AIB eyes Payzone, Coveney underlines backstop, and challenges for Facebook

Seen & heard: Lawyers and accountants targeted in new Revenue investigation

Tánaiste Simon Coveney on BBC TV’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The European Parliament will not ratify a Withdrawal Agreement that doesn’t have a backstop in it. It’s as simple as that.”

Tánaiste Simon Coveney on BBC TV’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The European Parliament will not ratify a Withdrawal Agreement that doesn’t have a backstop in it. It’s as simple as that.”

 

AIB is in talks to buy Payzone, the Irish electronic payments company, according to the Sunday Times. The bank is reportedly in exclusive talks with Payzone’s current owners, Carlyle Cardinal Ireland. It estimates the e-payments specialist could be worth at least €100 million, though the sale price may be lower.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has reiterated the EU’s commitment to the Border backstop. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Coveney said: “The European Parliament will not ratify a withdrawal agreement that doesn’t have a backstop in it. It’s as simple as that . . . The backstop is already a compromise. It is a series of compromises. It was designed around British red lines. . . Ireland has the same position as the European Union now, I think, when we say that the backstop as part of the withdrawal agreement it is part of a balanced package that isn’t going to change.”

Revenue is investigating the tax records of 16,000 people, including partners of accountancy and legal firms, owners of businesses and company directors, according to the Sunday Business Post. It is part of a new trawl to ensure they are not reducing their tax bills to very low levels through the wholesale use of tax reliefs and tax avoidance schemes. Revenue used to focus on around 330 “high net wealth individuals” with assets of over €50 million but it has set up a new unit to investigate the tax records of people with wealth of over €500,000.

Broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan is to sue Facebook for defamation, alleging that the social media giant is promoting fake advertisements with malicious stories about her in order to attract clicks. The Sunday Times reports she has been left with no choice but to sue because of Facebook’s failure to tackle fraudulent adverts for face cream that have included inaccurate claims about her being fired from RTÉ.

Meanwhile the Sunday Telegraph warns that Facebook risks becoming the next big victim of China’s economic slowdown due to falling advertising spending from Chinese companies. The tech company, which reports its next quarterly earnings on Wednesday, is banned from operating in China but it still collects about $7 billion per year in advertising revenues from big Chinese companies seeking to reach western consumers.

The sudden collapse of the €150 million purchase of Goodbody Stockbrokers by a Chinese consortium has prompted other bidders for the country’s second-biggest broker to emerge. Goodbody insisted last week following the end of the “opportunistic” takeover that it was not up for sale, but the Sunday Business Post reports that sources now say its owners, the firm’s senior managers and the Kerry-based financial services giant Fexco, are likely to entertain other approaches.