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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Laundering, insurance claims, Le Pen, Dowson

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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Laundering, insurance claims, Le Pen, Dowson

Tue, 21 March 2017
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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Laundering, insurance claims, Le Pen, Dowson

(ShareCast News) - Britain's high street banks processed nearly $740m from a vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB, the Guardian can reveal. HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among 17 banks based in the UK, or with branches here, that are facing questions over what they knew about the international scheme and why they did not turn away suspicious money transfers. - Guardian
The first case settled under controversial new compensation rules for serious injuries has seen an NHS trust forced to nearly triple its payout to a 10-year-old girl left with cerebral palsy from £3.8m to £9.3m. The case, involving East Lancashire Hospitals NHS trust, will send fresh shockwaves through the NHS and insurance companies, which have been braced for big increases in claims since the new "Ogden" formula was announced last month. - Guardian

France's main presidential candidates rounded on the far-right Front National's Marine Le Pen in the first televised debate on Monday night, with the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron accusing her of lying and seeking to divide the country. The three-and-a-half-hour live debate between the top five candidates saw Le Pen and Macron repeatedly exchange verbal blows. - Guardian

A far-right millionaire with Ulster loyalist connections plans to use his international social media network, which backed Donald Trump, to support Scottish independence. Jim Dowson, a former financial backer of the British National party and former member of Britain First, confirmed on Monday that he will be deploying his "Patriotic News Agency" and other networks with their bases in Hungary and Serbia to promote Scottish separatism. - Guardian

Brexit-supporting cabinet ministers are demanding that the chancellor caps Britain's EU "divorce bill" at £3 billion, The Times has learnt. The Brexiteers are concerned that Philip Hammond will not be sufficiently tough with the EU, which is set to demand up to €60 billion (£50 billion) from Britain once Theresa May triggers Article 50 on Wednesday next week. - The Times

UK cities are the cheapest they have been for 20 years to foreign visitors after a sharp decline in the value of the pound following the Brexit referendum, according to a global survey. Uncertainty over Britain's exit from the EU has led London to lose its ranking as the sixth most expensive city in the world, falling to 24th place. - The Times

Bad managers stand accused of holding back economic growth in the UK by undermining productivity, preventing pay and living standards rising. Most companies do not even realise they are performing poorly, however, Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's chief economist, has claimed. - Telegraph

Global brands including Volkswagen, Toyota and Tesco last night joined the more than 250 companies that have suspended advertising deals with Google as the internet giant apologised for failing to crack down on extremism. ITV, Aviva and Heinz also pulled advertising from YouTube, Google's video platform, after an investigation found the companies promoted on videos posted by hate preachers, rape apologists and homophobic extremists banned from entering Britain. - The Times

Sir Philip Green is in line for a £15m refund from his £363m deal to rescue the BHS pensions scheme, Labour MP Frank Field has claimed. Green could get the money back despite BHS workers receiving on average just 88% of the value of their original benefits from the settlement. - Guardian

Free trade is crucial to boosting exports and rebalancing the economy, as small businesses have warned that even small tariffs would prevent them from exporting to the EU. Bureaucracy at the borders could also damage export hopes as extra checks and paperwork can make international trade untenable for small companies, according to a survey carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). - Telegraph

The cost of assembling a car in Britain could increase by £2,370 in the event of a "hard Brexit", forcing some manufacturers to look at moving production out of the country, a report has found. The increase in costs - equivalent to more than 10% per vehicle - would hit the average UK-built car if Britain falls back on World Trade Organisation rules after leaving the European Union. - Guardian

Nearly 15 years after Tesco bought One Stop it is still paying staff at the convenience chain less and charging customers more for products than in its Tesco Express outlets. The revelation could put pressure on Britain's largest grocer as its ownership of the chain is likely to come under scrutiny as part of a competition investigation into its proposed £3.7 billion takeover of Booker Group, the nation's largest wholesaler. - The Times

Sports Direct has lost a trademark battle against a small online business despite claiming that the company, run by a husband and wife team, would confuse consumers about its burgeoning gym business. Fitness Direct, which was started by Sandra and Faycal Makhloufi in 2014, sells sports equipment including dumbbells and kettlebells online. - Telegraph

Challenger bank Secure Trust is pushing into the mortgage market by offering loans to people who struggle to borrow from the big high street banks, such as the self-employed. The lender has started a new mortgage business that will be led by Esther Morley, who joined the bank a year ago from specialist mortgage lender Kensington and also previously worked for HSBC and Investec. - Telegraph

Lloyds Bank has appointed an academic to spearhead an investigation into whether it should compensate customers who were victims of fraud committed by former HBOS staff. Business expert Professor Russel Griggs was chosen for the role because of his knowledge of small and medium-sized firms. - Daily Mail

Electric cars are putting increasing pressure on the UK's power grids, making it vital they are recharged at the right time of day, a minister has said. John Hayes, transport minister, said it was important that such battery-powered cars were topped up in smart ways to avoid unduly stressing the energy system. - Guardian

Southwark has become the second London borough to introduce formal protection for pubs from demolition or redevelopment as mini-supermarkets, estate agents, homes or shops. The council has removed "permitted development rights" from all 188 pubs across the borough, giving the local authority and community a say on any changes of use. - The Times

Sir Vince Cable has become the latest grandee to call for the government to tighten the rules governing foreign takeovers of British businesses as pressure mounts for change in the wake of Kraft Heinz's aborted bid for Unilever. Writing in The Times, the former business secretary says that the UK's withdrawal from the European Union meant that Westminster should strengthen the law to give politicians a freer hand in blocking deals.

Moneycorp is hoping to acquire at least two businesses outside of Europe this year as the UK-based foreign exchange provider looks to grow in North America and beyond. Nick Haslehurst, chief financial and operating officer of the group, said the company hopes to grow outside of Europe by buying foreign businesses, and plans to acquire at least two companies by the end of this year. - Telegraph

Innovative young restaurant brands are shunning the conventional and costly growth strategy of multiple bricks-and-mortar sites in favour delivery-only kitchens and pop-up stands. The move is aimed at harnessing the rapidly growing trend of food-on-the-go and delivery meals and could signal the burgeoning of what is being dubbed the "restaurant-less restaurant". - Telegraph