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AMP terminated former ‘puppet’ planner over compliance concerns

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AMP terminated former ‘puppet’ planner over compliance concerns

The former AMP financial planner responsible for publicly airing damning allegations about high-pressure sales tactics at the company, resigned from the wealth manager under a cloud after it red-flagged some of his advice over compliance concerns.

Brett Strong, a self-employed financial planner who became an authorised representative of AMP in mid-2013, told ABC TV’s Four Corners he was pushed to sell AMP financial products over other more suitable products offered by other institutions.

He also supported the bruising royal commission revelations that the tarnished wealth manager had charged fees for financial advice it did not provide.

“The AMP clients were being charged every month automatically and not receiving a red razoo. Sorry, but they weren’t. They weren’t receiving anything,” he said on the program.

Mr Strong – who had 700 clients when he joined AMP, but under his arrangement with the wealth manager he received another 2000 client files – resigned from AMP in March 2014, after less than a year.

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In a statement AMP said Mr Strong resigned from the company after “compliance issues including certain advice” were raised with him, and subsequently terminated his authorised representative status in August 2014.

“AMP will review the claims made by Mr Strong to the Four Corners program. Our advisers are able to advise on both AMP and non-AMP products. They have a legal obligation to only recommend a new product when it is in their client’s best interests,” said AMP.

Once a financial adviser resigns from a licensee, they are still expected to address compliance issues, something it is understood Mr Strong did not do.

Mr Strong said AMP was “trying to get my existing book of business over to their particular products and services. That didn’t sit well with me.”

He said: “The amount of additional things they put in front of me made me feel like a corporate slut, a bitch to somebody’s command. A puppet would be the best way to describe it.”

Another current AMP financial planner, who has been an authorised representative of the company for more than 20 years, said he had never been asked to push an AMP product.

He told The Australian Financial Review any incentives to recommend in-house products “stopped in 2003”.

AMP, the nation’s oldest wealth manager, is fighting battles on all fronts.

It faces five potential class actions, brand trashing revelations at the royal commission and a regulator probe, and is still trying to find a permanent chief executive and a handful of new directors.

On Monday, Shine Lawyers said it was investigating whether the allegation raised by Mr Strong should give rise to another class action.

“Under the Future of Financial Advice enacted in 2015, an obligation is imposed on financial advisers to act in the best interest of your client and when looking at your products and the client, that must involve a consideration of a range of products that are the best fit for your client’s needs, not just the company you work for,” said Shine Lawyers national class actions lead, Jan Saddler.

AMP said in its statement that it was “working to accelerate the compensation of customers who received inappropriate advice or were charged fees incorrectly”.

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Sajid Javid drops UK’s blanket opposition to death penalty to allow two Isis fighters to be sent to US

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Sajid Javid drops UK’s blanket opposition to death penalty to allow two Isis fighters to be sent to US

Sajid Javid has dropped Britain’s blanket opposition to the death penalty in order to allow two notorious British Isis fighters to be sent to the United States.

In what constitutes a major departure from the well-established policy of opposing the death penalty abroad “in all circumstances as a matter of principle”, the home secretary told the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that he would not demand a “death penalty assurance” in this particular case.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, are said to have been members of the brutal four-man “Beatles” cell of executioners in Syria and Iraq, and are responsible for killing a series of high-profile Western captives.

The pair, who are understood to have been stripped of their British citizenship, were captured in January, sparking a row over whether they should be returned to the UK for trial or face justice in another jurisdiction.

But in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph to Mr Sessions, the home secretary wrote last month: “I am of the view that there are strong reasons for not requiring a death penalty assurance in this specific case, so no such assurances will be sought.”

“I have instructed my officials to set out the terms of our assistance and to work with your officials to action the request.

But, he added: “As you are aware, it is the long-held position of the UK to seek death penalty assurances, and our decision in this case does not reflect a change in our policy on assistance in US death penalty cases generally, nor the UK government’s stance on the global abolition of the death penalty.”

A government strategy document from 2011 states that promoting human rights and democracy is a priority for the UK and “it is the longstanding policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle”.

Mr Javid also said US courts were better placed to handle “foreign fighter” cases because of the risk of legal challenge in the UK.

The Home Secretary said he understood US “frustration” on the subject and added that the UK was introducing “new legislation to improve the range of offences on the statute book” to deal with the “scourge” of foreign fighters.

“Ensuring foreign fighters face justice raises a real challenge for all our jurisdictions; however, in this instance, we believe that a successful federal prosecution in the US is more likely to be possible because of differences in your statute book and the restrictions on challenges to the route by which defendants appear in US courts,” he said.

“The US currently has additional charges for terrorism offences which are not available under UK criminal law, and those offences carry long sentences.”

Along with Mohammed Emwazi – the killer nicknamed Jihadi John – and Aine Davis, Kotey and Elsheikh are thought to have been part of a group named after the ’60s band because of their English accents.

Emwazi, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, appeared in a number of videos in which captives, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were killed.

Mohammed Emwazi recording

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Foley’s mother, Diane, said she was opposed to the death penalty.

“I am very against that,” she said. ”I think that would just make them martyrs in their twisted ideology.

“I would like them held accountable by being sent to prison for the rest of their lives.”

Labour’s shadow attorney general, Shami Chakrabarti, told The Independent: “ Sajid Javid appears to have secretly and unilaterally abandoned Britain’s opposition to the death penalty.“

“By doing so he is not just is playing with the lives of these particular terrorists but of those other Britons – including potentially innocent ones – all over the world”

“Just as we should be persuading countries like the US and Iran to drop the death penalty, Javid appears to be encouraging this grave human rights abuse.”

The Home Office refused to comment on the leaked document but a spokesman told The Independent: “We continue to engage with the US government on this issue, as we do on a range of national security issues and in the context of our joint determination to tackle international terrorism and combat violent extremism.

“The UK government’s position on Guantanamo Bay is that the detention facility should close.”

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Mondelez recalls some Ritz Cracker products

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Mondelez recalls some Ritz Cracker products

Mondelez has voluntarily begun recalling some Ritz Cracker sandwiches and Ritz Bits products over concern that they may include an ingredient tainted with Salmonella.

The company said in a statement on Saturday that it has not received any complaints of illness, and that it issued the recall as a precautionary measure.

The concern is over the ingredient whey powder, which one of Mondelez’s suppliers has recalled due to “the potential presence of Salmonella,” according to Mondelez.

Salmonella is a microorganism that can cause people to experience fevers, nausea and gastro-intestinal problems, which can be serious in children and others with weakened immune systems, the company said.

The recall extends to more than a dozen types of Ritz cracker sandwich and Ritz Bits products sold in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Power retailers under pressure as ACCC takes aim at ‘loyalty tax’

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Power retailers under pressure as ACCC takes aim at ‘loyalty tax’

Investors in AGL Energy and Origin Energy are right to be worried about the prospects for their electricity retailing businesses, according to competition tsar Rod Sims, who is leading the regulator’s crackdown on the way the big three players treat their most loyal – and profitable – customers.

“Our recommendations are unashamedly to help consumers get better deals and that will mean lower returns for the major retailers,” Mr Sims said in an interview after announcing another instance of penalties for misleading discounting.

“I have no hesitation in favouring consumers over the shareholders I’m afraid.”

Mr Sims said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s push for a “default” tariff, which will set a base to measure offers of discounts, will, if implemented, address the “ridiculously high” standing offers by the major players. The big three in the sector also include unlisted EnergyAustralia.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government “will carefully consider” the ACCC’s recommendations “before the end of the year”.

AAP

Despite some analysts saying the move would reduce competition in electricity supply, Mr Sims said it would provide smaller retailers with a level playing field.

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Of the ACCC’s 56 proposals to rein in electricity prices, the suggestion to create a default tariff is seen as among those most likely to be implemented.

The release of the proposals on July 11 caused some $1.7 billion to be initially wiped off the combined market value of AGL and Origin.

Several analysts and investors described the hit to the stock prices as an overreaction, but Mr Sims’ comments underline the regulator’s determination to take action.

The proposal would bring a government-imposed price for retail electricity that would be set lower than existing “standard offers” from retailers and act as a base against which consumers can more effectively measure discounts.

The concept is understood to have been suggested by Western Australia retailer Alinta Energy, which is on a drive to win customers on the east coast from its bigger rivals.

Changes ‘manageable’

Morgan Stanley analyst Rob Koh compares the ACCC’s recommendation to “a cut to the loyalty tax rate”, referring to the penalty paid by the 1.7 million customers pay who have never shopped around for a competitive offer and remain with their existing retailer on higher tariffs.

“Retail profitability is … driven by large numbers of customers paying above-average prices and never engaging with their supplier,” Mr Koh said in a note. “Disengaged customers pay a ‘loyalty tax’ vs. customers who shop around.”

AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia will feel most of the impact because they are the only “incumbent” retailers that have bought out state-owned retailers and have “sticky” customers that have never switched.

Mr Koh described the changes as “manageable” for AGL and Origin, estimating they would need to reduce discounts to other customers by less than 300 basis points across the board to recoup the impact.

“We anticipate that the current incumbents will recoup the loyalty tax cut over time, absent market disruption,” Mr Koh said.

‘Invented’ benchmark

But Mr Sims signalled that the majors had more to lose and noted they generally oppose the recommendations, while the smaller retailers are in favour.

“The difference is it’s the larger retailers who have got these ridiculously high standing offers but also it means that consumers lose faith in the system,” he said.

“The large retailers make a lot of their money out of people being disengaged and not switching and so then they pay a loyalty tax: the longer you stay with your retailer they more you pay.”

Mr Sims said the ACCC’s recommendations would give confidence to consumers that “when they see a 25 per cent discount they know it’s better than a 15 per cent discount”.

“At the moment they do not know that because you are advertising a discount against a base that you invent yourself,” he said.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government “will carefully consider these recommendations and respond before the end of the year”.

The latest action by the ACCC has led to Revtech Media, the company behind power discount website One Big Switch, paying penalties of $25,200 for alleged “false and misleading” representations on energy prices.

The watchdog already has taken legal action against the retailer involved in One Big Switch, Click Energy, over a separate but more serious matter, with the case to be argued in the Federal Court.

Mr Sims said that in the Revtech Media case, customers that switched could have been better off but with smaller savings than advertised. But in the Click Energy case, customers that switched “had a reasonable chance of being worse off”.

Meanwhile, Alinta released a Deloitte report it commissioned that found customers in south-east Queensland could save up to $365 a year on their power bills by signing up with Alinta’s plan that includes a 25 per cent pay-on-time discount. It found that since Alinta entered the Queensland market in August 2017, other retailers had responded by almost doubling their discounts to an average of more than 15 per cent.

Alinta announced a further reduction in average tariffs in Queensland of 1.6 per cent from August 2, with chief executive Jeff Dimery saying the cut “should lighten the load even more for our customers”.

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UK weather forecast: Met Office warns people to ‘stay out of sun’ until weekend, with hottest day of decade possible

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UK weather forecast: Met Office warns people to ‘stay out of sun’ until weekend, with hottest day of decade possible

People are being warned to stay out the sun between now and the weekend, as forecasters said the UK’s hottest day of the decade could be on its way.

The Met Office issued an amber heatwave warning, advising people to stay in the shade, keep homes cool and shut windows during the day throughout the week.

“There is a 90 per cent probability of heatwave conditions between 9am on Monday and 9am on Friday,” it said in a statement, adding that southern and eastern parts of England were most likely to be effected.

The mercury may top 34.5C on Monday, Thursday and Friday, Met Office meteorologists say – which would beat both last year’s and 2016’s records highs.

But there is also an outside chance the warmest temperature registered this decade – 36.7C at Heathrow in July 2015 – could be put in the shade.

“There will be highs of 32C in the south east and East Anglia today with a chance of some areas reaching above 33C and 34C,” said forecaster Craig Snell. “But then, after fresher days on Tuesday and Wednesday, we certainly expect to get above 34.5C somewhere in the south east of England by Thursday and Friday.”

Asked if we could expect the hottest day of the decade, Mr Snell said: “There is a chance but it is a very low chance.”

Most places will stay dry and humid throughout the week, he added, although there may be isolated showers in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

And after a slightly cooler weekend, when temperatures will dip into the high 20s, the bake will be back next week.

“It will stay warm but fresh over the weekend but the heat will then return next week with the east of the country in particular experiencing temperatures once again in the early 30s by Wednesday,” he said.

He forecast that the fine weather will remain into mid-August, although with possible occasional thunderstorms.

The warm weather is being pushed up from the equator and southern Europe by an Atlantic air front with the UK not the only country experiencing the heatwave. In the Netherlands and Belgium, the mercury is expected to reach a potential 39C this week.

Last year’s hottest UK temperatures was 34.5C recorded at Heathrow on 21 June. In 2016, it was 34.4C in Gravesend in September.

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‘The most difficult letter I have ever had to write’: Read what Fiat Chrysler’s president told employees about CEO Sergio Marchionne being replaced

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‘The most difficult letter I have ever had to write’: Read what Fiat Chrysler’s president told employees about CEO Sergio Marchionne being replaced

On Saturday, Fiat Chrysler abruptly replaced CEO Sergio Marchionne after nearly a decade at the helm, based on his worsening health.

The company has been notably reticent with details about Marchionne’s condition, but his health appeared to worsen after undergoing shoulder surgery approximately three week ago. The Italian-born 66-year old, who led the company out of its government bailout into an impressive era of prosperity, will also step down from his dual role as CEO of Ferrari, the race car manufacturer spun off from Fiat more than 2 years ago.

The move to replace Marchionne came just days before Fiat Chrysler is scheduled to report second quarter earnings. In an emotional letter, company president John Elkann hailed Marchionne’s tenure, sought to reassure employees about the future, and rally them around newly appointed CEO Mike Manley. The jeep executive will usher Fiat Chrysler into its new era.

Below is the full text of the communication Elkann sent to staffers, obtained by CNBC on Sunday:

Dear Colleagues,

This is without a doubt the most difficult letter I’ve ever had to write.

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that our CEO Sergio Marchionne, who recently underwent surgery, unfortunately experienced complications that have worsened in recent hours and will prevent his return to FCA.

For the last 14 years, first at Fiat, then at Chrysler, and finally at FCA, Sergio has been the best CEO that anyone could ask for and, to me personally, a true mentor, partner and close friend.

We met at one of the darkest moments for our company and it was his intellect, perseverance and leadership that saved Fiat. He also achieved a remarkable turnaround at Chrysler and, through his courage in forging the cultural integration of the two companies, he established the foundations for a more secure and brighter future for us to take forward. For what Sergio has been able to accomplish, turning the impossible into the possible, we will be forever grateful.

But as he himself has said more than once, “The true value of a leader is not measured by what he has gained during his career but rather by what he has given. It is not what you accomplish today, but the legacy you will leave behind.”

Since the first evening we spent together, when we talked about the possibility of him taking the helm at Fiat, what really stood out to me, beyond his exceptional and extraordinary professional ability, were his human qualities. I saw these qualities in his eyes, in his demeanor, in the way he dealt with those around him.

He taught us to have the courage to challenge the status quo, to break with convention and go beyond the tried and tested. He has always pushed everybody to learn, to grow and to excel – often beyond their own limits – starting always with himself. The legacy he leaves with us speaks to what really mattered to him: the pursuit of excellence, the idea that there is always a better way.

His lessons, his impulse never to accept the status quo, never to be satisfied with good enough have become a core part of our culture within FCA: continually setting high standards and never settling for mediocrity.

Sergio’s definition of a leader is truer today than ever. What really matters is the kind of culture he leaves behind. The best way to judge a leader is by what the organization does after him.

This is yet another example of the true, rare kind of leader Sergio was.

We started years ago working on a succession plan that would ensure continuity and preserve the unique culture embedded in FCA.

With that plan already established, we are now moving ahead with the process and today the Board of Directors has named Mike Manley as the new CEO of FCA.

Mike has been one of the major contributors to FCA’s success and he has a remarkable track record of accomplishments.

Under his leadership, the Jeep brand has gone through a profound transformation and an unprecedented period of development, from a few hundred thousand units a year to several years of record sales, passing the million-vehicle mark in each of the past four years, becoming not only one of the fastest growing brands in the world but also the most profitable in the company.

Mike has held roles of increasing responsibility over the years, accumulating extensive leadership experience across all of our operating regions globally, achieving remarkable results in every position and always demonstrating determination in achieving his vision.

I am sure you will all provide your full support to Mike, so that we can work with him and the leadership team to execute our 2018-22 business plan with the same commitment and integrity that have already carried us so far.

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ATO targets ‘rubber stamp’ directors in residency crackdown

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ATO targets ‘rubber stamp’ directors in residency crackdown

Foreign directors who “rubber stamp” documents could trigger Australian tax residency, and the accompanying “significant tax bills”, under changes to decade-old tax laws.

Experts warn that changes to the rules on corporate residency mean overseas directors need to be informed about governance matters to avoid the company being deemed Australian-controlled.

The latest ruling on the central management and control test of corporate residency, released last month, has recast rules used since 2004.

The new test says if a company makes high-level decisions about policies, transactions and the direction of operations in Australia it will be considered to conduct business in Australia, whether it carries out business in the country or not. Managing and controlling a business in Australia is considered part of running the business.

Experts say the ATO's new guidance could be problematic for companies with overseas operations and directors.
Experts say the ATO’s new guidance could be problematic for companies with overseas operations and directors.

Louie Douvis

Pitcher Partners executive director for tax consulting Denise Honey described the changes to corporate residency rules as part of an increased focus by the ATO, expecting it would see material consequences for individual taxpayers and the government.

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“The ATO is certainly taking a stricter view than they have taken in their previous ruling and they’ve very much announced that its going to be an increased area of focus going forward,” Ms Honey said.

“I think because the ATO have been a bit stricter in recent years, it was difficult for taxpayers to know how to navigate those waters.

“The ATO are to be commended for issuing this guidance and giving taxpayers a better chance of doing the right thing.”

Informed decisions

Ms Honey said overseas directors who were not as involved in the daily management of companies as their domestic peers would need to familiarise themselves sufficiently to make informed decisions to avoid being deemed Australian-controlled.

“I think the days of sending off documents and then having them rubber stamped are well and truly over and the ATO have been very clear about that,” she said.

“Taxpayers need to make sure any directors in their corporate group are really well informed about the decisions they’re making, otherwise the ATO is saying they’re not really being a director and probably someone else controls it and that person could be in Australia.

“That makes it an Australian resident business.”

She praised the new guidance for providing helpful examples for companies seeking to navigate the changes, but warned detailed records and documentation of decisions would be required as part of compliance.

“The worst outcome for taxpayers is you assume that you’re resident, but in fact you’re non-resident, or the reverse. You then act in accordance with that and you do your compliance on that basis, but if that first fundamental assumption is wrong, then probably every other bit of tax analysis is wrong,” she said.

Significant tax bills

“I think that may well be where taxpayers who have assumed incorrectly that they’re non-resident and have been merrily going off as if they’re not Australian resident may find themselves hit with significant tax bills.”

Some experts said the changes to the treatment of dividends of foreign incorporated companies raised the risk of double tax, while some parts of dual resident companies could be split across jurisdictions and not fully comply with the law.

Deloitte tax partners said uncertainty could exist between the new central management rules and so-called “place of effective management” provisions already in place, and suggested companies could shift between Australian residency and overseas jurisdictions.

Deloitte said outbound foreign operating companies linked to Australian businesses and some foreign intermediates and holding companies would be impacted by the new approach, including through more difficult compliance measures.

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Worcester acid attack: Three men arrested in London on suspicion of targeting three-year-old boy

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Worcester acid attack: Three men arrested in London on suspicion of targeting three-year-old boy

Three men have been arrested in London over a suspected acid attack on a three-year-old boy in Worcester.

Police said the suspects, aged 22, 25 and 26 were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

The toddler was in a pushchair in a shop with his family when a corrosive substance was “thrown or sprayed over him” on Saturday afternoon, according to West Mercia Police.

He was treated in hospital for serious burns to his face and one arm before being released on Sunday afternoon.

Police said the long-term implications of his injuries are “uncertain”.

A 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton arrested on Sunday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm remains in custody, the force said.

Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss described the attack as “absolutely pure evil”.

Meanwhile, Worcester MP Robin Walker said the attack was “horrific”, and the “shock will be universal”.

Police are continuing to appeal for information over the suspected attack at Home Bargains in Tallow Hill.

Detective Inspector Tony Garner said: “We’d like to thank everyone who shared our appeal over the weekend and contacted us with information; all of this is helping us to build up a better picture of this incident.

“We’re continuing to urge anyone else with information to contact us.”

Anyone with information that could help police with their enquiries was asked to call 101 quoting incident 442s of 21 July 2018, or information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

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Trump warns Iran’s President Rouhani: ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN’

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Trump warns Iran’s President Rouhani: ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN’

President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC.










Getty Images

President Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened his Iranian counterpart in a late Sunday evening Twitter post:

Trump tweet: To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

The tweet from the president follows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioning the American leader on Sunday about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying: “War with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

Still, he did not rule out peace between the two countries.

“You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Rouhani said, in an apparent reference to reports of efforts by Washington to destabilize Iran’s Islamic government.

Ahead of Trump’s Twitter-posted threat, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a rhetorical assault on Iran’s leaders on Sunday, comparing them to a “mafia” and promising unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government.

Pompeo, in a California speech to a largely Iranian-American audience, dismissed Iranian Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who negotiated a nuclear deal with the United States and five other countries, as “merely polished front men for the ayatollahs’ international con artistry.”

Trump withdrew in May from the 2015 nuclear accord designed to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

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Bell Potter trader Damien Rodr accused of ‘taking the hit’ for Poidevin

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Bell Potter trader Damien Rodr accused of ‘taking the hit’ for Poidevin

Bell Potter trader Damien Rodr changed his evidence at the eleventh hour after caving into pressure from Bell Potter managing director and former Wallabies captain Simon Poidevin and threw himself under the bus, the corporate regulator alleges.

In the closing submission on Monday, Norman O’Bryan, SC, representing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, said Mr Rodr “succumbed” to the pressure placed on him by Mr Poidevin and decided to incriminate himself.

“He’s jumped under the bus to take the hit for Poidevin,” Mr O’Bryan said.

Both Mr Rodr and Mr Poidevin are challenging the corporate regulator’s financial services licence ban after the regulator found they engaged in market manipulation of the share price of fintech company DirectMoney.

Bell Potter trader Damien Rodr.
Bell Potter trader Damien Rodr.

James Alcock

A crucial piece of evidence in this case was a recorded telephone call between Mr Rodr and Hong Kong-based director of institutional broking Dan Kirton on July 14, 2015.

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Incredible turn of events

In that conversation, when Mr Kirton says: “F—, another shit day for DM1”, Mr Rodr replies: “I was trying to … keep some in the tin … under my volume, but Poido [Mr Poidevin] kept ringing when they were 13-and-a-half, he wanted me to get them back up to 14 and stuff like that.”

The telephone call took place the day after DirectMoney debuted on the ASX and closed at 17.5¢, below the offer price of 20¢.

The next day, Bell Potter decided to invest $200,000 of its own money into DirectMoney and directed Mr Rodr to buy the stock over the following week, but without buying more than 20 per cent of the trading volume in any given day.

In what Mr O’Bryan described as an “incredible” turn of events, Mr Rodr told the tribunal earlier this month he decided to lie to Mr Kirton about being pressured by Mr Poidevin because that’s what “he [Mr Kirton] wanted to hear”.

Memory clarified

However, Mr O’Bryan said Mr Rodr’s evidence, given three years after the conversation took place, was not credible.

“At the very end of this case his memory has suddenly clarified … he can now remember,” he said.

He said Mr Rodr’s evidence showed many of the characteristics of market manipulation, including the fact he made small, multiple transactions designed to cause upticks in the share price.

However, Mr Poidevin’s barrister said there was “strong, compelling” evidence of Mr Poidevin’s attitude towards manipulative trading when on the day of the float Mr Poidevin resisted pressure from Mr Kirton to use Bell Potter’s own money to prop up the share price.

Way of getting rid of Kirton

The tribunal heard earlier this month Mr Kirton, asked whether there was a facility at Bell Potter to “make it [the DirectMoney share price] close at f—ing 20” cents.

“Surely we can go f—ing $20,000 worth of stocks to close at the issue price,” Mr Kirton said, to which Mr Poidevin replied: “No, but we are allowed to support the aftermarket.”

Mr Poidevin told the tribunal he was “taken aback” by Mr Kirton’s suggestion and considered it naive, reckless and contrary to the general culture at Bell Potter.

Mr Rodr’s barrister said his client blaming Mr Poidevin was an “effective way of getting rid of Mr Kirton” and denied his evidence was an invention made up in the witness box.

Bell Potter settled the case without admission of guilt or liability.

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