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Michael Noonan is investing in gold on his own behalf.

Michael Noonan is investing in gold on his own behalf.

The Minister for Finance bought the traditional hedge against tough times by buying into the SPDR Gold shares exchange fund over the last year, according to Mr Noonan's latest declaration to the Oireachtas, which details his private financial interests.

The grim outlook for Europe's economy last year seems to have inspired the minister's decision to sell out of a fund that tracked top European shares.

Sunday Business Post

Twenty-two borrowers owed Irish banks €26bn between them in November 2007, according to a PWC report commissioned after the bank guarantee by the then Fianna Fáil / Green Party government. PWC said that in its worst-case scenario, Ireland's banks stood to lose €10.6bn.

The figure was double banks' own estimates, but a fraction of the true cost of the banking crisis.


RBS and Barclays face penalties of about $1bn (€950m) each from US authorities for their alleged role in the manipulation of currency markets.

The US Justice Department is looking to fine four banks - RBS, Barclays, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase - to settle accusations of criminal activity in the currency markets.

However, final penalties could be lower, as banks are pushing back harder than in some previous negotiations.

In total the US authorities are seeking penalties of about $4bn, with bills for each bank depending on their cooperation with investigations.

LA Repubblica

F2i, majority shareholder of Italian broadband carrier Metroweb, has received a letter of intent from Vodafone's Italian division on a possible involvement in a plan for high-speed network in the country, 'La Repubblica' newspaper reports.

Vodafone has been expected to flag its willingness to support a cash call at Metroweb to Metroweb shareholders F2i, an infrastructure fund and the Italian state-sponsored Fondo Strategico Italiano.

Financial Times

The chief executive of French nuclear group Areva is abandoning the company's strategy of seeking to lead high-profile new-build projects to focus on supplying reactor components.

Philippe Knoche said the loss-making state-controlled company's policy was "clearly to work with EDF" or other groups to focus on supplying reactor components, chiefly the core nuclear steam supply system.

Areva is under pressure from President Francois Hollande to work more closely with EDF, it main customer and the operators of the country's 56 nuclear reactors.

Irish Independent