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Corporate Management

In 2015, a news report said that the flooring products of a listed company, "Lumber Liquidators," contained dangerously high levels of Formaldehyde. The company issued a denial and filed it with the SEC. That denial was untrue.

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A report in the New Straits Times last week said that the company's CEO, Datuk Seri Azman Mohd, had been "asked to resign" and a deadline given of Friday las week. Amongst those surprised by the "news" is Tenaga National Berhad, TNB, the national power company.

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The European Union is very good at one thing: being excessively bureaucratic and prescriptive. There's a powerful reason for this: most countries in the EU have grown up with the Roman system of law which mutated into the civil legal system and that relies, heavily, on codification. It also means that laws are inflexible and cannot easily respond to changes in society and that fetters the ability of judges to maintain a living justice system. And yet, on the other hand, it uses vague, even sloppy, language to announce what it going to do. A marketing pitch that says "Whistleblower (sic) protection: Commission sets new, EU-wide rules" is misleading - the protection of whistle-blowers is only part of the proposal (no rules were actually set). The proposed Directive will mean big changes for all but the smallest businesses.

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Australia's ASIC is warning companies that they have until only 27 September to file a new set of data.

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So, it's simple: you attach an electronic signature to an electronic document and off it wings by e-mail. Job done, right? Apparently "some businesses are still unsure if electronic signatures would satisfy legal requirements," says The Law Commission. But instead of just saying "of course, in the absence of fraud or some other frustrating or negating matter, that's a validly executed document" the Law Commission has produced "proposals." So, not simple at all, then.

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There's bound to be some head-scratching going on after the announcement of a cartel case relating to blood and body tissue. Before the "yuk" factor makes you turn the page, we should explain: it's all about stem cell preservation.

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A press release from the USA's Inland Revenue Service is headed "Many corporations will pay a blended federal income tax." For heaven's sake: what sounds like something special is nothing of the kind and is an example of buzzword-mania when simplicity would better serve the audience. It's time that government departments stopped trying to sound trendy and just said what they need to say.

Here's what the IRS needed to say.

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In recent weeks, largely because members of the media are concerned so the whole industry is in a bit of a tizz, there has been much made of the BBC's policy of requiring some people working there to work on contract, where the contract is between the BBC and a company owned and controlled by the contractor. There are perfectly good reasons why employers want such an arrangement but Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have taken the view that this is a scheme designed to reduce personal income tax, especially where the contractor operated through an offshore company (often not in his or her own name). Now the whole situation has become even more confused as HMRC has lost a case that seemed like a sure-fire win.

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For the avoidance of doubt, the demise of Carillion does not appear to actually be a Ponzi scheme.

But there are similarities between the classic Ponzi and how Carillion was functioning.

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