Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Article excerpt

AT last, some light on the decision of Serious Fraud Office director Robert Wardle to scrap the probe into alleged bribes by BAE Systems to secure the giant al-Yamamah defence order. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, UK ambassador to Saudi, reportedly told Wardle that unless the investigation was discontinued, Riyadh might deprive London of surveillance evidence of terror suspects during the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. It seems the SFO boss was warned "people could die". Some anticorruption campaigners will huff and puff that this is no way to behave, but City Spy suggests Britain should play the Saudis at their own game. Next: the UK Government refuses to hand over material gathered on Saudi dissidents in London unless a massive contract comes our way... * IT seems Gordon Ramsay, pictured, has a problem with the rules that govern the rest of us. In 2002, and again in 2003, he delayed payment of VAT until HM Customs started proceedings to shut three of his restaurants - including the Claridge's one. Now, in 2007, accounts for Gordon Ramsay Holdings, are eight months overdue - they should have been filed on 30 June last year. Questioned about the matter last October, a Ramsay spokesman said: "We are well aware of this...I am sure the delay is merely a housekeeping issue." Four months later and the figures remain unfiled. Presumably, it's still a housekeeping issue.

* BUDGET Day 2007 is 21 March. Between now and then, says stock market historian David Schwartz, investors can expect a good run. "During bull markets, the record in the four weeks before Budget Day is superb.

There were 21 occasions since 1983 when a bull market was running on Budget Day.

The record for the four-week run-up was 18 gains and just three declines.This year's four-week countdown began last Wednesday. If you accept the proposition that we are currently in a bull market (and a fresh peak was reached just a few days ago), history signals there is very little downside for the next 17 trading days. …

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