Top Stories

January 25, 2016


Adidas to end IAAF sponsorship over doping scandal

Adidas has written to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to inform athletics’ embattled governing body it is terminating its sponsorship deal three years early, according to BBC reports. The German sportswear company, one of the IAAF’s Official Partners, signed an 11-year agreement with the IAAF in 2008 reported to be worth around £23 million. But the BBC reported that the body’s ongoing doping and corruption scandal has prompted Adidas to pull out of the deal. According to the report, the move will result in tens of millions of dollars in lost income. The BBC claims the IAAF was told Adidas was considering ending its relationship with them in November after the publication of the World Anti-Doping Agency Independent Commission’s first report, which detailed claims of “state sponsored doping” within Russia. Last week the commission released a second report that accused the IAAF of having “embedded corruption” at the very top of the organisation under former president Lamine Diack. (Guardian, BBC)


UK charities given ‘last chance’ on fundraising

UK charities’ fundraising activities could be controlled by law unless a new voluntary regulator succeeds in cleaning up the sector, a committee of MPs has warned in a report. The MP’s inquiry was triggered by a series of scandals involving leading charities as Oxfam, Save the Children and the NSPCC, who were found to have used “exploitative and unethical” ways to raise money, often through subcontractors. The MPs said that charities were “apologetic”, but there was not yet a “proper understanding… that it is fundamentally trustees who are responsible for setting the tone of their organisation”. “Their values should extend to everything they do, not just the charitable objectives,” said Bernard Jenkin, the chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC). (Financial Times*, BBC)


UN Women’s IMPACT CEOs reveal gender data

Ten of the world’s leading companies have released new workforce gender diversity figures, including details on leadership roles and board membership, in UN Women’s inaugural HeForShe Parity Report announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Last year at Davos, UN Women unveiled the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 initiative to engage ten key decision-makers in governments, corporations and universities around the world. The figures show that a large gap remains between the representation of women in the workforce and in leadership positions. Although overall representation of women averaged 39.7 percent across the ten firms, the proportion of senior leadership roles held by women ranged from a low of 11 percent to a high of only 33 percent. The group of ten companies includes: AccorHotels, Barclays, Koç Holding, McKinsey, PwC, Schneider Electric, Tupperware Brands, Twitter, Unilever and Vodafone. The UN has made this type of partnership a key part of achieving its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which prioritizes gender equality as both a standalone goal and as an integral part of other goals. (UN Women)


Google agrees £130 million UK tax deal

Google, frequently criticised for its complex international tax structures, has agreed to pay £130 million in back taxes after an “open audit” of its accounts by the UK tax authorities. The payment covers money owed since 2005 and follows a six year inquiry. Google is one of several multinational companies to have been accused of avoiding tax, in spite of making billions of pounds of sales in Britain. In 2013, Google paid £20.4 million in taxes in Britain on sales of £3.8 billion. Senior figures at the US search giant said it would follow new rules which would see it pay more taxes in future. “The rules are changing internationally and the UK government is taking the lead in applying those rules so we’ll be changing what we are doing here. We want to ensure that we pay the right amount of tax,” said Matt Brittin, head of Google Europe. (BBC)


Hong Kong move unlikely to slash HSBC tax bill

HSBC is poised to make a decision on whether it will stay headquartered in the UK as early as this week. After a nine-month, landmark review into where the bank will call home for at least the next decade, it is understood that the 20-person group board is due to hold a two-day meeting at the end of this week in Hong Kong. Analysts said HSBC’s former home Hong Kong, with a corporate tax rate of 16.5 percent against a British rate set to rise to 26 percent, was the most likely destination. A Reuters analysis of the company’s filings showed that Hong Kong may offer HSBC fewer tax advantages than many believe – and could actually increase the bank’s tax bill. But some analysts say Asia’s better long-term growth opportunities and Hong Kong’s lower tax rate may yet hold attractions for the bank. (Reuters, The Telegraph)


Image source: Adidas shop, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire by Mtaylor848 / CC BY-SA 3.0