The late ticker

Unlucky for Gtech

scandals over Gtech Holdings' methods in running US state lotteries could mar its chances of hanging on to its 22.5 per cent stake in Camelot, the UK lottery operator.

Last week it was disclosed that the company paid $23m (pounds 14m) to two of its lobbyists in Texas. One of them, a former state lieutenant governor, was implicated but not charged in an illegal scheme to defraud the company.

The lobbyists were linked to a Gtech sales manager imprisoned last November for defrauding the company. Gtech has faced repeated allegations concerning the supposedly strong-arm methods it uses to win US lottery contracts.

Gtech is the world's largest lottery operator, running games in 43 countries and 27 of the 37 state lotteries in the US.

Network PC launch

PC manufacturer Viglen, shortly due to list on the Stock Exchange as part of Amstrad's reorganisation, will be the first UK supplier to offer customers the Network PC. The Net PC is part of Intel's "Wired for Management" initiative aimed at reducing information technology support costs.

Italian inflation 1.5%

Italy's Treasury Minister, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, said the June inflation numbers released late on Friday, which showed the annual rate of inflation down to 1.5 per cent, underscored the "credibility" of the government's inflation targets for the next few years.

Russia telecom sale

The Russian government has set a deadline of 25 July for the sale of its 25 per cent stake in the Svyazinvest telecommunications company. The auction is open to foreign investors and the starting price is $1.18bn.

Svyazinvest controls 85 regional telephone companies and more than 80 per cent of the 25.5 million lines in Russia. The government will sell a further 24 per cent and retain 51 per cent.

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