News in brief.

– The Inland Revenue faces widespread criticism from the IT industry over its bid to outsource its IT functions for #4bn. Peter Sommer, a computer security research fellow at the London Stock Exchange, said outsourcing was causing many hazards and that national security could suffer from outsourcing Revenue services. He said: ‘Outsourcing the Revenue is just as bizarre as outsourcing the armed forces.’ The Revenue has been toying with outsourcing IT functions since the 1970s. In 1994 it signed a deal with EDS to manage the mainframe-based PAYE system, but got bogged down by multiple administrative problems.

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– KPMG Forensic Accounting has warned that money laundering could increase dramatically as terrorists try to fund their activities by increasing drug trafficking. The firm this week issued a list of tell-tale signs of money laundering, warning banks in particular to be on the look out for unusual transactions that do not fit their customers’ profiles. Warning sings include people changing large quantities of foreign currency and customers who pay no attention to the level of charges.

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– Environmental reporting should be opposed because it is based on the false perception that the planet is heading for environmental meltdown, poverty is increasing and large conglomerates are running the world, according to experts at the Institute of Economic Affairs. According to the institute, publishing social and environmental reports as part of annual report and accounts creates additional burdens and costs. In a report called Misguided Virtue; False Notions of Corporate Social Responsibility it said companies producing such reports force partners and suppliers to do likewise, raising costs and prices as a result.

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– Only 23% of millionaires turn to their accountants for investment advice and only 7% believe their accountants are ‘important’ or ‘influential’ according to a recent survey. Millionaires would rather turn to newspapers for investment tips as their primary source of information, with independent financial advisers coming in second. According to John Clemens of Tulip Financial Research, the survey shows millionaires prefer to use their own judgement when they invest and they are not well served by financial institutions.

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– The Home Office is attempting to rush through its Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill to crackdown on international bribery. The bill is attempting to give the UK jurisdiction over acts of bribery committed by UK nationals and UK companies overseas. But there is anger among aid bodies that it does not go further, and excludes persons other than British citizens.

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– Accountants can still earn premium fees when they serve as expert witnesses in court cases, a recent survey by consultancy firm Bond Solon revealed. More than two-thirds of respondents said the Woolf reforms, which said experts’ fees cannot total a significant proportion of the claim, was not making their work ‘uneconomical.’ The survey also showed expert witnesses can earn between #49 and #350 an hour for their services.

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– Global investment banking firm Global investment banking firm Lehman Brothers has appointed former Ernst & Young audit partner Kevin Hayes as its chief financial officer for Europe and Asia. He succeeds Tom Bolland, who will become chief strategy officer for the investment banking division in Europe. Hayes was appointed for his global expertise and will be relocating to London from New York, where he is currently global markets controller.

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– Rudolph Guiliani, New York’s outgoing major, has bagged a job with Big Five firm Ernst & Young as he gears up to step down from his second term in office. The firm is expected to pay Guiliani ‘significantly more’ than his current salary of $190,000 (#160,000). Michael Bloomberg, media tycoon, will succeed Guiliani on 1 January 2002.

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