Venture capital, private equity transactions reach HUF 9.5 bln in H1 | The Budapest Business Journal on the web

 MTI – Econews

 Friday, October 23, 2020, 11:30

Venture capital and private equity transactions in Hungary came to HUF 9.5 billion in the first half of 2020, down by around 50% from the same period of last year, Hungarian news agency MTI reports, citing a report by the Hungarian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (HVCA).

There were a total of 63 transactions in H1, including 47 incubation and seed investments, HVCA said.

The average transaction size was HUF 151 million, down by around 30% from a year earlier.

Most of the investments were in the business and industrial services and products sectors, IT and consumer electronics, and in communications.

HVCA said 33 exits took place during the quarter.



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Finnish government’s mining partner linked to suspicious financial transactions

TRAFIGURA, a Singapore-domiciled minority shareholder in Finnish state-owned metals producer Terrafame, is suspected of channelling hundreds of millions of euros to tax havens in transactions that have raised red flags about money laundering.

YLE on Monday reported that major multinational banks have filed reports on tens of billions of euros’ worth of transactions by Trafigura to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Department of Treasury.

The transactions were flagged primarily for two reasons, according to the public broadcasting company. The Singaporean company has been linked to corruption scandals around the world and transferred hundreds of millions to companies domiciled in tax havens that appear to have no real operations. Some of the suspected shell companies were founded by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the epicentre of the Panama Papers.

The reports are part of a trove of leaked documents detailing about 1,800 billion euros’ worth of suspicious financial transactions.

Trafigura declined to comment on the allegations in any way when contacted by YLE.

The multinational commodity trading company currently owns roughly 30 per cent of shares in Terrafame. The vast majority of the remaining shares are owned by Finnish Minerals Group, a fully state-owned special-purpose company tasked with developing the battery and mining industries in Finland.

Matti Hietanen, the managing director of Finnish Minerals Group, told YLE on Monday that the revelation should have no impact on the operations of Terrafame in Finland.

“This isn’t specifically related to Terrafame,” he said. “When Trafigura became an owner in 2017, issues related to the arrangement and tax questions were investigated carefully. Based on the information reported so far by YLE, this matter isn’t linked to the operations of Terrafame in Finland.”

Trafigura initially acquired a 15.5-per-cent stake in Terrafame. It has also provided a 75-million-euro loan facility in exchange for the seven-year rights to acquire all nickel and 80 per cent of zinc produced by Terrafame.

The minority owner has had a key role in developing the operations of the metals producer, Hietanen told YLE.

Olli Mäenpää, a professor of administrative law at the University of Helsinki, stated to Uusi Suomi that the allegations are serious from the perspective of ownership steering, as the government requires that the subjects of ownership steering adhere to corporate responsibility, refrain from partaking in aggressive tax planning and overall operate within the boundaries of law.

Although the requirements do not directly apply to co-owners, he added, the government must conduct an evaluation in circumstances where a major partner is suspected of considerable shortcomings or outright illegalities in its operations.

“It should first examine the situation and then conduct an assessment of the partner,” said Mäenpää. “If the allegations made in public are accurate, the situation also creates a bad image – at least indirectly – of the corporate responsibility of Terrafame.”

Mäenpää also acknowledged that the corporate law provides limited tools to the government to intervene in the situation.

“There isn’t a procedure in corporate law that’d enable one stakeholder to intervene in the actions of another. The state doesn’t have that kind of leverage here. It’s still my view that the state must react to this. What it can do is what should now be examined,” he commented.

Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen (SDP) said to YLE on Monday that the issue will be examined thoroughly by the ownership steering department.

“I can’t give you an exact timetable. The most important interest of the state owner is of course to make sure that Terrafame’s operations are responsible and on a sustainable foundation. There must be no uncertainty about this,” she stated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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The Star Casino arrest: Man charged over alleged suspicious transactions

A man has been charged following an investigation into alleged suspicious transactions made at a Sydney casino.

A special strike force investigation was launched last month before police questioned a 30-year-old man at The Star casino, in Pyrmont, on July 21.

Organised Crime Squad detectives also carried out a search of the man and his vehicle, seizing more than $10,000 of cash and $50,000 worth of casino chips as well as two mobile phones and documentation.

Another $50,000 was seized from the casino. It’s alleged the man produce the cash at the venue earlier that day.

Detectives also searched the man’s Auburn home, where another $70,000 in cash was seized, along with a CCTV system and numerous documents.

media_cameraMan charged following investigation into suspicious transactions at a Sydney casino. Picture: NSW Police

The man was arrested and taken to Day St police station where he was charged with two counts of dealing with property proceeds of crime.

Police will allege the man purchased chips at the casino with money believed to be the proceeds of crime on at least two occasions.

He was granted conditional bail and will appear in the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday.

Anyone with concerns about suspected illegal activity at casinos or within the racing industry in NSW should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

Originally published as ‘Suspicious’ casino activity leads to arrest

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Posthaste: ‘Supercharged’ Canadian housing market roars back to life, after lockdown halted 70,000 transactions

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China’s recovery appears to be leaving the rest of the world in the dust, this chart by Deutsche Bank Research shows. The bank’s updated forecast sees the U.S. economy back at pre-COVID levels by the middle of 2022 and the eurozone’s at the start of 2023. The U.K. will take even longer, until the second half of 2024, because of the extra drag of Brexit. If 100 marks the level of real activity at the start of 2020, China’s economy was already there by the end of the second quarter, pulling off a V-shaped recovery. Deutsche analysts forecast the gap between China and the rest of the world will just get bigger. As the chart shows, by the end of 2025, the bank sees China at 137, the UK at 100, the eurozone at 103, and the U.S. at 108. “Longer-term, this China vs RoW growth divergence could easily create more political tensions as relationships continue to be under stress between China and the Western World,” said the note.


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Today’s Posthaste was written by  Pamela Heaven (@pamheaven), with files from The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.

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