News in brief.

Luciano Pavarotti this week faced an Italian Court where he was accused of swindling the country’s taxman out of £13m. Prosecutors allege the millionaire singer filed false tax returns in Italy between 1989 and 1995. Pavarotti, who pleaded not guilty, said his home is now the tax haven of Monte Carlo and not Modena in Italy. Pavarotti could face three years in prison if he loses the case.
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Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers have resigned their role at Australian airline Ansett after they came under pressure from trade unions. The Australian Council of Trade Unions claimed it was not appropriate for PwC to continue because of what it claims is a conflict of interest. Another part of the Big Five firm reportedly worked for Ansett’s parent company Air New Zealand on a separate matter. Andersen has now been appointed to the role.
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Former Public Accounts Committee chairman Lord Sheldon has praised two key departing committee members for their expertise and experience. Westminster’s chief financial watchdog is to lose both its chairman and clerk in the next few months. Chairman David Davis (pictured) will have to stand down as he has been appointed Tory party chairman by new leader Iain Duncan Smith following his own unsuccessful challenge for the job. A replacement for Davis has yet to be named. Ken Brown, clerk for more than a decade and a key figure in its effectiveness, is to retire at Christmas.
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Phillip Sykes, senior corporate recovery partner at mid-tier firm Moore Stephens, has been appointed trustee in bankruptcy for Michael Bright, former chief executive of Independent Insurance, which is now in provisional liquidation. Sykes was appointed following a meeting of Bright’s creditors and will be in charge of obtaining his assets, as well as examining and settling any competing claims. Bright was declared bankrupt last month, three months after Independent Insurance stopped writing new business and appointed liquidators from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
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The ICAEW is to launch a new investment business advice service aimed at members in practice. The move comes less than two months before the Financial Services Authority obtains its full powers to regulate firms conducting investment business. CAIFS, as it will be known, is a joint venture with Bankhall Investment Associates who have 14 years regulatory experience and an annual turnover of #360m. It will offer training in compliance, product research and specialist back-office software, among other services.
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A provisional rule on accounting for share options could be issued as early as next year despite fierce corporate resistance in the US and UK, it has emerged. The International Accounting Standards Board has decided to reissue an existing discussion paper to widen the debate, following the first round of preliminary talks at a global level. The discussion paper on share-based payment was originally issued in July 2000 by the now defunct G4+1 group – a group of standard setters from English speaking countries.
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Hackney Council’s frontline services have been taken over by the government in the wake of its financial mismanagement crisis. Local government minister Stephen Byers said he was taking action to safeguard key services, using powers under the 1999 Local Government Act, which allows departments to issue ‘directions’ to local councils.
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The newly revamped Great Hall at the ICAEW’s main headquarters is set to open its doors next Tuesday after a major renovation at the cost of £250,000. The renovation involved removing seventies-style decor and restoring the hall’s natural light oak finishes and solid teak floor.
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Police, clergy and tenant farmers, among others, will be able to receive working families’ tax credits from October, the paymaster general announced this week. Rule changes to tax credits will make people living in job-related accommodation who also own their own property, such as police, eligible to receive the tax credits from 9 October.
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