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The tax affairs of football manager Jose Mourinho should be investigated by British officials following allegations he used off-shore companies to reduce his tax bill, a UK MP has said.
Mourinho is accused of moving millions of pounds of earnings to the British Virgin Islands to avoid paying tax.
The Manchester United manager's agent said the allegations were "unfounded".
Public accounts committee chairwoman Meg Hillier told the Sunday Times the claims required "close examination".
Further claims about the tax affairs of Mourinho - as well as other top international football stars - have been made in the Sunday Times and other European newspapers.
The publications acquired leaked documents from the website Football Leaks, following a cyber attack on football agents earlier this year.
Mourinho has been accused of using "a complex web of off-shore companies" to avoid paying tax in the UK and Spain.
The allegations surround his time as manager of UK side Chelsea, between 2004 and 2007, and Spanish club Real Madrid, between 2010 and 2013.
Panama Papers explained
According to the reports, Portuguese-born Mourinho, 53, placed £10m (€12m) into a Swiss account owned by a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm.
The newspaper claims Mourinho and his advisers deducted substantial costs for a BVI company - which it suggests has no employees.
The Sunday Times says Mourinho - as well as Real Madrid star Christiano Ronaldo - also used bank accounts and companies in Ireland, Switzerland and New Zealand to process substantial earnings for their image rights.
However, Jorge Mendes - the agent for both Mourinho and ex-Manchester United player Ronaldo - denies the claim.
He says both men were fully compliant with UK and Spanish tax rules.
The statement added that the allegations stemmed from a cyber attack earlier this year on some sports agents, details of which were prohibited by a Spanish court from being published.
The head of HMRC will appear before Ms Hillier's committee - which is responsible for overseeing government expenditure - this week.
The Labour MP told the BBC: "I think it is really important that the tax authorities take a really close look at what's gone on and we will be raising this with them on Wednesday."
She said the allegations would be "galling" for football fans who buy season tickets and spend a lot of their disposable income on watching games.
"On Wednesday, we are already examining HMRC on how they deal with high net-worth individuals and it is clear that there are issues there about the resource they have got and how they go about dealing with people with very large amounts of wealth," she said.
The allegations surrounding Mourinho and Ronaldo are based on two terabytes of leaked information which allegedly includes original contracts.
The claims were published by an international consortium of journalists - including German newspaper Der Spiegel, Spain's El Mundo and the UK's Sunday Times - which obtained a trove of about 18m documents.
Other top players were also named in the documents.
The consortium says it intends to publish a series of articles under the banner "Football Leaks" over the next few weeks.
It comes eight months after the so-called Panama Papers lifted the lid on how the world's rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.
Real Madrid, Ronaldo's current employer, did not respond to requests from news agencies for comment.
Manchester United said the allegations related to events before Mourinho's arrival at the club and so it would not comment.
One of the papers in the consortium, the Dutch NRC, alleges that Ronaldo moved €63.5m (£53.1m, $67.7m) to the British Virgin Islands at the end of 2014.
The paper says the striker received sponsorship fees which were moved via two Irish companies to the tax haven, 11 days before Spain changed an advantageous tax law.
According to the reports, Friday's first batch of leaks centred on "a system" put in place by Mr Mendes, whose company has denied any wrongdoing.
His company, Gestifute, said in a statement that neither Ronaldo nor Mourinho "have been implicated in legal proceedings of the tax evasion commission in Spain".
The company accused the media consortium of operating in an "insidious" way concerning the stars' tax obligations.
A court in Smolensk, north-west Russia, has frozen 9.3 billion rubles ($145 million) from the bank accounts of Swedish furniture giant IKEA.
The seizure this month is just the latest round in a decade-long dispute between the company and one of its previous business partners, Konstantin Ponomaryov.
The Smolensk court ruled in favour of Ponomaryov, who has been trying to recover 9.3 billion rubles in what he says are unpaid fees from IKEA’s operations in Russia.
The ruling forbids Russia’s Federal Tax Service from registering any reorganizations or mergers of the company. The order is likely to prevent IKEA’s Russian subsidiary from ignoring the ruling.
IKEA has said it considers the court’s decision “unfounded and illegal.”
“We are already disputing [the ruling],” the Swedish company’s press service told the RBC news site Friday, adding that Ponomaryov’s actions amounted to a form of extortion through the courts.
IKEA’s lawyer Viktor Stepanov accused Ponomaryov of operating a scheme in which the company’s money will “immediately be removed from Russia into an offshore account.”
IKEA and Ponomaryov have a long and acrimonious history. From 2006 to 2010, the two parties were locked in a payment dispute over electrical generators for IKEA’s St. Petersburg stores. In 2008, Ponomaryov accused IKEA of ceasing to pay rent for the generators. IKEA agreed to pay Ponomaryov 25 billion rubles ($390 million) two years late.
Ponomaryov launched a new case against the company in August 2016.
IKEA has rented generators for its Russian stores ever since local authorities abruptly shut off electricity to their inaugural Moscow store shortly before its opening.
NHK has learned that Japanese and Chinese telecom giants, Softbank and Huawei, will jointly develop a communication system for self-driving vehicles.
Sources say the 2 companies agreed to develop a system for data exchange involving vehicles and transport infrastructure. Huawei is the third largest smartphone maker in the world.
The system will utilize next-generation mobile networks called 5G. A venture firm that originated at the University of Tokyo will also take part in the project.
Softbank and Huawei plan to develop technologies, including one to stop vehicles by remote control as well as exclusive frequency bands for auto-driving.
Softbank is the first major Japanese telecom firm to join hands with a multinational in this field.
In April, Softbank set up a company dedicated to the development of self-driving. It plans to expand tie-ups with other companies.
US IT giant Google and other companies have been developing self-driving technology. A number of auto firms are also working to commercialize the technology.
China has called on the United States to drop the approach it uses to calculate anti-dumping measures against Chinese exports, Reuters reported. The appeal comes as China’s 15-year WTO membership agreement expires on December 11.
Washington should stop using its own market economy assessment to deny China's "rights," Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told reporters.
"China advises the United States to stop mixing things and escaping its international obligations. China calls for the United States to fully comply with the rule promptly, and push for healthy development of China-US trade relations," the official said.
US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said last month the time was "not ripe" for the United States to change the way it assesses whether China has achieved market economy status. She added there were no international trade rules requiring changes in the way US anti-dumping duties are calculated.
According to Shen, China should enjoy its rights as a WTO member and all other members should fulfill their obligations.
As a condition of joining the WTO, China agreed in 2001 that other WTO members could treat it as a "non-market economy” till the agreement on membership expires. They had the advantage of using a third country's prices to gauge whether China was selling its goods below market value.
As the deadline draws near, some WTO members are disputing the automatic recognition of China as a market economy.
Washington warned China in July that it had not done enough to qualify for market economy status, especially in the steel and aluminum industries.
The Chinese envoy at the WTO reportedly said the ending of the agreement would eliminate the legal basis for countries to continue using "discriminatory anti-dumping methodology" against China.
Low Chinese export prices have become a stumbling block in trade relations with the US, the EU, and the WTO countries. They are accusing China of unfair trade practices in overseas markets such as dumping products at low prices. Steel producers complained that China was distorting the global market by exporting excess aluminum and steel.
Last month, the US Commerce Department began a formal investigation into Chinese steel companies accusing them of shipping steel through Vietnam to avoid US import tariffs.
A top Mongolian rapper was beaten into a coma by a Russian diplomat after wearing a swastika on stage, his lawyer and family have claimed.
Amarmandakh Sukhbaatar was performing in the country's capital Ulan Bator when the alleged attack took place.
Russian news reports said he was hit over the head with a bottle and repeatedly kicked in the face.
The Russian embassy said it was investigating, but called local press reports "distorted".
The rapper had taken to the stage in a red deel - a Mongolian robe - embroidered with a swastika.
Though associated with the Nazis, the swastika is a traditional symbol in Mongolia that pre-dates Hitler.
Reclaiming the swastika
Mr Sukhbaatar's father, Sevjidiin Sukhbaatar, told a news conference that his son spent about 10 days in a coma after the beating.
"My son was hit in the face several times with a metal object and was seriously injured. His brain was seriously hurt," he said.
Mr Sukhbaatar displayed a book of traditional swastika patterns to emphasise that it is not a hate symbol in his country.
The Russian official accused of attacking the rapper has not been identified.
In a statement, the Russian embassy said it was investigating press and social media reports of the assault.
"According to our preliminary information," it said, the reports were "distorted, particularly about the date, the number of participants and the circumstances of the accident".
Tens of millions of Soviet citizens died fighting the forces of Nazi Germany during World War Two.
Symbol of eternity
The swastika is believed to have originated in India thousands of years ago, and was used in Mongolia as a symbol of eternity centuries before the Third Reich.
Amarmandakh Sukhbaatar - who is known as Amraa and is the lead singer of the band Khar Sarnai [Black Rose] - frequently wears the symbol on stage, and his songs often refer to his country's history, culture and identity.
The swastika is also used by groups on Mongolia's far-right however.
The musician's lawyer, father, and a band member denied reports on social media that he shouted "Heil Hitler" at the show.
Lawyer Gankhuugiin Batbayar said the suspect in the beating had not been arrested, adding: "[He] must be investigated according to Mongolian law, no matter his status or immunity as a diplomat".
A police spokesman told the AFP news agency that the case was under investigation.
"The suspect is a Russian diplomatic officer and the reason he wasn't kept in detention is the injury is not serious," he said.
"It's not true that the suspect wasn't arrested because of diplomatic immunity."
The Swiss government plans to dramatically increase international cooperation on fiscal transparency, sharing private information about clients of the country's banks.
The automatic exchange of information (AEOI) on bank accounts will be spread to 22 more countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Uruguay as well as India and South Africa, according to the Federal Department of Finance.
The move aims to put an end to Switzerland's long-protected banking secrecy practices as well as stopping wealthy foreigners from hiding their undeclared income in the country.
The AEOI system is a global standard introduced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to fight tax evasion. As part of the regulations, all banks are obliged to send client information to national tax authorities with data on foreign residents to be shared with tax authorities in the customers' home countries.
Switzerland has been the focus of debate on black money allegedly stashed by foreign residents behind its strong banking secrecy walls.
Consultations will be held next March with the accords expected to come into force by January 2018 and information exchange to start a year later, according to the statement.
The government says, “This will contribute to strengthening the competitiveness, the credibility, and integrity of Switzerland's financial center.”
Switzerland has already agreed to automatic information exchange agreements with 38 other countries, including all of the EU, Gibraltar, and Australia. Data sharing will start as soon as the next year.
The Swiss parliament is currently contemplating similar pacts with Canada, Japan, South Korea, Iceland, Norway and the British crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
HONG KONG (NewsRise) -- Hong Kong shares erased gains accumulated during the week as renewed concern over outflows amid a further rise in U.S. bond yields overshadowed a rally by energy stocks after Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output.
The Hang Seng Index declined 0.7% for the week as it slid 1.4% to 22,564.82 Friday. The decline wiped not just this week's advance, but also a part of the 1.7% relief rally between Nov. 21 and Nov. 25 that halted a four-week losing streak.
Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sands China, investor darlings and the gauge's best performers this year, fell at least 3.9% on Friday to rank among the worst performers during the week. The losses came amid reports that Macau will require travelers to and from the former Portuguese colony to disclose cash equivalents in excess of $15,000. CNOOC added 3% and PetroChina rallied 2.4% this week following OPEC's agreement to cut members' oil output. Brent crude rallied almost 7% overnight, adding to Wednesday's near 9% jump.
U.S. 10-year yields rose to the highest level since June last year overnight amid soaring crude prices and as manufacturing activity data beat expectations. Nervousness ahead of today's U.S. jobs data also contributed to the rally in yields.
In addition to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls data for November due later Friday, which may further bolster the case for a rise in U.S. borrowing costs in December, European event risk and political uncertainty also kept investors concerned. Italy holds a referendum on constitutional reform and Austrians will vote in a president on Sunday. Also seen as adding to the uncertainty, French President Francois Hollande has said he won't seek a reelection.
"There are lots of good reasons for people to be cautious again," said Andrew Sullivan, managing director for sales trading at Haitong International Securities in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng Index "tested 23,000 yesterday, but was unable to hold or build on that, so it's not unusual for the market to test and see where the support is and where the resistance is."
Regional stocks fell as well, with the Nikkei Asia300 Index dropping 0.9% to 1,043.86.
Over in mainland markets, the Shanghai Composite ended 0.9% lower on Friday for a weekly decline of 0.6%, its worst performance since the end of September, as 10-year bond yields rose above 3%, fueling concerns that liquidity conditions were becoming tighter.
The yuan was poised for its best weekly performance in four months, having strengthened 0.5%, as the central bank stepped up efforts to contain the currency's fall. It was little changed at 6.8826 to a dollar on Friday.
China is expected to release November inflation figures next week, as well as monthly foreign reserves data, which may signal how active the nation's central bank has been in the market as the yuan weakened to eight-year lows.
SHIJIAZHUANG - Huanghua Port in northern Hebei province has become China's largest port for coal transportation, according to a press conference Thursday.
The throughput of the port reached 204 million tons in the first 10 months of the year, a year-on-year growth of 49 percent, Zhao Zhenqing, chairman of the Cangzhou Port Group told the press conference.
With total investment of more than 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion), a sea channel capable of taking 200,000-ton ships, with 33 berths for ships weighing more than 10,000-tons, has been built at the port.
The port launched its first freight train bound for Duisburg, Germany, in June. It also opened its first international direct flight to Southeast Asia in September. So far over 20 ship companies have opened 13 container shipping lines starting from the port.
The rapid development of the port will support the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regional integration and the Belt and Road Initiative, said Zhang Guodong, director of the administration for Bohai New Area in Cangzhou City.
One of China's most popular apps is censoring users' private messages at home and abroad, according to a new report.
WeChat messages containing keywords mentioning sensitive topics such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet or the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong were censored in private and group chats without users' knowledge, according to a report published by Toronto-based Citizen Lab.
"Keyword censorship is no longer transparent," the report said. "In the past, users received notifications when their message was blocked; now censorship of chat messages happens without any user notice."
That censorship extends to users living abroad linked to an account originally registered with a Chinese phone number, even if the user has switched their account to an international number.
Researcher Jason Ng said that censorship is done by phone number because that enables WeChat to target all Chinese users regardless of whether they use a virtual private network (VPN) or other means of avoiding the sprawling censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall of China.
Chinese users are censored wherever they are in the world, and regardless of who they are talking to.
"(Beijing) promotes maintaining ideological connections and guidance with Chinese citizens overseas, particularly for students studying abroad," the report said. "Tencent may be pressured to ensure filtering persists for Chinese users in any location."
Tencent (TCEHY), the tech giant that owns WeChat, said in a statement that it "respects and complies to local laws and regulations" of countries where it operates.
"WeChat...will always adhere to Tencent's core mission to create value for our users by providing high-quality, secure user experiences," the company added.
WeChat doesn't filter all messages "because they don't want international users to experience censorship," Ng said.
More keywords are blocked within group chats -- where users can broadcast their thoughts to up to 500 people at once -- than within private message groups, Citizen Lab found.
WeChat has more than 806 million monthly active users. It started as a simple messaging app, but has come to encompass gaming, mobile payments, ride hailing and e-commerce.
All Chinese social networking apps censor and restrict content by law. Citizen Lab has previously documented how WeChat deletes sensitive posts made using its "public accounts" feature, which operate like a Facebook page for businesses or celebrities.
Ng has also tracked censorship of private messages. He said in the past when a message was blocked, users received a warning note that they had used "restricted words" or that the message could not be sent "due to local laws, regulations, and policies."
In the most recent study, Citizen Lab found that the term Falun Gong was censored in a private message between a Chinese-registered account and one with a Canadian registration, but neither user was made aware that the deletion had taken place.
Ng said he "would not be surprised at all" if messages containing sensitive keywords were also being surveilled or monitored by Chinese security services.
"Censorship on WeChat (now resembles) how the Great Firewall of China operates, which is by design opaque and unaccountable," the report said.