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2 ★ FTWeekend 19 December/20 December 2020

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groups in what was then German South
West Africa. “The Kaiser got his palace
back, but there is still no memorial to
the Herero and Nama,” said Mr Zim-

The issue was thrust into the public
eye in 2017 when Bénédicte Savoy, pro-
fessor of art history at Berlin’s Technical
University, quit the Humboldt’s advi-
sory council, complaining that the
organisers were not doing enough to
expose the colonial history of the
museum collections.

“You can’t just pretend these objects
were dropped here by helicopter,” she
told the Financial Times. “You have to
explain how they got here, that they
have a history.”

Since her departure, she said, much
had improved. “The people running the
Humboldt Forum now understand they
have to engage with the issue of the col-
lection’s past.”

That comes through in the public
messaging, with the museum’s website
saying the displays feature a “critical

Germany. Humboldt Forum

Berlin museum stirs furore over colonial past

Guy Chazan — Berlin

The opening of Europe’s biggest cultural
project in the heart of Berlin was meant
to be a moment to celebrate the city’s
cosmopolitan confidence.

Instead, the Humboldt Forum
museum has found itself at the centre of
an increasingly toxic debate about colo-
nialism and looted art.

Housed in a reconstructed royal pal-
ace, the €644m museum was designed
as a new focal point for the German cap-
ital. It had the potential to “electrify the
whole city, like the Centre Pompidou did
with Paris in the 1970s”, said Monika
Grütters, Germany’s culture secretary.

She will be one of those inaugurating
the forum on Wednesday, in an opening
ceremony that, thanks to coronavirus,
will be digital-only.

Its centrepiece will be a display of
20,000 priceless objects drawn from the
collections of Berlin’s Ethnological
Museum and the Museum of Asian Art.
The organisers are hoping to create a
“dialogue between world cultures” that
will reflect Berlin’s reputation as one of
Europe’s most open-minded, tolerant
and diverse cities.

Horst Bredekamp, one of the Hum-
boldt’s founding directors, said it was
the first time that “non-European cul-
tures were being placed at the heart of a
nation in such a magnificent way”.

But critics have drawn attention
to the often problematic provenance of
the ethnic treasures that will be on dis-
play. Nigeria last week demanded the
restitution of the Benin Bronzes, a group
of plaques and sculptures that once dec-
orated the royal palace of the Kingdom
of Benin and were looted by British
forces in 1897.

“A lot of these objects were stolen,
robbed, looted,” said Mnyaka Sururu
Mboro, a Tanzanian activist and
founder of the NGO Berlin Postkolonial.
“Some were used in rituals and prayers
— it is like taking the altar from a Catho-
lic church.”

Opening of €644m project

tarnished by dispute about

ethnic treasures’ provenance

The forum is a reconstruction of the
Hohenzollern Stadtschloss, or city pal-
ace, home to the kings of Prussia and
later the kaisers of the German Reich.
Considered one of Germany’s finest
Baroque buildings, it was destroyed in
Allied bombing raids in 1945 and its
remains flattened by the East German
communists in the 1950s.

They built a new “Palace of the
Republic” — a vast modernist block con-
taining the East German parliament as
well as restaurants, shops, a disco and
bowling alley. Found to be stuffed with
asbestos, it was demolished in 2008, 18
years after German reunification.

But the decision to rebuild the Hohen-
zollern Stadtschloss in its stead,
endorsed by the Bundestag in 2002, was
contentious. “It is a Prussian Disney-
land,” said Jürgen Zimmerer, a history
professor at Hamburg University.

He said the project exemplified Ger-
many’s failure to address its dark impe-
rial past and colonial-era, such as the
genocide of the Herero and Nama ethnic

Focal point:
Berlin officials
take a look at
work in progress
at the city’s
Forum in
Hayoung Jeon/EPA-EFE

examination of European colonialism”
and “give voice to colonised people’s
points of view”.

Regardless of the controversy, the
museum on Unter den Linden, Berlin’s
central avenue, will dominate the centre
of the German capital. Built with
100,000 cubic metres of concrete and
20,000 tons of steel, it is a vast complex
that includes public squares and thor-
oughfares. Planners say it will give Ber-
lin an entire new quarter. A rooftop res-
taurant will offer views of the city.

Meanwhile, with its reference to the
Humboldt brothers, two leading figures
of the 19th century German enlighten-
ment, the museum hopes to hark back
to a period of the country’s history when
the spirit of exploration and scientific
inquiry reigned supreme.

That is precisely what bothers Mr
Zimmerer. “It is trying to return us to
the days when Germany was the coun-
try of poets and thinkers,” he said. “But
it erases the time when we were judges
and hangmen.”

Martin Arnold — Frankfurt

The number of German companies
going bust continues to fall rapidly
despite a waiver allowing pandemic-
stricken companies to avoid filing for
insolvency being partly phased out at
the end of September.

There was a 35 per cent fall in the
number of insolvency proceedings
opened in German courts in November,
compared with the previous year,
according to data published by the fed-
eral statistical office Destatis yesterday.

However, companies applying for
insolvency proceedings in October and
November would not show up in the fig-
ures yet because of the “processing time

of the courts”, the statistical office said,
adding they would only be included in
its figures “in the coming months”.

A court in Wolfsburg agreed to open
insolvency proceedings only at the start
of this month for the Klier Hair Group,
Germany’s biggest hairdressing chain,
which has 1,350 salons and about 9,200
employees. It suffered from a sharp
drop in demand in the pandemic and
filed for court protection in September.

Stefan Schneider, economist at Deut-
sche Bank, said there was “probably a
massive backlog accumulating” of insol-
vencies because of Germany’s waiver.

Introduced in March, the waiver
made German companies hit by the
pandemic exempt from having to file for
insolvency, prompting critics to accuse
the government of supporting “zombie
companies” that will never be able to
service their debts.

The rule was phased out at the end of

September for most companies but
extended until December 31 for those
suffering from over-indebtedness.

The rule helped to reduce the number
of companies going bust this year
despite the pandemic dragging Ger-
many into its biggest recession for a gen-
eration, with Europe’s largest economy
contracting 12 per cent in the first half.

In the nine months to September,
Destatis said there were 15.8 per cent
fewer corporate insolvency filings than
in the same period last year, although
the expected claims of creditors rose,
indicating that bigger companies were
going bust. There was an even sharper
fall in consumer insolvency filings,
which fell 28.1 per cent.

The drop in German insolvencies has
been mirrored across Europe as ultra-
low interest rates and generous govern-
ment support have combined to keep
many companies afloat.

However, economists still expect
European insolvencies to rise next year.
Euler Hermes, the credit insurance
group, forecast that western European
insolvencies would fall 18 per cent this
year, before rising 28 per cent next year.
“We could see a critical moment in the
second or third quarter of next year,
depending on whether government sup-
port measures expire as expected or are
extended,” said Maxime Lemerle, head
of sector and insolvency research.

Despite fears that a hard lockdown
introduced by the German government
this week would drag the economy into
a double-dip recession, there was an
improvement in business confidence in
December, according to the Ifo Institute.
Its business climate index rose
1.2 points to 92.1, confounding expecta-
tions for a third consecutive fall to 90 —
but most of its responses were submit-
ted before the tighter restrictions.


Company filings

German insolvencies continue to fall
Bankruptcy proceedings
drop faster than expected
despite end to waiver

‘We could
see a critical
moment in
the second
or third
quarter of
next year’

Neil Munshi — Lagos

More than 300 schoolboys have been
released after being kidnapped and
held for days by armed bandits in a for-
est in north-west Nigeria, the govern-
ment has said.

Confirmation of their freedom came
hours after a grainy video allegedly
showing some of the schoolboys being
released by the militant Islamist group
Boko Haram, which had claimed
responsibility for a kidnapping that left
Africa’s most populous country reeling.

Muhammadu Buhari, the president,
welcomed the release and acknowl-
edged that his government had work to
do to improve security in a country
where massacres and mass abductions
have become increasingly common.

“Our administration is fully aware of
the responsibility we have to protect the
lives and property of all Nigerians,” he
said. “I ask Nigerians to be patient and
fair to us as we deal with the challenges
of security, the economy and corrup-
tion. We will not relent.”

The brazen attack on the school is a
fresh blow to Mr Buhari, a former gen-
eral elected in 2015 on a national secu-

rity pledge. If Boko Haram is confirmed
to have been involved, it would mark an
expansion of its sphere of influence.

Authorities have said the attack was
carried out by local bandits affiliated
with the Islamists. It is not clear how the
schoolboys’ release was negotiated or
whether a ransom was paid.

Any connection between the Islamist
group that has largely been confined to
north-east Nigeria and the gangs of
AK-47-wielding criminals who have
killed people in the north-west sets a
dangerous precedent, said Bulama
Bukarti, an analyst at the Tony Blair
Institute for Global Change.

“This incident is a sad demonstration
that Boko Haram is expanding more
than ever,” said Mr Bukarti. “Boko
Haram will provide criminals that have
been horribly shedding blood for ages
religious justification and thus make
them more vicious and allow them to
recruit more young people.”

Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram
leader, claimed the attack on the school
in a message on Tuesday. He said the
group had conducted the attack because
“western education is not the type of
education permitted by Allah and his

holy Prophet”. Boko Haram translates
to “western education is forbidden”.

The incident came six years after
Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls
in Chibok. Some escaped and were res-
cued, others released for more than
€3m in ransom. More than 100 of those
girls have never been heard from and
are presumed either dead or forcibly
married to group members.

After pledging allegiance to Isis in
2014, Mr Shekau broke from the group
in 2016. But analysts say that as a rump
body, known as Islamic State West
Africa Province, has gained prominence

in the north-east, Mr Shekau and Boko
Haram have sought to cultivate ties with
bandits in the north-west.

“Bandits” is a catch-all term in Nigeria
for non-ideological gangs who rove the
countryside ransacking villages and
abducting busloads of people. It affects
nearly every corner of the country, but
its heart is in the north-west, where
deaths rival those in the north-east, at
more than 2,000 this year, according to
data collected by José Luengo-Cabrera,
a security analyst.

The attack came just weeks after
Boko Haram, which operates largely
from the Lake Chad basin, killed scores
of rice farmers in north-east Nigeria,
and days after the group killed 28 people
and burnt 800 homes in a village just
over the border in Niger.

Analysts warn that Boko Haram and
Iswap could connect with the jihadis ter-
rorising Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

“The north-west is the area standing
between the Sahel and Lake Chad
region,” Mr Bukarti said. “Boko Haram’s
consolidation in the north-west will pro-
vide a bridge between jihadis in the two
epicentres, making movement of fight-
ers, weapons and loot easier.”


Boko Haram releases hundreds of kidnapped schoolboys

Free: schoolboys are escorted
to safety after leaving captivity


Brussels and Beijing negotiators
near agreement over investment

China and the EU are rushing to meet a year-end
deadline to seal an investment agreement, in a sign of
the bloc’s push to build strategic ties with Beijing,
even as it revives relations with the US.

The likelihood of the accord being settled soon is
rising despite the disruption caused by the coronavi-
rus crisis, officials from both sides have told the
Financial Times. A shift by Beijing in the important
area of market access has given the process addi-
tional momentum, EU officials said.

“The talks are now in the final stage,” Zhang Ming,
China’s ambassador to the EU, said in an interview
with the FT. “Both sides are working towards the
objective of finishing the talks by the end of this

Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russian intelligence
agents had followed opposition leader Alexei Nav-
alny — including on the trip when he was poisoned
with novichok in August — but denied the Kremlin’s
involvement in the attack on his most prominent

Answering a question on allegations by investiga-
tive website Bellingcat, the Russian president said
that Mr Navalny’s attempts to oust him justified the
surveillance. “This patient from the clinic in Berlin is
supported by secret services, in this case from the US.
And if that’s the case, then that’s interesting, it means
that [Russian] secret services must keep an eye on
him,” Mr Putin said during his marathon annual
press conference.

US declares Switzerland and
Vietnam currency manipulators

Big Tech served notice of break-up
over anti-competitive behaviour

The EU raised the stakes in its efforts to curb Big Tech
by threatening to break up companies that repeat-
edly engage in anti-competitive behaviour in the first
overhaul of the bloc’s rules for internet businesses
for two decades.

A draft of the new Digital Markets Act warned
technology companies that break competition rules
would face fines of up to 10 per cent of global reve-
nues. Brussels also warned the EU would move to
break up any technology company that is fined three
times within five years. Margrethe Vestager, the
commissioner in charge of competition and digital
policy, said the EU would not hesitate to “impose
structural remedies, divestitures, that sort of thing”.

The US labelled Switzerland and Vietnam currency
manipulators, accusing the two of holding their
currencies lower to prevent “effective balance of
payments adjustments” and in the case of Vietnam,
seeking to gain “unfair competitive advantage in
international trade”. The Swiss central bank denied the
charge and said it remained willing to intervene more
strongly in the foreign exchange market.

Putin admits Navalny was tracked
but denies any role in poisoning

High stakes: a pile of Vietnamese dong

Subscribe to the FT today at

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¥ per £ 139.035 137.822

€ index 89.046 89.372

SFr per € 1.069 1.072

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Gold $ 1248.80 1251.10 -0.18


price yield chg

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UK Gov 10 yr 100.46 1.21 -0.03

Ger Gov 10 yr 98.68 0.39 -0.01

Jpn Gov 10 yr 100.45 0.06 0.00

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Prices are latest for edition Data provided by Morningstar


AboastfulWhatsAppmessagehas cost
a London investment banker his job
and a £37,000 fine in the first case of
regulators cracking down on commu-
nications over Facebook’s popular

The fine by the Financial Conduct
Authority highlights the increasing
problem new media pose for companies
that need to monitor and archive their

Several large investment banks have
banned employees from sending client
information over messaging services
including WhatsApp, which uses an
encryption system that cannot be
accessed without permission from the
user. Deutsche Bank last year banned
WhatsApp from work-issued Black-

Berrys after discussions with regulators.
Christopher Niehaus, a former Jeffer-

ies banker, passed confidential client
information to a “personal acquaint-
ance and a friend” using WhatsApp,
according to the FCA. The regulator said
Mr Niehaus had turned over his device

The FCA said Mr Niehaus had shared
confidential informationonthemessag-
ing system “on a number of occasions”

Several banks have banned the use of
new media from work-issued devices,
but the situation has become trickier as
banks move towards a “bring your own
device” policy. Goldman Sachs has
clamped down on its staff’s phone bills
as iPhone-loving staff spurn their work-

Bankers at two institutions said staff
are typically trained in how to use new

media at work, but banks are unable to
ban people from installing apps on their

Andrew Bodnar, a barrister at Matrix
Chambers, saidthecaseset“aprecedent
in that it shows the FCA sees these mes-
saging apps as the same as everything

Information shared by Mr Niehaus
included the identity and details of a
client and information about a rival of
Jefferies. In one instance the banker
boasted how he might be able to pay off
hismortgage ifadealwassuccessful.

Mr Niehaus was suspended from Jef-
feries and resigned before the comple-

Jefferies declined to comment while
Facebook did not respond to a request
Additional reportingbyChloeCornish
Lombard page 20

Citywatchdog sends a clearmessage as
banker loses joboverWhatsAppboast

Congressional Republicans seeking to
avert a US government shutdown after
April 28 have resisted Donald Trump’s
attempt to tack funds to pay for a wall
on the US-Mexico border on to
stopgap spending plans. They fear
that his planned $33bn increase in
defence and border spending could
force a federal shutdown for the first
time since 2013, as Democrats refuse
to accept the proposals.
US budget Q&A and
Trump attack over health bill i PAGE 8

Shutdown risk as border
wall bid goes over the top



iUSbargain-hunters fuel EuropeM&A
Europe has become the big target for cross-border
dealmaking, as US companies ride a Trump-fuelled
equity market rally to hunt for bargains across the

iReport outlines longerNHSwaiting times
A report on how the health service can survive
more austerity has said patients will wait longer for
non-urgent operations and for A&E treatment while
some surgical procedures will be scrapped.— PAGE 4

iEmerging nations in record debt sales
Developing countries have sold record levels of
government debt in the first quarter of this year,
taking advantage of a surge in optimism toward
emerging markets as trade booms.— PAGE 15

i London tower plans break records
A survey has revealed that a
record 455 tall buildings are
planned or under construction
in London. Work began on
almost one tower a week
during 2016.— PAGE 4

iTillerson fails to ease Turkey tensions
The US secretary of state has failed to reconcile
tensions after talks in Ankara with President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan on issues including Syria and the
extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen.— PAGE 9

iToshiba investors doubt revival plan
In a stormy three-hour meeting, investors accused
managers o�aving an entrenched secrecy culture
and cast doubt on a revival plan after Westinghouse
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.— PAGE 16

iHSBCwoos transgender customers
The bank has unveiled a range of gender-neutral
titles such as “Mx”, in addition to Mr, Mrs, Miss or
Ms, in a move to embrace diversity and cater to the
needs of transgender customers.— PAGE 20


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For the latest news go to

Recent attacks —
notably the 2011
massacre by
Anders Breivik in
Norway, the
attacks in Paris
and Nice, and the
Brussels suicide
bombings — have
bucked the trend
of generally low
fatalities from
terror incidents in
western Europe

Sources: Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre

Terror attacks in western Europe

Highlighted attack Others

Paris Nice


A Five Star plan?
Italy’s populists are trying to woo
the poor — BIG READ, PAGE 11


Trump vs the Valley
Tech titans need to minimise
political risk — GILLIAN TETT, PAGE 13

Dear Don...
May’s first stab at the break-up

Lloyd’s of London chose Brus-
sels over “five or six” other
cities in its decision to set up an
EU base to help deal with the
expected loss of passporting

John Nelson, chairman of the
centuries-old insurance mar-
ket, said he expected other

insurers to follow. Most of the
business written in Brussels
will be reinsured back to the
syndicates at its City of London

The Belgian capital had not
been seen as the first choice for
London’s specialist insurance
groups after the UK leaves the

EU, with Dublin and Luxem-
bourg thought to be more likely
homes for the industry. But
Mr Nelson said the city won on
its transport links, talent pool
and “extremely good regula-
Lex page 14
Insurers set to follow page 18

Lloyd’s of Brussels Insurancemarket
to tapnew talent poolwithEUbase



A computer system acquired to collect
duties and clear imports into the UK
may not be able to handle the huge
surge inworkloadexpectedonceBritain
leaves the EU, customs authorities have

HM Revenue & Customs told a parlia-
mentary inquiry that the new system
needed urgent action to be ready by
March 2019, when Brexit is due to be
completed, and the chair of the probe
said confidence it would be operational

Setting up a digital customs system
has been at the heart of Whitehall’s
Brexit planning because of the fivefold
increase in declarations expected at

About 53 per cent of British imports
come from the EU, and do not require
checks because they arrive through the
single market and customs union. But
Theresa May announced in January that
Brexit would include departure from
both trading blocs. HMRC handles 60m
declarations a year but, once outside the
customs union, the number is expected

The revelations about the system,
called Customs Declaration Service, are
likely to throw a sharper spotlight on
whether Whitehall can implement a
host of regulatory regimes — in areas
ranging from customs and immigration
to agriculture and fisheries — by the
timeBritain leavestheEU.

Problems with CDS and other projects
essential toBrexit could force London to

adjust its negotiation position with the
EU, a Whitehall official said. “If running
our own customs system is proving
much harder than we anticipated, that
ought to have an impact on how we
press forcertainoptions inBrussels.”

In a letter to Andrew Tyrie, chairman
of the Commons treasury select com-
mittee, HMRC said the timetable for
delivering CDS was “challenging but
achievable”. But, it added, CDS was “a
complex programme” that needed to be
linked to dozens of other computer sys-
tems to work properly. In November,
HMRC assigned a “green traffic light” to
CDS, indicating it would be deliveredon
time. But last month, it wrote to the
committee saying the programme had
been relegated to “amber/red,” which
means there are “major risks or issues
apparent inanumbero£eyareas”.

HMRC said last night: “[CDS] is on
track to be delivered by January 2019,
and it will be able to support frictionless
international trade once the UK leaves
the EU . . . Internal ratings are designed
to make sure that each project gets the
focus and resource it requires for suc-

HMRC’s letters to the select commit-
tee, which will be published today, pro-
vide no explanation for the rating
change, but some MPs believe it was
caused by Mrs May’s unexpected deci-
sionto leavetheEUcustomsunion.
Timetable & Great Repeal Bill page 2
Scheme to import EU laws page 3
Editorial Comment & Notebook page 12
Philip Stephens & Chris Giles page 13
JPMorgan eye options page 18

customs risks
being swamped
byBrexit surge
3Confidence in IT plans ‘has collapsed’
3Fivefold rise in declarations expected

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FTSEuro�rst 300 1503.03 1500.72 0.15

Euro Stoxx 50 3495.59 3481.58 0.40

FTSE 100 7322.92 7369.52 -0.63

FTSE All-Share 3990.00 4011.01 -0.52

CAC 40 5122.51 5089.64 0.65

Xetra Dax 12312.87 12256.43 0.46

Nikkei 18909.26 19063.22 -0.81

Hang Seng 24111.59 24301.09 -0.78

FTSE All World $ 297.38 298.11 -0.24


Mar 31 prev

$ per € 1.070 1.074

$ per £ 1.251 1.249

£ per € 0.855 0.859

¥ per $ 111.430 111.295

¥ per £ 139.338 139.035

€ index 88.767 89.046

SFr per € 1.071 1.069

Mar 31 prev

€ per $ 0.935 0.932

£ per $ 0.800 0.801

€ per £ 1.169 1.164

¥ per € 119.180 119.476

£ index 77.226 76.705

$ index 104.536 104.636

SFr per £ 1.252 1.244

Mar 31 prev %chg

Oil WTI $ 50.46 50.35 0.22

Oil Brent $ 53.35 53.13 0.41

Gold $ 1244.85 1248.80 -0.32


price yield chg

US Gov 10 yr 98.63 2.41 -0.01

UK Gov 10 yr 100.35 1.22 0.02

Ger Gov 10 yr 99.27 0.33 -0.01

Jpn Gov 10 yr 100.36 0.07 0.00

US Gov 30 yr 99.27 3.04 0.01

Ger Gov 2 yr 102.57 -0.75 0.00

price prev chg

Fed Funds E� 0.66 0.66 0.00

US 3m Bills 0.78 0.78 0.00

Euro Libor 3m -0.36 -0.36 0.00

UK 3m 0.34 0.34 0.00
Prices are latest for edition Data provided by Morningstar


stance in Brexit negotiations, rejecting
Britain’s plea for early trade talks and
explicitly giving Spain a veto over any

European Council president Donald
Tusk’s first draft of the guidelines,
which are an important milestone on
the road to Brexit, sought to damp Brit-
ain’s expectations by setting out a
“phased approach” to the divorce proc-
ess that prioritises progress on with-
drawal terms.

The decision to add the clause giving
Spain the right to veto any EU-UK trade
deals covering Gibraltar could make the
300-year territorial dispute between
Madrid and London an obstacle to

Gibraltar yesterday hit back at the

clause, saying the territory had “shame-
fully been singled out for unfavourable
treatment by the council at the behest of
Spain”. Madrid defended the draft
clause,pointingoutthat itonlyreflected

Senior EU diplomats noted that
Mr Tusk’s text left room for negotiators
to work with in coming months. Prime
minister Theresa May’s allies insisted
that the EU negotiating stance was
largely “constructive”, with one saying it
was “within the parameters of what we
were expecting, perhaps more on the

British officialsadmittedthat theEU’s
insistence on a continuing role for the
European Court of Justice in any transi-

Brussels sees little room for compro-

mise. If Britain wants to prolong its
status within the single market after
Brexit, the guidelines state it would
require “existing regulatory, budgetary,
supervisory and enforcement instru-
mentsandstructures toapply”.

Mr Tusk wants talks on future trade
to begin only once “sufficient progress”
has been made on Britain’s exit bill and
citizen rights, which Whitehall officials
believe means simultaneous talks are
possible if certainconditionsaremet.

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary,
reassured European colleagues at a
Nato summit in Brussels that Mrs May
had not intended to “threaten” the EU
when she linked security co-operation
Reports & analysis page 3
Jonathan Powell, Tim Harford &
Man in the News: David Davis page 11
Henry Mance page 12

Brussels takes tough stance onBrexit
with Spainhandedveto overGibraltar

About 2.3m people will benefit from
today’s increase in the national living
wage to £7.50 per hour. But the rise
will pile pressure on English councils,
which will have to pay care workers a
lot more. Some 43 per cent of care
sta� — amounting to 341,000 people
aged 25 and over — earn less than the
new living wage and the increase is
expected to cost councils’ care services
£360m in the coming financial year.
Analysis i PAGE 4

Living wage rise to pile
pressure on care services

SATURDAY 1 APRIL / SUNDAY 2 APRIL 2017UK £3.80; Channel Islands £3.80; Republic of Ireland €3.80

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upsetting — LIFE & ARTS



Escape the taper trap
How high earners can evade
a pension headache — FT MONEY

The lure of the exotic
Robin Lane Fox on the flair
of foreign flora — HOUSE & HOME

How To Spend It

Chic new lodgings
in Scotland

Art of persuasionMystery deepens
over disputed painting of JaneAusten

Austen’s descendants insist the Rice portrait depicts her as a girl — seemagazine Bridgeman Art Library


Credit Suisse has been targeted by
sweeping tax investigations in the UK,
France and the Netherlands, setting
back Switzerland’s attempts to clean up
its imageasataxhaven.

The Swiss bank said yesterday it was
co-operating with authorities after its
offices inLondon,ParisandAmsterdam
were contacted by local officials
“concerningclient taxmatters”.

Dutch authorities said their counter-
parts in Germany were also involved,
while Australia’s revenue department
said itwas investigatingaSwissbank.

The inquiries threaten to undermine
efforts by the country’s banking sector
to overhaul business models and ensure
customers meet international tax
requirements following a US-led clamp-
down on evaders, which resulted in
billionsofdollars infines.

The probes risk sparking an interna-
tional dispute after the Swiss attorney-
general’s office expressed “astonish-
ment” that it had been left out of the
actions co-ordinated by Eurojust, the
EU’s judicial liaisonbody.

Credit Suisse, whose shares fell 1.2 per
cent yesterday, identified itself as the
subject ofinvestigations in the Nether-
lands, France and the UK. The bank said

it followed “a strategy offull client tax
compliance” but was still trying to
gather informationabouttheprobes.

HM Revenue & Customs said it had
launched a criminal investigation into
suspected tax evasion and money laun-
dering by “a global financial institution
and certain ofits employees”. The UK
tax authority added: “The international
reach of this investigation sends a clear
message that there is no hiding place for

Dutch prosecutors, who initiated the
action, said they seized jewellery, paint-
ings and gold ingots as part of their
probe; while French officials said their
investigation had revealed “several
thousand” bank accounts opened in
Switzerland and not declared to French

The Swiss attorney-general’s office
said it was “astonished at the way this
operation has been organised with the
deliberate exclusion of Switzerland”. It
demanded a written explanation from

In 2014, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty
in the US to an “extensive and wide-
ranging conspiracy” to help clients
evadetax. Itagreedtofinesof$2.6bn.
Additional reportingbyLauraNoonan in
Dublin, Caroline Binham and Vanessa
Houlder in London, andMichael Stothard

Credit Suisse
engulfed in
fresh taxprobe
3UK, France and Netherlands swoop
3Blow for bid to clean up Swiss image






390_Cover_PRESS.indd 1 19/01/2017 13:57

DECEMBER 19 2020 Section:World Time: 18/12/2020 - 18:43 User: john.conlon Page Name: WORLD1 USA, Part,Page,Edition: EUR, 2, 1

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