Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Article excerpt

THE latest investment scam from the US proves the truth of Gordon Gekko's comment in the film Wall Street that "a fool and his money are lucky to get together in the first place". You get home and check your answerphone messages.

One of them appears to be a wrong number call from a woman called Debbie.

She seems to have misdialled and is giving an intimate friend a "hot tip" on the stock market. Debbie is in fact a stock promoter hired to boost the shares. So successful has the scam been that the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges the price of each of the four stocks recommended by Debbie have risen by a total of $179 million ([pounds sterling]98 million). The SEC has filed charges against a number of people, including one Michael O'Grady who the prosecution says was paid in cash "taken from a blue duffel bag during a trip to a Mississippi casino" to organise the racket. So if you find a message from someone you don't recognise, talking about some great information on a stock, just remember Debbie - because it can't be long before some bright spark in the UK replicates the wheeze.

"HERE'S one privatisation we're against," thunders the Adam Smith Institute, the freemarket think-tank. "The Government wants to sell the State bookmaker to a group of racing interests at about half its market value and with a seven-year monopoly. Er, shouldn't the sale proceeds go to the taxpayers rather than lords and sheikhs?

Anyway, we told the European Commission and to their credit they announced a full-scale scrutiny of it." Er, isn't this the same Adam Smith Institute that's renowned for wishing the European Commission would stop poking its nose into other people's business?

COULD serial list-maker Forbes have come unstuck with its latest creation: the 20 fastest-growing brands? Alongside dollar dynamos such as Starbucks and Pixar, the only European entry is Formula One with alleged brand sales of $1 billion. …

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