Top Firms - Dirty Tricks & Dodgy Dealings ?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the knives appear to be out for former Goldman Sachs partner Corrado Varoli, who headed up the firm's Latin American franchise, but left to start up his own investment banking boutique.

According to the newspaper, Varoli has successfully landed a few top clients, no doubt much to Goldman's chagrin. Now, soon after Varoli left the firm, Goldman is said to have undertaken a 'routine review' of Mr Varoli's expense accounts, which, it is claimed, turned up 'certain irregularities'. The amount in question ? $600!. The Journal reports that, according to Goldman's 'review', Varoli 'used his corporate card at Cafe Photo, a gentleman's club in Sao Paulo where women may make themselves available for a fee. Goldman says that using a corporate card at adult-entertainment clubs is against company policy'.

Mr Varoli said that 'it appears that certain individuals have decided that the best method of competing for this business is to engage in unwarranted attacks on my personal character'.

And The New York Post reports that UBS 'helped conceal the paper trail of a $250,000 payment that wound up getting ex-HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy and Don Siegelman, ( a former ) governor of Alabama, convicted'. The newspaper claims that it has obtained documents which show that a UBS banker 'funneled' money that Scrushy gave to the governor 'without making it appear that HealthSouth was involved'. The alleged concealed transaction is said to have got round UBS's 'ban on political transactions and free(d) Scrushy from allegations of conflict of interest'.

Siegelman and Scrushy were convicted in June in a US federal court over a bribery scheme. Siegelman, 60, was accused of trading government favours for campaign donations during his tenure as Alabama governor between 1999 to 2003. Scrushy, who once ran a chain of Birmingham-based rehab clinics, was accused of arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for a seat on a state hospital regulatory board.

A UBS spokesman said that 'at no time did the government contend that anyone at UBS committed any wrongdoing in this matter'.

Finally, (and something completely unrelated), The Sunday Times 'Prufrock' column had a nice little piece yesterday. It involved David Wilson, the CEO of Piper Jaffray's European businesses. Wilson apparently has been led off and interrogated by airport security each time he travels to the US. The reason ? Apparently a terrorist often uses 'David Wilson' as a pseudonym and that name now appears on all the security watch lists. Not a little miffed, the 'real' David Wilson is said to have asked if there was a solution to this problem, which is costing him lots in lost time. There is. It was suggested that he simply change his name!

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