‘Pirates’ piracy and the price of not making Champions League

Planet Business: ‘Trade facilitation posts’, ‘Mr Creepypants’ and boomerang bosses

Image of the week: Hacker’s revenge

Here's a picture of the lads – Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem and Orlando Bloom – as they put their best promotional feet forward and attend the European premiere in Disneyland Paris of Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge.

That was just before Disney boss Bob Iger told staff that cyberhackers had claimed to have stolen a forthcoming Disney film and were threatening to release it in short segments unless they were paid a treasure chest worth of Bitcoin.

It was later identified in the Hollywood media as the latest in the Pirates franchise, which frankly few people were looking for Disney to make in the first place.

The great mystery now is whether anyone will bother pirating the pirates and, of course, whether any of the hackers responsible will ever walk the plank.

In numbers: Champion revenues

£50 million

Revenues Manchester United would expect to gain should it qualify for the UEFA Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Ajax next Wednesday.


The club has a clause in its kit sponsorship deal with Adidas that allows the sportswear brand to to pay this much less if it fails to reach the Champions League for a second successive season.

£15-£20 million

The more modest earnings that are usually generated from a run in the second-tier Europa League. However, United have collected about £7 million more this year, putting the club on track for potentially record profits.

The lexicon: Trade facilitation posts

Goodbye single market, hello "trade facilitation posts". There was a new entry in the Brexit jargon handbook this week courtesy of Revenue Commissioners official Liam Irwin, who suggested at an Oireachtas hearing that trade facilitation posts might be placed within 10-15 km of the Border with Northern Ireland to allow for a "small number" of physical inspections on freight.

These, alongside mobile units performing random customs checks, could take their place among the “flexible and imaginative solutions” to the problems posed by Brexit, given as it was “not in Dublin’s gift” to keep the North within the single market.

Customs declarations are expected to increase “tenfold”, which is just fabulous – thanks Nigel, thanks Boris – but the important thing is these new trade facilitation posts are definitely different, okay, from pre-1992 customs posts.

Getting to know: Michael Cohen

Donald Trump's personal lawyer and former Trump Organisation "pit bull" Michael Cohen has won himself a new moniker: "Mr Creepypants".

The US president’s long-term associate “ignited a debate about fatherly pride”, as the BBC tactfully put it, by posting on Twitter a photograph of his 21-year-old daughter in her lingerie with the message “so proud of my Ivy League daughter… brains and beauty channelling her Edie Sedgwick”.

Cohen told one woman who criticised him that she was just “jealous”, while his daughter said the widespread “ewww” response was merely an anti-Trump faction “using this as an opportunity to stir up drama”.

Cohen has previously made headlines for claiming “you can’t rape your spouse”, which for a lawyer shows a worrying ignorance of the law and for a man shows worrying ignorance of humanity.

The list: Boomerang execs

Twitter's share price went up this week after cofounder Biz Stone said he will rejoin the social media company to work on its "culture". It's a "crazy story", he says. (Spoiler: it's not.) He's far from the only executive to make a comeback.

1. Jack Dorsey: Stone is echoing the career trajectory of Twitter co-founder Dorsey, who was its chief executive in its early “fail whale” days, moved to a “passive” board role in 2008 and then was reappointed as the boss in 2015.

2. Willie Walsh: The former Aer Lingus chief executive went on to bigger things as boss of British Airways and later became the boss of the enlarged International Airlines Group (IAG) . . . which now owns Aer Lingus.

3. Breon Corcoran: He was chief operating officer at Paddy Power, then after a spell of gardening leave, took the reins at rival Betfair. He’s now chief executive of the merged super-bookmaker that is Paddy Power Betfair. A good roll of the dice.

4. Howard Schultz: The man responsible for colonising the world of coffee through Starbucks did a caffeine-assisted dance from chief executive to chairman and then back to chief executive, and now he's off, possibly for good.

5. Steve Jobs: Perhaps the most famous returnee of all, an "uncontrollable" Jobs left Apple in 1985 after a dispute with then CEO John Sculley. He was back as the boss of the company he cofounded in the relatively dark days of 1997 and the rest is history.