Tesla names new board chair effective immediately
DETROIT: Tesla’s board has named one of its own as chairman to replace Elon Musk’s term, complying with a fraud settlement with U.S. securities regulators. The electric car and solar panel company’s board Thursday named Australian telecommunications executive Robyn Denholm as chairman, effective immediately. Denholm will step down as chief financial officer and strategy head at Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, after a sixmonth notice period. She’ll work full time at Tesla, where she has served on the board since 2014. Musk will remain as Tesla’s chief executive as part of the settlement deal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The U.S. agency filed a lawsuit alleging that Musk duped investors in August with misleading statements on Twitter about securing the funding to take Tesla private. –
Italy slams Brussels deficit warning
BRUSSELS: Italy Thursday flatly dismissed the EU’s more pessimistic outlook for the Italian economy as the IMF warned that Rome’s budget battle with Brussels could ensnare other European countries. The populist government in Rome is under massive pressure since the European Commission on Oct. 23 rejected its 2019 budget, giving the ruling coalition in Rome until Nov. 13 to make changes to it. Failing that, Brussels could put Italy into something called the “excess deficit procedure,” a complicated process that could eventually lead to fines and provoke a strong market reaction. The Italian government plans to run a public deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP, three times the target of its center-left predecessor. Scrutinizing those plans, the European Commission Thursday said Italy’s deficit will reach 2.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product next year, much bigger than the 1.7 percent in its previous forecast. –
UBS eyes new legal battle in U.S.
ZURICH: Swiss banking giant UBS said Thursday that it was bracing for another legal battle in the U.S. over sales of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis a decade ago. The bank said it had been advised that the U.S. Department of Justice “intends to file a civil complaint as early as Nov. 8, 2018.” “UBS anticipates that the complaint will seek unspecified monetary civil penalties” over transactions that date back to 2006 and 2007, it said in a statement. The bank insisted Thursday that the new U.S. authorities’ claims against it were “not supported by the facts or the law,” and said it would contest any complaint “vigorously.” “UBS is confident in its legal position and has been fully prepared for some time to defend itself in court,” it said. Subprime mortgages – which are risky but classified as safe investments by credit ratings agencies – were at the heart of the 2007-08 financial crisis that devastated communities around the world and brought a number of banking giants to their knees. –