• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 August, 2013, 4:31am

A Russian Bank that didn't read the small print

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.
 

Here's a strange tale from Russia about a man who received an unsolicited letter from Tinkoff Credit Systems offering a credit card. Dmitry Agarkov found the rates unattractive so he scanned the contract, included with the letter, and rewrote the terms to include 0 per cent interest rate, no fees, and no credit limit, Russia Today reports.

In addition, every time the bank breached these rules it would be fined three million roubles, (HK$706,343) and if it broke the contract the bank would have to pay Agarkov six million roubles. To his surprise the bank approved the terms and sent him a card. Obviously they had not read the small print.

Two years later TCS decided to sue Agarkov for 45,000 roubles in overdue payments. However, since this amount breached Agarkov's amended terms, the judge sided with Agarkov and told him to pay his outstanding balance of 19,000 roubles.

Now Agarkov is trying to sue the bank for 24 million roubles for breaking the terms of the agreement. The bank has responded by trying to launch a criminal case for fraud.

TCS founder Oleg Tinkov said on Twitter that Agarkov "will get four years in jail for fraud". According to Agarkov's lawyer these remarks made his client fear for his safety. It is not unknown for rich people to get the result they want from Russian courts. 

 

Eat your heart out, Henry

Whenever we read of luxury underground basements our thoughts turn to Henry Tang Ying-yen. A recent edition of the Evening Standard has a story about property developer Christian Candy who wants to build an extraordinary private spa and "leisure centre" complex under a Georgian mansion in Chelsea that will be one of London's biggest ever family home basements.

The property is 204-year-old Gordon House, a listed building that has been leased from The Royal Hospital Chelsea. The plan is to develop an area of 1,200 square metres under the property's garden to include a cavernous subterranean "lifestyle" space with a 20-metre swimming pool, a cold plunge pool and jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, a dance studio, three treatment rooms, a cinema room and an 18-metre two-lane bowling alley.

Big enough to make even Henry's eyes swivel. Imagine the wine you could stash in that.

 

Electric police response

The police as we have remarked previously, work in a weird and wonderful way. We have commented at length at the lack of enforcement they display at street level principally in enforcing illegal parking laws. However, they spring into action in surprising circumstances.

We noticed an item in the Discovery Bay Magazine pointing out that driving electric bicycles and scooters is illegal and could lead to possible imprisonment and fine.

"Electric bicycles have been found using the roads in DB, leading the police to step up action and resulting in an arrest some weeks ago." All we can say is that those arrested were extremely unlucky.

 

Impactful investors

The Sovereign Wealth Institute has announced what it terms the top 100 most significant and impactful public investor executives for 2013. They come from medium- to large-sized-asset owners of sovereign wealth funds, public pensions, superannuation funds, central banks and other public investors.

Topping the rankings is Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, MD of the Abu Dhabi Investment authority, followed by Mark Wiseman, CEO, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. In fourth place came Gao Xiqing, CEO of China Investment Corp, Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek was ranked ninth, Lim Siong Guan, Group President of GIC Private, was 11th while our own Norman Chan, CEO Hong Kong Monetary Authority was 23rd.

 

Whitney predicts epic layoffs

Meredith Whitney is at it again - predicting the end of Wall Street as we know it. A year ago she was predicting banks would have to cut another 50,000 jobs. Earlier this year the banking analyst was saying that banks would "slowly bleed staff".

She's evidently had a rethink since then and recently sent out a note to clients saying 100,000 finance workers could lose their jobs. "We are on the precipice of a seismic down-sizing on Wall Street, the likes of which have never occurred before," said Whitney.

 

Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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This article is now closed to comments

captam
@ "driving electric bicycles and scooters is illegal and could lead to possible imprisonment and fine."
Hong Kong is now about the only place on the planet which prohibits the use of electric bicycles. The Transport Bureau's failure to enact new legislation legalizing these bikes but at the same time regulating the specifications (power), must amount to misconduct in public office.
If laws are archaic and obsolete because the administration has failed to keep pace with public aspirations, then it quite just for the people to ignore them. As Lai See points out repeatedly, the rich with their private cars can break parking laws with impunity but the poor are not even allowed to venture out with a modern power-assisted bicycle.
chaz_hen
IF Li Ka Shing started riding an electric bike in Central, the laws would change. And that is the state of how HK works these days...
 
 
 
 
 

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