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Archive for August 20th, 2009

Theft of 0.003p’ case is dropped

BBC: The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped a case against a filmmaker from west London who was accused of stealing 0.003 pence worth of electricity.

Mark Guard, 44, entered a disused building to turn off an alarm after it was triggered by squatters.

But after he briefly turned on the lights in order to see the alarm, he was arrested and charged with dishonestly using electricity.

The CPS said there was “insufficient evidence to proceed with the case”.

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Tory MP Damian Green has DNA profile deleted from database

Telegraph: In a case that will prompt widespread calls for the records of hundreds of thousands of innocent people to be deleted, the shadow immigration minister successfully argued that he was an “exceptional case”.

He had demanded he be erased from the system after no charges were brought against him following his arrest over Whitehall leaks last year.

But the decision by Scotland Yard immediately is certain to spark fresh demands that the DNA of all innocent people should be removed……

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Seven arrests in carbon trading inquiry

Times: HM Revenue & Customs officers swooped on homes in London and Gravesend yesterday and arrested seven people in connection with a suspected £38 million tax fraud in the carbon emissions trading market.

Officers with sniffer dogs searched scores of business premises and homes in Hounslow, Southall and Gravesend seeking evidence relating to a suspected VAT fraud in the complex world of trading carbon permits……

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Crunch victims use anti-stalking laws to challenge ‘greedy’ banks

Independent: Anti-stalking laws are being successfully used by people hit by the credit crunch to stop demands for payment from their banks, The Independent has learnt.

The laws, originally designed to protect the victims of domestic abuse from harassment, allow judges to grant an injunction, preventing a defendant from making excessive phone calls. However, the Protection from Harassment Act, introduced in 1997, has been used by solicitors as part of as many as 20 cases against banks, who hire collection agencies to chase debtors…..

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Low interest rates are here to stay, City predicts

Guardian: Expectations were growing in the City tonight that interest rates could remain at historically low levels for years after the Bank of England gave a strong hint that it might again expand its policy of flooding the economy with money.

Markets were taken by surprise today when minutes of the latest meeting of the Bank’s monetary policy committee showed that the governor, Mervyn King, had wanted to pump an extra £75bn into the financial system but was outvoted……

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UBS to give up 4,450 client names in tax evasion row

Times: UBS, the Swiss bank, will disclose the identities of about 4.450 of its American clients with offshore bank accounts containing as much as $18 billion in its settlement with the US Government over allegations of tax evasion.

Doug Shulman, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), America’s tax authority, described the names as “what we really wanted all along”

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Commoditisation – it’s a horrible word but it’s the way law firms will be working

Times: The return to profitability and (possibly) big bonuses at Barclays and HSBC this month might have raised hopes that the law business, too, can return to the days of its pomp.

But in a world in which nothing much is predictable any longer, one of the few strong probabilities is that the days of extraordinary rewards at law firms are over. It is not just that the financial crisis has knocked for six the profitability of many firms but that the landscape in which law firms operate is facing fundamental change…..

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