Jail-sentenced billionaire Mehmet Karamehmet is being sued for almost $10m (£6.6m) in the High Court over loans issued to Maltese shipping company Blue Shipping.

Firm's secretaries to reap pounds 120,000 bonus

A SELECT group of City secretaries stand to make about pounds 120,000 each from what must be the ultimate in staff incentive schemes. Their top boss, on the other hand, is expecting to pick up a cool pounds 100m from the same deal.

People and Business: A tale of two tastings

THE CITY press corps faced a vexing dilemma on Tuesday night: whether to go to the German beer tasting at Commerzbank, or the French wine tasting at AXA.

Greycoat shares soar in bid battle

SHARES OF property group Greycoat soared yesterday on news of a 29 per cent increase in net asset value to 283p per share, helping the company in its fight against a pounds 218m takeover attempt by rival Delancey Estates, controlled by George Soros.

One2One slashes its call rates

ONE2ONE, the mobile phone network currently up for sale, yesterday tried to claw back some of the ground it has lost to its rivals in the competitive mobile phone market by slashing its call rates.

COMPANY OF THE WEEK: Cable & Wireless

VEBA, Germany's top utility, sold its 10.2 per cent stake in Cable & Wireless at a profit of pounds 900m, raising funds to invest in its own phone ventures. ABN Amro and Cazenove placed the shares at 735p each, an 11.5 per cent discount on the previous week's price of 830.5p.

Commerzbank seeks stake in Fleming

GERMANY'S Commerzbank, has let it be known in the City that it is ready to offer up to pounds 24 a share for a majority stake in Robert Fleming, a price that would value the firm, one of the few remaining independent British investment banks, at more than pounds 4bn.

People and Business: White out

PROMPTED BY BNP's hostile bid for Paribas/Societe Generale, a Parisian mole has told me the following tale.

Market Report: Investors climb aboard the leisure revival

ARE LEISURE shares at last ending their long, debilitating bear run? The sudden awareness of the neglected value lurking on the market undercard, plus the inevitable takeover whispers, helped the run-down sector score a 3.3 per cent gain on a day most shares were in retreat.

Faith in euro grows daily

TRADING in the euro rose in the first five days of the new currency's existence. Some firms reported a fivefold increase in the size of average trades as concern that computer systems wouldn't cope with the change faded.

Fleming denies Commerzbank bid

ROBERT FLEMING, one of the UK's last remaining independent investment banks, yesterday moved to squash rumours that it had rejected a pounds 3bn offer from Commerzbank because of opposition to a takeover from its founding family.

Shell and Texaco abandon alliance

THE OIL SECTOR was thrown into fresh turmoil yesterday after Shell and Texaco abandoned plans to merge their downstream European operations, and reports suggested that the French oil groups Elf Aquitaine and Total are to form an alliance with Petrofina of Belgium.

Europe's insurers eye UK market

News Analysis: The euro is likely to ignite merger mania among insurance giants

Lloyds rebuffed by French in Lyonnais sell-off talks

LLOYDS TSB, the high street banking giant, has held top-level discussions with the French government about participating in the pounds 4bn privatisation of the bank Credit Lyonnais.

Architecture: The architectural legacy of Stephen Lawrence

The search is on for the winner of the James Stirling prize and a new award in memory of Stephen Lawrence is announced. By Nonie Niesewand

Turmoil halts the IPO gravy train

News Analysis: Investment houses will pay dearly if the number of flotations does not pick up again soon
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