Police have seized a Cartier diamond ring worth more than £1m bought by a jailed Azerbaijani banker in Harrods, the latest move in the UK’s first McMafia-style “dirty money” investigation. A district judge on Monday granted the confiscation of the ring worth £1,190,000, plus VAT, that Jahangir Hajiyev obtained from at the department store in London’s Knightsbridge in 2011. The National Crime Agency (NCA) seized the ring from a high-end London jewellers, where it had been taken for repairs. The ring is presumed to have been bought for Hajiyev’s wife, Zamira Hajiyeva, who is the subject of the NCA’s first unexplained wealth order (UWO). Hajiyeva has refused requests to explain the source of her extraordinary wealth. If she continues to fail to reveal the origin of her fortune, the courts could seize her properties including a £11.5m five-bedroom home in Knightsbridge and a £10.5m golf and country club in Ascot. It was revealed in … [Read more...] about Azerbaijani banker’s £1m diamond ring seized in ‘dirty money’ inquiry
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Life is tough for high street retailers and likely to get worse in 2018. That’s the clear message following a difficult Christmas for most shopping chains and signals from the banks that they aim to bring a three-year bonanza of cheap consumer credit to an end, or at least severely restrict its further growth. Supermarkets were among the survivors as shoppers chose to spend a few extra pounds on food to cope with inflation. But that meant cutbacks elsewhere. Clothing, shoes and furniture joined a list of items shoppers decided they could do without – or, if they needed them, they went online for a cheap deal. Next was among the retailers to enjoy a degree of expansion after it was rescued by healthy online sales. Marks & Spencer struggled to make any headway after its failure to entice customers to its website. If the health of the high street depends on anyone, it is the big discounters like Aldi and Lidl in the supermarket wars and B&M, which is the Primark of … [Read more...] about If government doesn’t help the high streets, we’ll be shopping in ghost towns
The supermarket chain J Sainsbury is fielding takeover interest in its £1.9bn mortgage book after following larger rival Tesco in exiting the British home-loans market.Sky News has learnt that Sainsbury's received a number of offers ahead of a deadline earlier this week.Lloyds Banking Group is said to have been among the bidders, although other large lenders which have expressed an interest in similar sale processes, including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Santander UK, did not table proposals.The auction is being handled by bankers at BNP Paribas.It marks a further stage in an overhaul of Sainsbury's Bank under Jim Brown, the former RBS executive who was installed as the head of the grocer's financial services arm earlier this year. Advertisement Sainsbury's said last month that a recent £35m capital injection into its bank would be the final such investment as it seeks to put the business on a more sustainable footing.At £1.9bn, the supermarket chain's … [Read more...] about Sainsbury’s banks on bids for £1.9bn mortgage book
Was a coalition with the rightwing Independent Greeks party the only option for Syriza and Alexis Tsipras? No. The centrist Potami party agrees on the need for some debt relief, less austerity and a higher minimum wage. But it is in favour of sticking to Greece’s European commitments and would weaken Tsipras’s negotiating position in Brussels, where he wants to be recognised as leading a tough government prepared to leave the eurozone if debt relief is not on offer. What does Syriza want? Tsipras has campaigned consistently for a reduction in the level of debt Greek and not just easier credit terms. In the past four years, Athens’ debts have spiralled to 175% of GDP, partly because GDP has shrunk by 25%, so its ability to pay down debt has diminished. Tsipras says Athens will never escape this debt spiral without some debt relief. Can Syriza really tear up its debt deal with Brussels? There are many forces standing in the way. First, Brussels officials are only too … [Read more...] about Greece Q&A: what now for Syriza and EU austerity?
A YEAR ago dad-of-one Darren Kelsall was crippled by anxiety and stress over £32,000 he owed on credit cards and loans - but now he's almost debt free after haggling with creditors. The Royal Mail worker, 44, spent almost 20 years dodging debt collectors demanding repayments for the thousands of pounds he'd recklessly spent and borrowed in his twenties. “Debt is like a prison sentence that totally takes over your life,” Darren who lives in Stoke-on-Trent told The Sun. “It’s crippling. It makes you constantly anxious, stressed and overwhelmed and you can’t enjoy anything." “I was offered my first loan by my bank at 17 and stupidly I took it, even though I didn’t need it. “I was from a poor family in quite a deprived area and I just felt like I deserved to have things that others had, without realising the consequences of taking out a loan.How many debts did Darren have? DARREN Kelsall quit his debt management plan and haggled … [Read more...] about Dad cleared £32,000 debts in one year by haggling with debt collectors