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RBS Mulls ABN Move, Barclays Itself Could Face Takeover

The 'who's gonna acquire ABN AMRO' story continues to gather pace. The Dutch firm is, of course, in exclusive merger talks with Barclays Bank. Late last week, however, rumours spread that Citigroup boss Chuck Prince was coming under pressure from senior colleagues to make an unsolicited run at ABN. And Fred Goodwin, the CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has now refused to exclude a bid for the Dutch bank.

'Desperate' Ex-Merrill Broker Admits To Taking Bribes

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Coughlin, a one-time broker at Merrill Lynch's Rockefeller Center branch in Manhattan, admitted in court last week that, at various times in 2003, he took cash bribes of around $4,000 in exchange for providing Keith Geller, a former trader at A.B.Watley, with access to the Merrill Lynch 'squawk box', giving the trader access to information about orders being executed by Merrill's institutional clients.

Amaranth, ABN, DB, GS, Merrill, RBS, John Thain

Bloomberg reports that investors in hedge fund Amaranth are trying to get agreement to collectively set aside any legal claims they feel they have against the firm in a bid to obtain the return of their remaining investments more quickly.

Top Firm Said To Be Axing 'Several Hundred' Staff

The Times reports that 'beleaguered' German bank WestLB looks set to cut 'several hundred' more staff, most likely in Asia and South America, as it comes to terms with first-half losses of £252.7m after further loan provisions. The bank posted a £1.2bn pre-tax loss in 2002. More job cuts in Germany are also thought to be on the cards.

Busted Ex-Bank Exec Now Done Over Ecstasy

Talk about kicking a man when he's down. 42 year-old Ian Chalmers, variously described as a former head of sales and / or trading over at Macquarie Bank in Australia, has been banged up for months awaiting sentencing after being found guilty last year of conspiring to import cocaine with the help of baggage handlers at Sydney Airport in 2005, has now pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of supplying ecstasy. The offense is said to have come to light when investigators were intercepting Chalmers' phone calls.

Fortune's Top 10 Green Companies

Here's a note of Fortune magazine's Top 10 'green giants' - firms which are said to have gone beyond what the law requires to operate in an enviromentally responsible way:

HR E-Mail - 'We Must Get Employees Thinking We Care'

It's good to know in these hi-tech, fast-moving, record bonus-giving times that investment banks do still think about the welfare of their staff. What follows is an e-mail sent by a member of HR to a colleague on the subject of 'Human Beings Matter'.

Barclays / ABN AMRO - Where Will Jobs Cuts Come ?

The feasibility of joining together the respective investment banking operations of Barclays and ABN AMRO is thought to be a key element if the proposed merger of the two banks is likely to prove successful. Although the overlap in the wholesale operations of the two firms isn't that great, and this deal is more about revenue generation than cost savings, there are unfortunatley likely to be job losses.

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