Business in brief: Libor | EU | H&T

THE Serious Fraud Office (SFO) yesterday confirmed it is preparing charges against more bankers accused of involvement in the Libor-rigging scandal.

About a fifth of the agency’s staff is now involved in the investigation, which was opened last year in the wake of Barclays’ £290 million fine by regulators for rigging the key lending rate.

Three men have already been charged by the SFO, but their trials are not expected to start until 2015. US authorities are also investigating manipulation of the inter-bank lending rate.

Fund warns Europe of deflation threat

The European economy is said to be at risk of Japanese-style deflation because of the combination of a strong single currency and weak growth.

The Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco) – the world’s largest bond fund – warned that the eurozone’s already low inflation rate could turn negative next year, posing the largest single threat to its economy.

Some parts of the continent are already suffering from deflation as wages are driven down by high unemployment.

H&T turns back on Albemarle & Bond

Pawnbroker H&T is said to have walked away from a potential bid for struggling rival Albemarle & Bond.

The report comes less than a week after corporate turnaround firm Better Capital also ended its formal interest in Albemarle, which put itself up for sale early this month after its trading was hit by a slump in gold prices and rising competition.

It has been trading at a loss in recent months and a three-month reprieve from its lenders ends at the start of February.




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