late for meetings. When he did show up, he then retired to consider the bankers' offers. After a two-hour gap, which he filled playing cards with his colleagues, he would return to the negotiating table, look at the bankers' offers and utter a single word: "Nyet". This has exasperated the bankers so much that Deutsche Bank has agreed to accept a 96 per cent write-off and is unlikely to set foot in Moscow again. The Canary would take a similar approach to handling his overdraft, if he had one.

Diamond geezer: Rumours are circulating that Bob Diamond, managing director of Barclays Capital (the bit that's left of Barclays Bank's once mighty investment bank, BZW), is being sought by Deutsche Bank to head up its investment banking business when it finally agrees the merger with Bankers Trust. Diamond, an American who is thought of highly in the City, particularly by himself, shares with Deutsche Bank a penchant for Russian debt. Barclays Capital lost millions in the Russian securities market. The pair should be an ideal match, provided they don't go east of Poland. Jerry Del Missier, Barclays Capital's managing director of derivatives, is likely to take Diamond's place.

Football wallies: The abrupt departure of the Football Association's commercial team could lead to the demise of the eagerly awaited Premier League Awards Ceremony. This heavily sponsored shindig, which had been due to take place on the night of the FA Cup Final, promised to be football's equivalent of the Oscars. The BBC had been planning to broadcast the event, with Des Lynam as the host. Now it appears the celebrations might be cancelled, although the FA refuses to confirm its decision. If the show is still on, it promises to be an orgy of bad taste. Will Robbie Fowler sit next to Graeme Le Saux, and how will he celebrate if he wins an award? Will Manchester United's players be wearing a special away strip, complete with pinstripes and dodgy collars? We may never know.

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