The Great Debate UK
from Reuters Investigates:
If the life settlements market seems ghoulish, here’s a British scandal which isn’t doing the image of the business any favours. It’s one of the worst the country’s seen.
Around 30,000 mainly elderly investors in the UK put their money into a company called Keydata, hoping to make a little extra cash to fund their own retirement with the promise of a healthy return.
What they were buying sounded kosher, even if it did depend on how fast their wealthy American counterparts were dying. Of course, the investors may not have known that.
As is so often the case with these things, the projections were a little optimistic. And then some other irregularities blew up. Around 100 million pounds went missing, one of the business’s partners dropped dead in Singapore and the investment company was shut down by the regulators, leaving British pensioners like Tony and Pam Tobin out of pocket. The Serious Fraud Office is investigating.
When countries are threatened or institutions are in trouble, they look to their leaders to show the way out of the crisis.
The Vatican is in trouble, its moral authority sapped by mounting allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests in the past and cover ups by bishops supervising them.
The more the scandal of Catholic priests sexually abusing boys in Germany spreads, the more the focus turns to Rome to see how Pope Benedict reacts. The story is getting ever closer to the German-born pope, even though he has been quite outspoken denouncing these scandals and had just met all Irish bishops to discuss the scandals shaking their country. Nobody's saying he had any role in the abuse cases now coming to light in Germany. But the fact that some took place in Regensburg while he was a prominent theologian there, that his brother Georg has admitted to smacking lazy members of his choir there and that Benedict was archbishop in Munich from 1977 to 1982 lead to the classic cover-up question: what did he know and when did he know it?
The Russian Interior Ministry is about to seek the arrest of William Browder, the chief executive of Hermitage Capital Management, for illegally evading taxes. That’s according to a front-page article in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, a leading political-economic daily.
Browder, a British and US citizen who resides in London, has been denied entry into Russia ever since 2005, when his visa was annulled for obscure reasons. His Hermitage Fund, managed by the British bank HSBC, was once the largest portfolio investor in Russia, but has more recently been embroiled in a series of interconnected scandals.
In the midst of an economic crisis, we have a crisis of trust in politicians. But it is not through their lack of activity. Over the last ten years, layers of government have multiplied, more regulatory bodies have been put in place, thousands of new laws have been passed and greater powers of surveillance have been accorded to the State.