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HSBC SwissLeaks sparks political row in UK

The HSBC SwissLeaks highlights complex task for UK's main parties face in casting their relationship with big business ahead of the 7th May general election

 

Claims that banking giant HSBC helped rich clients dodge tax started a political firefight in Britain as the main parties sought to blame each other for not acting.
 
Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives appointed former HSBC chief executive Stephen Green to the House of Lords in 2010, where he served as a trade minister.
 
But the main opposition Labour party, hoping to take power after May’s general election, faced allegations that it had not clamped down on tax dodging when it was in government until 2010.
 
This covers the period when HSBC’s Swiss private bank is accused of helping clients evade taxes on accounts containing $119 billion.
 
The row highlights the complex task both parties face in casting their relationship with big business ahead of the 7th May general election, in which opinion polls suggest they are virtually neck-and-neck.
 
Cameron’s centre-right Conservatives are traditionally seen as more in tune with big business but were labelled “the party of Mayfair hedge funds and Monaco tax avoiders” by Labour last week over a tax loophole for hedge funds.
 
Meanwhile, centre-left Labour’s policies have drawn criticism from several business leaders who say they could damage the economy and contrast leader Ed Miliband’s rhetoric with the business—friendly Labour administration under Tony Blair from 1997.
 
Green, HSBC’s chief executive from 2003 before becoming chairman in 2006, declined to comment on the claims when questioned by the BBC Monday.
 
Labour urged finance minister George Osborne to explain how Green was appointed.
 
“Once again the Tories have been exposed as unable and unwilling to take real action on tax avoidance —— little wonder that under them the tax gap has risen year on year,” shadow finance spokeswoman Cathy Jamieson said.
 
The government hit back at Labour, saying the party had failed to act.
 
“I do have to make the point that there was a lack of grip in this area and a lack of progress in dealing with tax cheats,” junior finance minister David Gauke told BBC television.
 
He also denied that there was “any suggestion or any evidence” that Green was directly involved in the activities of HSBC’s Swiss private bank.
 
The claims against HSBC arise from files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) — network of investigative reporters —via French newspaper Le Monde.
 

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SEBI clears IPOs of Shree Pushkar Chemicals, ACB India

Shree Pushkar Chemicals and Fertilisers plan to raise Rs75 crore while coal washing company ACB India would sell shares held by Pineridge Investment, Ashok Mrig and Ganesh Chandra Mrig

 

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has given its approval for initial public offering (IPO) of ACB (India) Ltd and Shree Pushkar Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd.
 
These companies had filed their draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with the market regulator in September 2014 for the proposed public offers.
 
SEBI had issued its final ‘observations’ on the draft offer documents of Shree Pushkar Chemicals and Fertilizers and ACB India on 2nd February and 6th February, respectively, according to the latest update by the market watchdog.
 
Issuance of ‘observations’ on offer documents by SEBI is considered a clearance to the issuer to go ahead with the share issues through routes such as IPOs, FPOs and rights issue.
 
Going by the details in the DRHP, Shree Pushkar Chemicals and Fertilisers plan to raise Rs75 crore by issuing fresh shares as well as an offer for sale of 20.26 lakh shares.
 
Coal washing company ACB (India) would sell shares held by Pineridge Investment, Ashok Mrig and Ganesh Chandra Mrig the existing shareholders, as it proposes to offload 3.09 crore shares.
 
With regard to Shree Pushkar Chemicals and Fertilisers IPO, the proceeds from the fresh issue are to be utilised for expansion plans, general corporate purposes and to meet the preliminary and pre-operative and issue expenses. Besides, the funds from the offer for sale would be received by the selling shareholders.
 
ACB (India) said it “will not receive any proceeds of the offer and all the proceeds of the offer will go to the selling shareholders.”
 

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January passenger car sales up 3.14% to 1.7 lakh units

While domestic passenger car sales rose to 1.7 lakh units, two-wheeler sales declined about 6% to 8.7 lakh units in January, SIAM says

 

Domestic passenger car sales increased 3.14% to 1.69 lakh units in January 2015 compared with 1.64 lakh units in the year-ago month.
 
According to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), motorcycle sales in January, however declined 5.85% to 8.69 lakh units compared to same month in 2014.
 
Total two-wheeler sales rose 1.1% to 13.28 lakh units. Sales of commercial vehicles rose 5.3% to 52,481 units in January this year, SIAM said.
 
Vehicle sales across categories registered an increase of 1.66% to 16.5 lakh units from 16.23 lakh units in January 2014, it added.
 

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