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Counting the Cost
Is the US unfairly targeting UK banks?
We ask if targeting UK banks is a protectionist move to secure New York's position as the centre of Western capitalism.
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2012 10:00

Is the US unfairly targeting UK banks in a protectionist move to secure New York's position as the centre of Western capitalism?
 
In the last few years, HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds have all paid hefty fines.
 
The latest bank to be targeted was Standard Chartered. It has been accused of hiding $250bn in transactions with Iran. The London-based bank denies the accusations.
 
But the US justice department decided not to pursue criminal charges against Goldman Sachs for its part in the financial crisis. 
 
We speak to Angus Campbell, the head of market analysis at London Capital Group, and ask: Is Washington just picking up from where UK regulation fails?

Campbell says: "There are a number of not just Britiash banks that they have targeted and fined as a result of either money laundering or various things that the regulators have fined them for .... It has bee going on for a number of years ....  I would say that this is more anti-Iran rhetoric and action than necessarily anti-British banks. But of course you can't help but think that the US as a financial centre, or New York in particular, can feel potentially feel under threat from the city of  London as a financial centre and so you can't help but think maybe there is an ulterior motive to this action."

Egypt: An economic health check

What needs to happen for Egypt's economy to get back on its feet?

Our reporter Rawya Rageh joins us on the programme to tell us what is going on in Egypt as she goes looking for young entrepreneurs who are setting up new businesses as foreign investors flee the country.

This comes against the backdrop of the continuing threat of a currency devaluation that could see Cairo seeking International Monetary Fund (IMF) support.
 
To discuss the issues facing Egypt, we are joined by Said Hirsh, the Middle East economist at Capital Economics.

Hirsh says: "Egypt is a very young nation and there is definetely some kind of boost over the events that happened .... Egypt needs some kind of radical change. It needs to actually reform the bureaucracy and not continue in the same way. The new entrepreneurs and new investors that could come out and actually take Egypt forward, these people need change, they need less bureaucracy, they need less corruption, they need a much more free market economy for them to thrive."

Holiday season

It is holiday season in the northern hemisphere which means, in theory, good times for the hospitality business.
 
But does anyone in Europe have money to be splashing out on fancy hotels? Will anyone come to the Middle East when it is pushing 50 degrees outside?
 
These are just some of the questions Kamahl Santamaria put to Frits Van Paasschen, the CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. And if the name Starwood does not ring any bells, try Sheraton, W, Westin or St Regis; they are all big brands under that umbrella.

 
Watch each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630. Click here for more Counting the Cost.

Follow Kamahl Santamaria @KamahlAJE and business editor Abid Ali @abidoliverali

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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