City&FinanceBriefing Inbrief British punters hit worst in an 87m US fraudUp to 400 retail investors in the UK are alleged to have been conned out of more than $110 million (68 million) in the giant boiler- room investment fraud that saw a host of arrests in New York, it emerged today. the FBI yesterday arrested six founders and senior directors of AIM-listed Sky Capital Holdings on charges that they ran a $140 million (87 million) investment fraud for eight years. A three-year probe had also looked at allega- tions of share price manipulation on the London Stock Exchange. FBI sources in New York said between 300 and 400 of the alleged victims were ordinary retail investors from t he U K who s e losses amounted to 80% of the total alleged fraud. Investigators from the Financial Services Authority and over a dozen local constabularies in Britain were involved in the probe. the Serious Fraud office interviewed some of the alleged vic- tims. the firm was well connected in the UK. Former tory Mp for Fulham Matthew Carrington was a director of Sky Capitals UK arm until 2004. there is no suggestion that he was involved in any wrongdoing. Federal prosecutors allege that from 1998 to 2006 Sky Group chief executive Ross Mandell and five others participated in a scheme to defraud investors via two broker- ages, the thornwater Company and the Sky Capital group of companies. the charges say ordinary investors were cold-called by aggressive boiler-room brokers who prom- ised stellar returns from investments. BY james doran City jobs market over worst, says recruiter THE British jobs market is continuing to collapse, but in the City -- which has borne most of the pain -- there are the first signs that the worst of it has already passed. Thats the prognosis from Hays, one of the countrys biggest recruitment firms. Today it reported that its fees from April to June for placing people in jobs fell 45% over the last year. That follows a 37% collapse in the first quarter of the year. The deterioration has been swift. This time last year Hays was reporting a 4% growth in the UK jobs market. That turned into an 8% decline in the third quarter and was plummeting by 22% in the last three months of 2008. Hays finance director Paul Venables said while general trading remains horrendous, there are signs that the City market has stabilised. City is down 80% from its height but there have been modest increases in the last quarter, he added. It is a fact that the banks that have come out of all this still strong are looking around for talented people. Accountancy and finance is the bellwether recruitment business because every company and organisation has a finance function. There, we are beginning to see a little more stability. Primark shrugs off brickbats CHARItIES say it exploits the third World, and its own staff have taken to the internet to besmirch its customers, but clothes juggernaut primark rolls on through the recession. Employees wrote disparaging remarks on Facebook and there are allegations primark sources goods from suppliers that use child labour. But third-quarter sales figures of parent group Associated British Foods show primark sales rose 21% in the 16 weeks to 20 June. Australia Dollars 1.9378 Canada Dollars 1.7828 Denmark Kroner 8.2004 Eurozone Euro 1.1045 Hong Kong Dollars 11.8200 Japan Yen 144.2900 New Zealand Dollars 2.3823 South Africa Rand 12.1800 Sweden Kronor 12.2900 Switzerland Francs 1.6720 UAE Dirham 5.5396 United States Dollars 1.5350 ToUriST raTeS UP 19.50 at 4159.73 fTSe 100 dow joneS nikkei -$ UP 14.81 at 8178.41 DOWN 129.69 at 9291.06 UP 0.5c at $1.3934 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available Barratt upbeat on house prices l HOUSE prices have stabilised and more people are looking for a new home, according to Barratt Developments. But the recent upbeat note struck by Britains leading housebuilder is not shared by smaller rival Redrow, which today issued a profit warning after reporting a 46% slump in sales. It also announced a wholesale review of its business. Held: Adam Harrington, one of the accused, with an FBI official wiseman lifted by rivals woe l WHEn Dairy Farmers of Great Britain went bust last month, its rival Robert Wiseman took on three of its largest milk supply contracts with the Co-op and two with Spar suppliers at very short notice. Chairman Alan Wiseman told shareholders today that this had helped boost the companys milk sales by 8.5% in the first three months of its new financial year. drain on Man funds declines l A RECOvERy in hedge fund performances has seen a fall in institutional investors withdrawing money from Man Group. In the three months to the end of June, institutions withdrew $3.6 billion (2.2 billion) from the hedge fund manager. But in the quarter just started, where those redeeming holdings got their cash on 1 July, withdrawals halved to $1.8 billion. Crisis-hit Cattles talks deadlock l CATTLES, the crisis-struck subprime lender, has failed to reach agreement with its banks on a 500 million loan which expires today. It is locked in talks with its lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland, to obtain a standstill agreement on its debts. Cattles is expected to go into administration if no resolution is forthcoming. 34 Thursday, 9 July 2009 London Lite index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html