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PRESS DIGEST- British Business - Feb 27

Feb 27 - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.



The Times


B&Q ATTACKED OVER PAY-TO-STAY 'THREATS'

B&Q is facing claims that it threatened its suppliers by demanding they pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to stay on its books. (http://thetim.es/1FZLBKD)


RBS'S COUTTS INVESTIGATED OVER SWISS 'TAX EVASION'

The Swiss division of Coutts, the private bank owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, is being investigated by German prosecutors over allegations that it helped wealthy clients to evade tax. (http://thetim.es/1EvJlcy)


The Guardian

GEORGE OSBORNE REBUKED FOR BOASTING HE HALVED 1.7 BLN STG EU SURCHARGE

MPs have criticised George Osborne for exaggerating claims that he halved a 1.7 billion pound ($2.62 billion) surcharge imposed by Brussels last year when Britain's rebate automatically cut the figure to 850 million pounds. (http://bit.ly/1FAw0h8)


BANK OF ENGLAND TO BOOST WATCHDOG ROLE AFTER FAILING TO SPOT FOREX RIGGING

The Bank of England plans to beef up its watchdog role after it failed to spot one of the biggest scandals in the City's recent history. (http://bit.ly/1LMuMkQ)


The Telegraph


STANDARD CHARTERED CHIEF AND CHAIRMAN TO LEAVE IN DRAMATIC 6-MAN BOARD EXODUS

Standard Chartered has announced a dramatic exodus from its board that will see both its chief executive and chairman leave the struggling bank. (http://bit.ly/1LOxhVV)


GLAXOSMITHKLINE BRIBERY SCANDAL LED TO 13-FOLD INCREASE IN CHINA WHISTLEBLOWER REPORTS

A 15-month bribery investigation into GlaxoSmithKline by Chinese authorities has led to a dramatic increase in whistleblower reports from the company's operation in the country, its annual report has disclosed. (http://bit.ly/1Ay6lpx)


Sky News

RBS POSTS 3.5 BLN STG LOSS AS BOSS HANDS BACK 1 MLN STG

A 4 billion pound writedown on its U.S. business meant Royal Bank of Scotland remained in the red in 2014, with the bank confirming a 3.5 billion pound loss. (http://bit.ly/1FZMzGL)


U.S. REGULATORS STEP UP FOREX SETTLEMENT TALKS

Barclays will more than double its 500 million pound provision for foreign exchange-rigging fines next week, Sky News learns. (http://bit.ly/1vD0Pl9)


The Independent


OUTRIGHT HOMEOWNERS OVERTAKE MORTGAGE HOLDERS FOR FIRST TIME

For the first time, the proportion of households where the property is owned outright by its inhabitants has overtaken those that have a mortgage. The finding highlights the changing financial make-up of the country's households and is likely to embolden those arguing that the Bank of England can safely begin to increase interest rates without threatening the recovery. (http://ind.pn/1JPrgL3)


MOD WASTED 33 MLN STG ON BOTCHED PRIVATISATION ATTEMPTS, REPORT CLAIMS

The Ministry of Defence wasted 33 million pounds on botched attempts to semi-privatise the 14 billion pound budget agency that buys military equipment, according to report published by the National Audit Office.

($1 = 0.6485 pounds) (Compiled by Aurindom Mukherjee; Editing by Ken Wills)