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Panama Papers fallout; ICE gets LSE bid backing; Italy eyes NPLs


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Panama Papers fallout; ICE gets LSE bid backing; Italy eyes NPLs

EC faces pressure ontax avoidance law: A proposed EU law on tax avoidance came under renewedattack from anti-corruption activists and lawmakers after the Panama Papersleaks, Reuters writes.The European Commission, which is due to present the draft next week, facesmounting pressure to amend the proposal to expand its coverage. Advocacy groupOxfam said the existing draft makes it wonder whether the EC indeed wants toput an end to tax evasion.

* The European Securities and Markets Authority saidit sees no need to temporarily exclude exchange-traded derivatives fromnondiscriminatory access to central counterparties and trading venues, as suchopen access does not create undue risks to the overall stability and orderlyfunctioning of European financial markets. The finding marks a victory forNasdaq Inc.,ICAP Plc andLondon Stock Exchange GroupPlc, which all sought open access for ETDs, Reuters notes.

* Data from Aon Benfield showedyesterday that total global reinsurance capital stood at $565 billion at2015-end, down 2% from a year earlier. Traditional reinsurance capital declined4% year over year to $493 billion, while alternative capital rose 12% on ayearly basis to $72 billion.


ICE getsbacking for LSE bid: A group of American and Asian banks agreed to help financeIntercontinental ExchangeInc.'s £10 billion offer for London Stock Exchange Group Plc, Sky News reports.Insiders said more lenders could be added to the syndicate in the coming weeksas the New York stock exchange operator finalizes the terms of its proposal.

* Five former Barclays Plc traders accused of conspiring to manipulateLIBOR yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charges, Bloomberg News reports.The plea was entered ahead of their U.K. trial, which is due to start this weekand last up to four months.

* SchrodersPlc acquired for an undisclosed amount a 25% stake in NEOS BusinessFinance, a Dutch direct lending company, Reuters reports.As part of the deal, NEOS will provide investment advisory services to the U.K.asset manager for its funds providing financing to small and medium-sizedenterprises.

* JRP Group, the company formed from the all-share merger ofJust Retirement GroupPlc and PartnershipAssurance Group Plc began trading on the London stock exchangeyesterday, The Daily Telegraph notes.The Financial Times' FT Adviser saysshares in the enlarged entity, which began trading with a market cap of £1.4billion and AUM of more than £15 billion, fell to 148 pence from an openingprice of 153 pence.

* Chris Moulder, director of general insurance at the Bankof England, called on insurers to examine their capital levels as premium ratesin several lines are expected to continue to fall in 2016, Reuters reports.Moulder said boards must be "relentlessly inquisitive" inunderstanding and challenging underwriting controls.


Many Germanbanks feature in Panama Papers: Among the approximately 500 banks involvedin deals with shell companies arranged via Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonsecais allegedly a large number of German banks, accordingto Handelsblatt. "Ifyou would ask me which German banks did not help clients to get in contact withMossack Fonseca, I would need to think a while until one would come to mymind," said Georg Mascolo, head of the International Consortium ofInvestigative Journalists in Germany.

* Deutsche BankAG said it helped clients by brokering "offshoreservices" and said it will now improve its internal controls whenaccepting new clients, Handelsblatt writesseparately, adding that Commerzbank AG was fined €17 million for controversialoffshore deals in Panama and Luxembourg last year, and that and also paid millions ofeuros to settle similar cases in the past.

* Austria's financial supervisory authority launched a probeinto whether Raiffeisen BankInternational AG and Hypo Landesbank Vorarlberg observed the rules on theprevention of money-laundering activities, DerStandard and DiePresse write. Hypo Vorarlberg said it will completely retreatfrom the offshore banking business. The Swiss financial market supervisor alsolaunched an investigation into the role of Swiss banks in the Panama scandal,the Tagesanzeiger writes.

* CreditSuisse Group AG CEO Tidjane Thiam, meanwhile, said the bank"only encourages the use of [offshore] structures when there is alegitimate economic purpose," Reuters notes.

* Thiam also said Credit Suisse will increase its wealthmanagement and private banking capabilities in China as it shifts its growthfocus toward Asia-Pacific, Reuters reports.

* The newly released EuropeanBanking Barometer by consulting firm EY reveals that 61% of 72German banks surveyed and 60% of 10 Austrian banks polled expect headcount todecline in the coming 12 months as pessimism in the industry grows and profitsremain subdued, Die Presse notes.


Delta Lloydresponds to Highfields: DeltaLloyd NV saidyesterday in response to queries from Highfields Capital Management LP that its agreement withFubon Life Insurance Co.Ltd. to support the Dutch insurer's capital increase was free fromany "fees or other 'goodies.'" It also said CEO Hans van derNoordaa's decision to travel to Taiwan to meet with Fubon was made before anEnterprise Chamber hearing over Highfields' objection to the rights issue andthat the two firms had been in talks over various topics for over a year.

* SociétéGénérale SA confirmed yesterday that it wants to cut 125 jobs inits investment banking unit, according to L'Agefi. Ninety jobs will go in thebank's market activities in France and 35 will be cut at Lyxor, SocGen's assetmanagement subsidiary, in the middle office and support functions. Les Echos also reports.

* The French government opened a preliminary investigationinto tax fraud in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, with President FrançoisHollande vowing punishment for tax evaders, Reuters says.SocGen, identified as among the biggest users of law firm Mossack Fonseca, saidit abides by all relevant national rules.

* AXA yesterday completedthe acquisition of Charter Ping An Insurance, the fifth-largest general insurerin Philippines for €40 million, Les Echosnotes.The deal was announced in November 2015.

* RabobankGroup saidyesterday that it received regulatory approval for and confirmed theappointment of Petra van Hoeken to serve as chief risk officer and a member ofthe executive board.

* Dutch consumer financial products watchdog Kifid ruledyesterday that AchmeaBV's StaalbankiersNV must pay a customer interest on a variable-rate mortgage peggedto Swiss franc LIBOR, Reutersand HetFinancieele Dagblad write. Achmea had said the customer would have to payno interest on the loan, pegged at Swiss franc LIBOR plus 0.7%, after thebenchmark fell below negative 1%, but the watchdog said the customer shouldreceive a payment.

* Under a new draft bill, the French public prosecutor andbanking regulator AMF will be forced to liaise with each other to deal withmarket abuses, accordingto Les Echos.


Italian centralbank requests NPL data: Italy's central bank has asked for new data fromlenders on nonperforming loans, including information on guarantees backingthese assets and their state of collection, as it aims to facilitate thedevelopment of the NPL market and improve banks' management of bad loans, MF reports.

* U.S. fund Apollo has indicated that it is willing tonegotiate on the price it is offering for the nonperforming loans of , as thelender's new board began a preliminary examination of Apollo's bid for theseassets and for a majority stake in Carige itself, MF writes.

* Julius BärGruppe AG completeda deal to acquire a further 60.1% stake in Italian wealth manager Kairos for€276 million, bringing its total holding to 80%, Reuters notes.Julius Bär said in November 2015 that it would list Kairos shares on the Milanstock exchange after increasing its own stake.

* Italian stock market regulator Consob could ask tointegrate the prospectus for its planned €1.75 billion capital increase andstock market listing with first-quarter results, which would delay its IPO by afew months, Il Sole 24 Ore writes. Meanwhile, the newspapernotes that UniCreditSpA, which is underwriting Popolare di Vicenza's capital increase,is also studying the possibility of a delay.

* Fourteen asset managers, including and ,hired Clifford Chance to launch a suit against Portugal's central bank inconnection with the transfer back to Banco Espírito Santo of certain bonds, the Financial Times reports.The firms accuse the central bank of breaching key principles and demand thattheir holdings be restored.

* The board of Banco BPI SA plans to propose an amendment to a statute limitingthe age of executives that could allow Fernando Ulrich to stay on as CEO, Jornal de Negocios reports.Diario Economico saysthe April 28 meeting will also consider a proposal for a €500 million capitalincrease, and notesthat the bank is nearing the ECB's April 10 deadline to reduce its Angolaexposure. The paper says that should BPI fail to do so, it faces a penalty of€160,000 a day.

* Moody's placed Catalunya Banc SA's ratings under review for possibleupgrade after Banco BilbaoVizcaya Argentaria SA's announcement that it would merge CatalunyaBanc, of which its holds 98.4%, into its group, Expansión notes.

* RCB BankLtd. described as "unfounded" and "duly refuted asuntrue" claims that it provided unsecured loans, Reuters reports.The lender was said to be among banks that allegedly provided unsecured loansto entities linked to individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Panama papersfallout: Nordea BankAB is to drop all cooperation with the Panamanian law firm MossackFonseca, public broadcaster SVT reports.CEO Casper von Koskull said Nordea "must not cooperate with MossackFonseca any longer. Not at all," after the company allegedly assisted withaccess to offshore tax havens. Nordea has also started investigating whatexactly the bank has done in connection with the scandal, to find out if it hasbroken the law and who is to blame, Von Koskull said.

* Several of Nordea's major shareholders demanded answersfrom the bank over its involvement in the Panama Papers scandal, Børsen says.In addition, the Swedish FSA will expand its monitoring of Nordea after therevelations, Affärsvärlden notes.The FSA is already monitoring the bank after it was fined 50 million Swedishkronor last year over shortcomings in its control routines for money laundering.

* In Norway, DNB ASA was warned by then-Finance Minister KristinHalvorsen as early as 2007 about its facilitation services for customers whowanted to keep their money abroad, DagensNæringsliv reports.Halvorsen said she is very surprised that DNB continued with the tailor-madesolutions for the banking group's wealthiest clients despite this warning.Norway's FSA will request a report from DNB about the Panama Papers scandal andthe bank's role in it.

* And in Denmark, Jyske Bank A/S created as many as 2,000 companies in taxhavens for its richest customers, Politikenreports.Jyske Bank denied any knowledge of this and has said it demands documentationfrom all customers to prove tax compliance.

* Danish entrepreneur and billionaire Henrik Østenkjær Lindis no longer a major shareholder in Østjydsk Bank A/S, Finanswatch notes. The Copenhagenstock exchange received a notification from Lind that he now owns less 5% ofthe bank.


Deutsche toadvise on NLB sale: Slovenia's SDH state holding company selected DeutscheBank to provide advisory services on the sale of , SEE News notes.The bank will be required in the initial stage to prepare a feasibility studybased on which SDH will decide whether to propose that the government amend theState Assets Management Strategy regarding the sale of NLB shares.

* PJSCSovcombank and CommercialBank Uniastrum Bank LLC are interested in acquiring Russian lenderCredit Europe Bank, Vedomosti reports.The bank completed the collection of bids from potential investors at the endof March and will select a buyer in a tender. The new owner could be identifiedat the end of May.

* Russia's economy ministry selected VTB Capital, SberbankCIB and Renaissance Broker to organize respective sales of state stakes inBashneft, Alrosa and PAO VTBBank, RBK Daily writes.

* The Russian Deposit Insurance Agency spent a total of486.6 billion Russian rubles in 2015 on financing recovery programs for locallenders, up 27% compared with 2014, Kommersantsays. Vedomosti notesthat the Russian central bank revoked 77 banking licenses in 2015, with almosthalf the affected lenders providing false data on the value of deposits.

* Polish online broker X-Trade Brokers is eyeing a WarsawStock Exchange debut this quarter, planning to offer a 14% stake of existingshares put up for sale by one of its founders, Reuters reports.The company has been valued at 1.8 billion zlotys to 2.3 billion zlotys, withthe stake to be sold valued at up to 330 million zlotys.

* Czech postal operator Ceská pošta will not set up its ownbank but will look for a new partner to provide banking and insurance servicesas of next year, after its existing contract with expires, CTK reports.

* The Ukrainian central bank could soon put underprovisional administration, reports,adding that the lender recently introduced temporary limits on cash withdrawalsin branches and ATMs.


* Moody's said it expects first-quarter results from several U.S. banksto be free from "misleading gains and losses" on debt measured atfair value, also called "own credit," reducing distortions inearnings reports.

* ASEAN finance officials agreed to recognize two qualified ASEANbanks in the next three years, The Nikkeireports.The time frame also calls for its 10 member countries to share bond marketdisclosures and a framework for retail investors to buy government bonds by2025.

* Global banks have either ceased all lending to large Braziliancorporations or are asking for U.S. dollar-denominated collateral, BloombergNews reports.No Brazilian firm has received a syndicated loan so far in 2016, compared with$12 billion of such loans in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

* Moody's took various ratings actions on Mexican financial institutions following thechange of the outlook on Mexico's A3 government bond rating to negative.


Banks named in PanamaPapers, but it's just the tip of the offshore iceberg: Papersleaked from just one law firm in Panama have exposed how banks helped the richand powerful channel cash into offshore companies. But it's just the tip of theiceberg.

Jolted Co-op Banklooking at 2 more years of losses: More pain is on the way for theCo-op Bank but its aim to turn a profit by 2018 sounds realistic, an analystsaid.

IMF leak sparksGreece furor: IMF head Christine Lagarde wrote a stiff letter toGreek PM Alexis Tsipras denying using "a credit event as a negotiatingtactic."

Panama Papers: Thereaction: Following the leak of more than 11.5 million documentsfrom Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca detailing the use of tax havens,S&P Global Market Intelligence rounds up reaction from banks and regulatorsto the so-called Panama Papers.

Rich Lovie, ArnoMaierbrugger, Stephanie Salti, Praxilla Trabattoni, Heather O'Brian, BeataFojcik, Kees Pijnappels, Esben Svendsen, Thanasis Kakalis, Helen Popper and AliKayalar contributed to this report.

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