The Latest Other News In Brief

The Financial Times reports that Citi is to 'intensify its efforts to break free from the US government shackles', despite failing to convince the authorities that they are strong enough to stand alone without US government backing.

And Bloomberg reports that the US Treasury's refusal to sell its 34% stake in the company is 'hampering' Citi's attempts to raise the $20bn it needs to pay back its bailout. The firm would need to go into the market to sell stock to raise money to repay the Treasury, but it will not be able to do so until the government sets out how it will offload its own 7.7 billion shares.

Reuters reports that both Canadian banks CIBC and Toronto Dominion have reported quarterly profits which topped analyst estimates. Profit for the three months to 31st October at CIBC came in at $613m, whilst TD's profits hit $962m in the period.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to legal filings reviewed by the newspaper, Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of hedge fund Galleon Group, who has been charged with securities fraud for alleged insider trading, was actually probed by US federal prosecutors over 10 years ago on suspicion of insider dealing. The probe revealed no evidence of wrongdoing, however.

Reuters reports that bankers are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for M&A next year. Typical is Thomas Miles, from JPMorgan, who told the news agency: 'We are seeing a pickup in serious strategic discussions that would give us more optimism for 2010'.

Finally, The Times reports that, according to a report compiled by Royal Bank of Scotland's legal practices group, another 5,000 London-based lawyers could lose their jobs next year, as law firms bid to get back to pre-financial crisis levels of profitability.

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