The head of the International Monetary Fund enjoys a tax-free income of £350,000, it emerged yesterday – days after she attacked Greeks for failing to pay their taxes. Christine Lagarde provoked a furious backlash after blaming Greece’s economic plight on citizens ‘who are trying to escape tax all the time’. Now it has been revealed that the divorced Frenchwoman, 56, earns a salary of £298,926 which her contract states ‘shall be net of income taxes’. Part of this is paid for by British taxpayers, as the UK contributes 4.5 per cent of the IMF’s resources. This equates to about £13,500 of Mrs Lagarde’s basic wages. The IMF also pays Mrs Lagarde a top-up tax-free sum of £53,490, designed ‘to enable the Fund’s leader to maintain, in the interests of the Fund, a scale of living appropriate to your position as managing director and to the Fund’s need for representation’. In addition, she is entitled to expenses for ‘entertainment’ and travel and hotel costs for her and her partner when the IMF meets in Washington DC. Her five-year contract also entitles her to a pay increase every July.
The number of older people who will be forced to pay their own care bills will double over the next 20 years to more than a quarter of a million, a report said yesterday. It said spending constraints and growing demand for help will mean councils no longer provide any care apart from that which the law forces them to pay for. The report for local authorities predicted that numbers who have to pay for their own care at home – ranging from meals-on-wheels to help washing and dressing – or meet their own care home bills will reach 264,000 by 2030.
Risk appetite is deteriorating again as hopes for Chinese stimulus measures are dashed and concerns grow over Spain’s banking problems. The FTSE All-World equity index is down 0.5 per cent as the FTSE Eurofirst 300 sees a loss of 0.8 per cent and after the Asia-Pacific region slid 0.8 per cent.
Canny investors know that there is nothing better than a good crisis to create a buying opportunity. Which, in part, explains why De La Rue’s shares have edged up in recent weeks. Eurozone vultures have become excited by the prospect of the Greek government crashing out of the euro, and cranking up drachma printing presses. Who would win the contract? Why, De La Rue, of course, which was responsible for half of all the new banknotes put into circulation last year. Rumours have even circulated that De La Rue executives have been spotted in smoky tavernas, sipping at their ouzo, plotting the return of the Greek sovereign currency.
Lord Browne, the former BP chief executive who resigned after it emerged he had lied to the High Court about a gay relationship, has urged companies to do more to end discrimination against homosexuals.The BBC reports that he said at the launch of Connect Out, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network set up by Arup, the engineering and design consultants: “My sense is that the business world remains more intolerant of homosexuality than other worlds such as the legal profession, the media and the visual art. I am one of a handful of publicly gay people to have run a FTSE 100 company. “In some industries, the situation is particularly bad. Among the many people I know in private equity, where I now work, fewer than 1pc are openly gay.” Lord Browne, who has not spoken publicly about sexuality in the workplace since his resignation in 2007, wants company chiefs to take a lead to end this discrimination.
The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, will discover on Wednesday whether he is to be deported to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault when the supreme court delivers its verdict on his appeal. The seven-strong panel of justices is expected to focus on the narrow issue of whether or not the European arrest warrant (EAW) requesting the 40-year-old Australian’s extradition, which has been issued by the Swedish prosecutor, is valid. EU treaty provisions governing extradition specify that a warrant must be drawn up by “competent judicial authorities”. Lawyers for Assange argue that a prosecutor is not a judge or a “judicial” official. The court’s judgment, expected to be relatively short, will include an explanation of the reasons for the decision.