Business Irish

Saturday 16 December 2017

The Punt: JP McManus the real winner without a doubt

Racegoers watch from the stands on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Racegoers watch from the stands on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Uli Hoeness

HILARIOUSLY named Rich Ricci has lost none of his trademark swagger since exiting as chief of Barclays' investment banking arm last spring. Word on the street is, he came down with a bad case of 'my horse is better than yours' in the run-up to this week's Cheltenham showdown against fellow City bigwig Andy Stewart.

Ricci – who lives in a seven-bedroom 18th century mansion in Kent but flies to Dublin most weekends by private jet to watch his horses train – owns about 30 thoroughbreds whose names include Fatcatinthehat.

Stewart, multimillionaire founder of Cenkos Securities, entered three horses against Ricci's Annie Power in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle on Thursday. Ricci was unimpressed, he said. "Rich Ricci has told me that Annie Power has already won the race," Stewart said at a Festival preview last weekend.

But pride comes before a fall, as Barclays execs know better than most. Neither Ricci's horse Annie Power nor any of Stewart's took gold; that honour went to JP McManus' More Of That.

As a company, Barclays is no stranger to talking up what later proves to be not-so-sweet investments. This week, deputy chairman Michael Rake claimed that the bank's former boss Bob Diamond "did a phenomenal job".

Barclays investors – still sore from a £290m (€346m) fine for Libor fixing under Mr Diamond's watch – may remember things slightly differently.


New boss at Tax Institute

The Irish Tax Institute has appointed a new chief executive. Martin Lambe, the previous director of finance, risk & compliance, has secured the top role.

Mr Lambe is a 20-year veteran of the institute, having joined in 1991.

He led the institute's strategy on finance, membership services and investment in technology.

In addition to this role, he also held the position of company secretary since 2004, overseeing corporate governance and matters related to the professional standards of members.


Hoeness takes his medicine

IT appears Bayern Munich's Uli Hoeness is resigned to his fate. The football general manager, above, won't appeal his tax conviction and three-and-a-half-year prison sentence and will step down from his position at the German club, a statement said yesterday.

Hoeness will resign as president of the club and head of the supervisory board of Bayern Munich, the German champion's commercial arm.

He said he was doing it to prevent the club from being damaged.

The move comes one day after a Munich court convicted him of evading €28.5m in tax.

Even German chancellor Angela Merkel, below, has waded into the debate surrounding the case, by praising him for his stoicism.

"I have a great deal of respect for his decision to accept the verdict," she said.

The case was a major story in Germany, with 'Der Spiegel' even suggesting last April that it could damage Ms Merkel in the run-up to September's election. The paper said it made the chancellor look weak on fighting tax evasion.

The verdict certainly wasn't a weak one.

Irish Independent

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