• Wed
  • Apr 16, 2014
  • Updated: 7:32pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 4:51am

Nancy Kissel's milkshake misdeed costs us millions

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

We gather that milkshake murderer Nancy Kissel has been granted leave to appeal her conviction for murder. The appeal has been set down for three days in early October. She filed the appeal in February last year after withdrawing her application to serve her jail time in the US.

Her trial, which caught the attention of the world, was told how she drugged her investment banker husband, Robert Kissel, with a drug-laced milkshake before bludgeoning him to death with a lead ornament. However, after two appeals, the Court of Final Appeal ruled the original trial in 2005 was flawed.

She initially pleaded not guilty to murder, saying she had acted in self-defence. At the retrial in 2011, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility and provocation.

It's not known what the grounds of her forthcoming appeal are, but it will add yet again to the substantial financial costs the Department of Justice has had to bear with respect to her case. It has already spent tens of millions of dollars on the various trials and appeals.

The Department of Justice exceeded its HK$89.4 million budget for criminal cases in 2011, and had to go cap in hand to the Legislative Council for a further HK$86.6 million to meet its court costs.

 

Buffett supper

There is talk that Warren Buffett will be in Hong Kong towards the end of this year. He is apparently coming to watch his youngest son, Peter, who is a musician, play a concert.

The plan is that in addition to his concert commitments, Peter will also play at a charity dinner at which Buffet senior will speak.

His son is an Emmy Award-winning musician, songwriter, producer and composer. He composed the "Fire Dance" in "Dances with Wolves". In addition to his music, he has also worked with numerous non-profit groups and charities.

 

Mayo slams sweetheart deals

Mike Mayo, CLSA's outspoken United States banking analyst, thinks we are about to see a rebirth of shareholder rights in the US.

Speaking on Bloomberg Television recently, he noted that BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager, has a 20-person committee dedicated to corporate governance, which over the past 12 months has voted against a third of management proposals. He thinks this will catch on in other parts of corporate America.

As to why boards don't challenge management more, he told Bloomberg, "It's a sweetheart deal … A lot of times it is very incestuous. It's a country club sort of attitude. Everybody is looking after each other. That is not what we need, especially among banks, which have been some of the worst long-term performers."

He says his analysis shows that the larger the bank a CEO runs, the more he or she is paid, regardless of performance.

 

Short gold, says Goldman

Readers may recall that we recently highlighted two speakers from the Mines and Money conference who made the case for gold, based on what they said was the coming collapse of the financial system. However, their views are not universally shared, as shown by a recent report from Goldman Sachs, which recommends shorting gold.

It argues that despite sharp volatility, the metal has done little since peaking in August 20ll at US$1,920 an ounce. With the price now at around US$1,547, it argues that long-term enthusiasm for gold is declining.

The bank says that despite a resurgence in euro-area risk and sluggishness in the US economy, it does not expect a sharp rebound in its price. Indeed, it forecasts a decline to around US$1,450, and says it could fall further, as many investors have been buying on expectations of higher prices. Since this has not materialized so far, there is the distinct possibility they could abandon their positions, adding momentum to the sell-off.

 

Rue Thatcher - why not?

A row has broken out in a city council over whether to name a street after Margaret Thatcher - in Paris, of all places. Given the historical rivalry between Britain and France, it is most unusual for the French to consider this kind of acknowledgement.

UMP councillor Jerome Dubus said he would submit a proposal for a street or square to be named after her, as "a small gesture for a great lady".

The move is opposed by left-wing groups.

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