What’s up (April 3-9)
A partnership on Twitter and a seat on its board
Twitter announced last week that Elon Musk would join its board after buying a 9.2 percent stake in the company, making him its largest shareholder. Mr Musk contacted Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal to inform Mr Agarwal before buying the company’s shares that he wanted to discuss Twitter’s improvements, insiders said. Mr Musk’s board seat expires in 2024 and he has agreed not to buy more than 14.9 per cent of Twitter’s stock. But unlike some other members of Twitter’s board, he did not sign an agreement to prevent the company from influencing its policies. Mr Musk, who has been embroiled in controversy over his own tweets, has publicly criticized Twitter’s content restraint policy and advocated for open-source algorithms on the platform. He asked his more than 80 million followers last month if they wanted the ability to edit tweets.
Europe bans Russian coal
European Union leaders on Thursday announced a fifth round of sanctions on Russia, targeting the country’s power for the first time. The new measures will cut Russian coal in four months, a month longer than initially proposed. The extended timeline for the withdrawal – as well as the delay in the bloc’s decision, which was expected on Wednesday – highlighted the difficulty of reaching an agreement among all 27 member states and some of the necessary compromises for countries like Germany. Those who rely more on Russia for coal. And many have warned EU leaders that sanctions could hurt Europe more than Russia, raise energy prices and hurt industry: Russia supplies about half of the bloc’s coal. Nonetheless, coal may be the source of energy that is easiest to replace, with the United States, Colombia and South Africa potentially able to help fill supply gaps.
A verdict in a fraud scandal
Roger NG, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was convicted on Friday of bribery and money laundering. He is likely to be the only person to face trial in the United States for plotting to loot more than $ 4 billion from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad. During the two-month trial, Mr. Ng’s lawyers tried to portray Tim Lesnar, the government’s main witness, as a liar. Mr Lesnar is another former Goldman Banker who has pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in the scheme. And Mr Lesnar himself admitted during questioning that he had told “a lot of lies” to his personal life and that of his colleagues as well as investigators. But a jury on Friday convicted Mr NG of all charges, which together carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. The scheme’s architect, Joe Lo, is believed to be a fugitive and living in China.
What next? (April 10-16)
And you thought inflation was high
The consumer price index for March, which will be released on Tuesday, may show inflation – already climbing at its fastest pace in 40 years – moving even faster. Prices rose 7.9 percent in February, driven by higher food costs and rents. As the March report captures rising gas prices that have stunned pump operators, inflation is expected to rise further to above 8 percent. The numbers are bad news for the Federal Reserve, which is likely to move more aggressively to curb inflation, and for President Biden, whose approval rating has been downgraded by higher prices.