Europe

Talks between British Prime Minister Theresa May’s top government lawyer and European Union negotiators to win concessions from the bloc on Brexit ended with no agreement in Brussels on Tuesday, Reuters reported. May has sent Attorney General Geoffrey Cox to seek changes to her deal in a last-ditch bid to get it through parliament and smooth Britain’s departure from the European Union. The talks between Cox, Britain’s Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier ended with no agreement after more than three hours on Tuesday.

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Mrs Brown’s Boys actor Daniel O’Carroll was among 73 individuals and firms who made settlements in the latest list of tax defaulters. Other actors from the show were last year linked to an offshore tax structure that helped them avoid hundreds of thousands of euro in tax. Details of the structure, which involved trusts in the Seychelles and Mauritius, emerged as part of the so-called Paradise Papers. The latest tax defaulters’ list, published on Tuesday by Revenue, provides details of 73 taxpayers who have made settlements totalling €12.7 million in the final quarter of last year.

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A group of bondholders of construction conglomerate Odebrecht SA proposed on Monday the restructuring of $3 billion in bonds requiring new collateral and a cash infusion to allow a four-year extension on maturities. In a proposal publicized by the bondholders advisers, Rothschild & Co and law firms Davis Polk and Pinheiro Neto, bondholders require payment with no discount from the bonds’ face value.

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German taxpayers could be left more than 600 million euros ($680 million) out of pocket in outstanding credit to Airbus for developing the A380 superjumbo, the Funke Mediengruppe will report on Monday citing an economy ministry statement, excerpts approved for release showed. Berlin loaned Airbus 942 million euros in 2002 in connection with the A380’s development, of which only a third has been repaid, the media group cited the statement as saying.

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Creditors of Odebrecht SA’s engineering and construction division holding more than $1 billion of the Brazilian company’s bonds said they have proposed a debt restructuring, including a four-year extension of maturity, Bloomberg News reported. Odebrecht hasn’t responded yet to the proposal, which was presented on Wednesday, the creditor group said in a statement. The company was said in December to be running out of collateral it can pledge to creditors of its scandal-plagued construction unit.

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Prime Minister Theresa May will on Monday set out plans for a 1.6 billion pound fund to help to boost economic growth in Brexit-supporting communities, particularly in the north of England, Reuters reported. The “Stronger Towns Fund”, details of which appeared in newspapers last month, is seen by many as part of May’s efforts to win support for her Brexit deal from Labour MPs who represent areas that voted strongly in favour of leaving the European Union.

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ILK Bennett is preparing to appoint administrators after its owner struggled to find a new financial backer for the loss-making fashion chain, potentially putting jobs at risk in both the UK and the Republic, the Irish Times reported. Famous for its signature kitten heels, which start at £175 (€203) per pair, the company was founded by the entrepreneur Linda Bennett in 1990.

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Royal Dutch Shell, which is on trial in Italy over alleged corruption stemming from a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria, now appears likely to face legal proceedings over the same issue in its home country, the Netherlands, the International New York Times reported. Shell said on Friday that the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office had warned that it was preparing to prosecute the giant oil company “for criminal charges directly or indirectly related” to a Nigerian oil deal that occurred in 2011.

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It’s possible to feel sorry for central bankers, the Irish Times reported in a commentary. Faced with financial crisis, central bankers printed lots of money to prevent things getting worse. They succeeded: stock prices recovered following steep falls, as did many house prices. Typically, only rich people own shares and houses. Hence, central bankers helped the well-off to become even richer. That meant the left behind became even more unhappy and they voted for Trump in the US and Brexit in the UK. All of this narrative involves correlation without any proof of causation.

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Probably the single biggest geopolitical issue for the EU right now, and especially for Germany, is future relations with China, the Financial Times reported. The two countries do have a lot in common. Both are export-driven economies with large external savings surpluses. But Germany’s economic strategy is not nearly as consistent. The German political preference is to reduce public debt. Yet the country’s biggest problem is falling behind in the technological race.

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