WHISPERS OF THE CITY: Former MI6 man Steele named in Perring source hunt
Complaints: Labor MP Liam Byrne
The saga of Labor MP Liam Byrne and his claims about short seller Fraser Perring’s alleged links to Russia has reverberated in recent months as the financier continues his vendetta against the ex-new Labor Minister.
Byrne told the House of Commons in March that Perring was “a frequent visitor to Moscow” and called on the government to ensure that “short-selling groups are not another weapon in Putin’s arsenal.” Perring denies the claims.
The parliamentarian said he had been told about trips to Russia, but has so far not revealed his source.
However, several people have told Whispers that the source is believed to be Christopher Steele, the former head of MI6’s Russia bureau, who now runs intelligence firm Orbis.
Steele previously wrote a report that mentioned the urine tape, a recording that allegedly shows Donald Trump watching two prostitutes urinate on a bed previously used by the Obamas, which the real estate mogul vehemently denied.
UAE tries to ‘woo’ female journalists
Several women journalists received an email this week from the media office of Ras Al-Khaimah, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, inviting them to an “exclusive women in media dinner” at London’s Shard skyscraper.
The United Arab Emirates has a mixed record on women’s rights.
Domestic violence is still legal and women still need the approval of their male guardian in order to work.
One may want a glass of champagne before mentioning it.
ShareSoc follows the example of Archie Norman
Remember the recent uproar when Marks & Spencer made its annual meeting of shareholders digital-only?
The move appeared to run counter to Chairman Archie Norman’s campaign to give investors a greater say in running the companies they own.
Now Whispers learns that ShareSoc, an advocate for private investor rights and a staunch fan of Norman’s campaign, has followed suit.
Its AGM this year was also online-only “to keep costs down and make it more accessible,” a source admits.
Next year’s meeting will be hybrid so members can also meet in person. But the damage is already done.
“I can’t see any excuse for this,” said one AGM regular. They should be setting an example.
Jon Lewis isn’t tempted by the US switch
Capita’s Jon Lewis surprised the City recently by saying he would be stepping down at the end of this year.
It has been there since 2017, when it bailed out to switch subcontractor after a series of profit warnings. He was profitable for Lewis, who has raised £7m since he got there.
But it’s nothing compared to what you could earn in the United States.
Are you tempted? No, he tells Whispers. Taking on more non-executive roles is his preference and that’s ‘about quality of life’.
Perhaps a decade at US oil services giant Halliburton, where he was brutally passed over for the top job, will also put him off.
Contributors: Francesca Washtell and Patrick Tooher