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Home » Daily Briefing » Daily briefing - 21 November 2018

Daily briefing - 21 November 2018

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Does success beget success for whistleblowers? Can one honest person take down an entire organisation? Yes — and there's a new trend following that too, which is class action or group action lawsuits being taken against banks. Today the Danske Bank whistleblower Howard Wilkinson will address the European Parliament, as solicitors Danish NĂ©meth Sigetty prepare to take a group action lawsuit funded by US, German and Dutch firms which have already earned multibillion dollar payouts from Volkswagen and Petrobras. "The law firms involved in the coalition include Tilp, the German group behind a $10bn investor lawsuit against VW for its emissions scandal; Pomerantz, the US group that secured a $3bn settlement against Petrobras; Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, which reached a $10bn civil settlement with VW; and Lemstra van der Korst, a Dutch firm active against Petrobras and Royal Dutch Shell," reports the Financial Times. "This is the A-team of law firms you could assemble, and rightly so because it's the biggest money-laundering scandal ever seen," said Peter Hanssen, an expert on class actions that is helping process the claims for the coalition of law firms.

UK digital bank Tandem returns to the East for funding, with Hong Kong's Convoy Capital announcing its acquisition of a key stake in the bank. The amount is currently undisclosed, but Convoy will allocate $64 million in capital for a virtual bank operating out of Hong Kong. "We believe the investment from Convoy, which will be a significant shareholder at Tandem, will help our company to expand in Asia," said Ricky Knox, founder and chief executive of Tandem in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post on Tuesday. Referring to last year's turmoil at Convoy, which ended in the arrest of senior executives, Knox said: "We have conducted our due diligence and we believe the ICAC and SFC investigation is related to the misconduct of certain pervious management and has nothing to do with the current management. A previous deal between Tandem and the Chinese-controlled House of Fraser group fell apart in 2016 and resulted in Tandem losing its banking licence. "Convoy president and executive director Ng Wing-fai said the company would allocate HK$500 million (US$63.84 million) as working capital for the virtual bank should it receive approval from the HKMA," reports the South China Morning Post. Mr Ng said Tandem would target customers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and other Asian countries.

The potential for apps to turn into multifunctional wallets is a major trend in 2018, with services such as Uber and Grab evolving into food delivery services and other services, and investors hoping to see a Tencent-like platform evolve from one of these. Middle East ridehailing app Careem, which has engaged in a high-profile battle with Uber — and with taxi drivers in the UAE often driving for both apps — will seek fresh investment from China, according to a Reuters report. "Earlier this week, it was reported that CICC and Jefferies, the New York investment bank, were acting as advisors to Careem on its potential capital-raising strategies," according to pymnts.com. "There was talk of a potential deal with Uber in the Middle East. Careem already has Daimler and Didi Chuxing as backers of the startup, which compete against Uber in the Middle East. It said in October it had raised $200 million in funding from investors that had already backed the company. Reuters noted Careem has a valuation of higher than $2 billion."

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