The Wizard of Os: Merlin plan causes cracks in coalition

first_img Show Comments ▼ Tags: NULL Share KCS-content GEORGE Osborne’s flagship agreement with banks over bonuses and lending – dubbed project Merlin – was thrown into disarray last night, after a Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman was sacked for attacking the deal. Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, was unceremoniously ousted after he said the agreement was “pitiful” and “not as tough as it should have been”. Although he is not a minister, the sacking of a senior Liberal Democrat is sure to exacerbate tensions within the coalition government, especially as many rank and file party members will agree with his sentiments.Project Merlin, the brainchild of former Barclays boss John Varley, hoped to improve the image of banks and repair relations between the industry and government. In exchange for action on bonuses and lending, the government said it would refrain from any extra taxes or populist attacks. Yesterday, after weeks of tense negotiations, the government unveiled the terms of the deal, which included a commitment from four banks to lend an extra £10bn to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) this year.Lloyds, RBS, HSBC and Barclays – the four “Merlin” banks – said they would collectively agree £76bn of lending to SMEs this year, compared to £66bn in 2010, an increase of around 15 per cent. The Merlin banks also agreed to:• Boost overall lending to businesses from £179bn in 2010 to £190bn this year, an increase of six per cent.• Pay a collective £200m into the Big Society Bank. • Show some restraint over bonuses, by paying smaller bonuses this year compared to last. Upfront cash payouts at RBS and Lloyds will be capped at £2,000. • And improve transparency by anonymously publishing the remuneration packages of the top five executives not on the board. However, the Merlin package ultimately resulted in a set of agreements that will have little impact on bank remuneration, lending or transparency. The Office of Budgetary responsibility forecasts GDP growth of 2.1 per cent in 2011 and an increase in consumer price inflation of 2.8 per cent, meaning that a six per cent nominal rise in gross business lending is actually very small in real terms.Bank lending was already rising before the Merlin agreement, with Santander’s UK arm saying it already planned to lend 12 per cent more to businesses in 2011.Nor will the focus on lending have any direct impact on credit conditions. The Bank of England’s most recent net lending figures – which take the repayment of debt into account – showed a downward trend as firms deleverage, even though RBS and Lloyds increased lending last year. Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics said: “We don’t think that this agreement will succeed in getting credit flowing around the economy again.”Shortly after the terms of the Merlin deal were announced, the taxpayer-backed banks unveiled the pay packages of their chief executives. Eric Daniels, chief executive of Lloyds, will receive a bonus of £1.45m in deferred shares while Stephen Hester, his counterpart at RBS, will get around £2m, also in deferred shares. whatsapp The Wizard of Os: Merlin plan causes cracks in coalition by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryPeople TodayNewborn’s Strange Behavior Troubles Mom, 40 Years Later She Finds The Reason Behind ItPeople TodayMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesBrake For ItThe Most Worthless Cars Ever MadeBrake For ItZen HeraldNASA’s Voyager 2 Has Entered Deep Space – And It Brought Scientists To Their KneesZen HeraldBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeWanderoamIdentical Twins Marry Identical Twins – But Then The Doctor Says, “STOP”Wanderoam Wednesday 9 February 2011 8:55 pm whatsapplast_img read more

Videoslots and Casumo fall foul of UK regulator

first_imgLegal & compliance Topics: Legal & compliance Videoslots and Casumo fall foul of UK regulator The UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) ongoing investigation into how the industry tackles problem gambling and prevents money laundering has seen the regulator take action against Videoslots and Casumo.Following reviews of each company’s operating licence, the Commission has imposed a £5.85m (€6.6m/$7.5m) financial penalty on Casumo, and agreed a £1m regulatory settlement with Videoslots. A third company, Malta-licensed CZ Holdings, which operates the Dr Vegas site, surrendered its licence after a review had been launched.Nine other (unnamed) operators have been issued with warnings about their future conduct, and a further six remain under investigation. The investigation has already seen Stride Gaming subsidiary Daub Alderney hit with a £7.1m fine, meaning the regulator has issued £13.95m in penalty packages as a result of social responsibility failings.“I hope today’s announcement will make all online casino operators sit up and pay attention, as our investigations found that a large number of operators and their senior management were not meeting their obligations,” UKGC chief executive Neil McArthur said.“It is not enough to have policies and procedures in place,” he said. “Everyone in a gambling business must understand its policies and procedures and take responsibility for properly applying them.”The UKGC revealed for the first time that it has taken action against individuals responsible for these failings. This has seen three Personal Licence (PML) holders surrender their certification, four individuals issued with a warning, and two sent letters on their conduct. Three additional PML holders are still under investigation.McArthur added: “Anyone in a position of authority needs to be aware that we will not only act against businesses when we take regulatory action – we will also hold individuals to account where they are responsible for an operator’s failings.”In the case of Casumo, the operator was found to have failed to put appropriate risk assessment processes in place to determine whether its iGaming offerings could be used to launder money, required under Licence Condition 12.1.1(1). The regulator warned that such processes were not in place in a letter dated November 2017, with Casumo accepting that it was in breach of the licence condition in March 2018, setting out a revised, compliant process later that month.The investigation also discovered that Casumo was not conducting proper due diligence processes on customers, and failing to determine the source of players’ funds. The Commission also found that proper checks to ensure customers were not displaying signs of unhealthy gambling habits had not been carried out. Three Casumo account holders were deemed to be problem gamblers, but none had been flagged as at-risk by the operator.As a result of the failings the operator was issued with the £5.85m fine, and had additional conditions attached to its UK licence. It must appoint a qualified Money Laundering Reporting Officer, who must also take annual refresher training, alongside all other PML holders, senior management and key staff.Casumo must also bring in external auditors to assess its anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes.In Videoslots’ case, the company was found to have insufficient customer due diligence processes, and failing to establish the source of customers’ funds. This saw a customer deposit more than £211,000 with the operator in November 2014, losing around £45,000 gambling on its site, without the Videoslots having conducted any sort of enhanced due diligence checks.Another customer failed automated identity checks, resulting in them using a fraudulent driving licence to prove their identity, which was not noticed by Videoslots. This saw the customer allowed to register multiple fraudulent bank cards, making £17,405 in deposits before the criminal activity was flagged.It also failed to make timely interventions when customers were spending significant amounts. This saw one individual deposit £412,000 between April 2016 and January 2017 without the operator attempting to contact them or determine the source of their funds.The operator also failed to have a PML holder leading its regulatory compliance function, and did not notify the UKGC of internal management changes.Videoslots agreed a £1m settlement with the regulator, with the money to be used to support National Responsible Gambling Strategy projects. The operator must also have its Money Laundering Reporting Officer, PML holders, senior management and relevant employees conduct annual anti-money laundering refresher training courses. It also made a payment of £12,000 towards the Commission’s investigative costs.“It is important to make clear that the regulatory settlement is distinct from a package of formal sanctions, and as such the payment is not a fine and is not recorded as a sanction,” Videoslots said.“The Commission’s investigations were part of its thematic review into money laundering and responsible gambling compliance in the remote gambling industry,” the operator continued. “We are pleased that the Gambling Commission recognises that we were open and transparent and fully cooperative throughout.“We had already started making changes prior to the Commission’s review and took proactive and timely action to address weaknesses in our systems relating to how we managed our customers for anti-money laundering and social responsiblity purposes.”Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright warned operators to take note of the Commission’s readiness to issue fines to tackle social responsibility failings.“Protecting vulnerable consumers is our prime concern, and it must be the priority for gambling operators too,” he said.“There are robust requirements to safeguard players and prevent money-laundering which all businesses must adhere to if they wish to operate in the British market. I am pleased to see the Gambling Commission taking the strongest possible action when companies fail to meet their obligations.” Two operators latest to be targeted in ongoing UKGC crackdown on player protection and money-laundering failings Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter 29th November 2018 | By contenteditorlast_img read more