‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, poses for a family picture with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and IMB’s President and CEO Virginia Rometty as he hosts the “Tech for Good” summit over lunch with tech companies CEOs at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. (AP)
Updated 24 May 2018
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.


Former Irish bank chief jailed over crisis-era fraud

Updated 7 min 10 sec ago
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Former Irish bank chief jailed over crisis-era fraud

  • Judge Karen O’Connor stressed that Drumm was not being jailed for “the financial crisis,” instead “only for the two specific offenses for which he has been convicted.”
  • Anglo Irish Bank required a huge state bailout and was nationalized in 2009, contributing to an economic crisis in Ireland that later forced Dublin to seek an €85-billion-international rescue.

Dublin: A judge on Wednesday jailed a former head of Anglo Irish Bank for six years for carrying out fraud at the start of the world financial crisis a decade ago.
David Drumm, 51, had at an earlier hearing been found guilty of fraud and false accounting at the bank, whose rapid fall from grace epitomised Ireland’s own financial collapse.
Ahead of sentencing, the court on Wednesday heard from the defense that Drumm had acknowledged a “huge error in judgment” over the €7.2 billion fraud.
Judge Karen O’Connor, sitting at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, stressed that Drumm was not being jailed for “the financial crisis,” instead “only for the two specific offenses for which he has been convicted.”
Drumm had been accused of transferring huge sums between Anglo Irish Bank and another financial institution, sometimes only for a few hours, to make the bank’s balance sheet look better than it was as the global financial crisis took hold.
Anglo Irish Bank required a huge state bailout and was nationalized in 2009, contributing to an economic crisis in Ireland that later forced Dublin to seek an €85-billion-international rescue.
Drumm moved to Boston in the United States shortly after the collapse of Anglo Irish Bank, but was later arrested there and extradited to Ireland to face trial.
Two of Drumm’s Anglo colleagues and the former head of Irish Life and Permanent — the other financial institution involved in the fraud — had already been jailed over the same conspiracy.
Passing sentence on Drumm, O’Connor took into account the five months he had already served in the US custody awaiting his return to Ireland.