Citi, Deutsche Bank, ANZ served with criminal cartel charges in Australia

The market had been waiting for details of the charges against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group since the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission flagged them on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 05 June 2018

Citi, Deutsche Bank, ANZ served with criminal cartel charges in Australia

BENGALURU: Australia’s competition regulator on Tuesday said criminal charges had been laid against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, a local unit of Citigroup and Deutsche Bank relating to cartel offenses over a $2.3 billion share issue.
Criminal charges have also been laid against several senior executives, including ANZ Treasurer Rick Moscati and Citigroup’s John McLean and Itay Tuchman. Former executives, including Citigroup’s Stephen Roberts and Deutsche Bank’s Michael Ormaechea and Michael Richardson, were also charged, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) said in a statement.
The market had been waiting for details of the charges against ANZ and underwriters of the 2015 stock placement, Deutsche and Citigroup, since the ACCC flagged them on Friday.
All three banks on Friday denied wrongdoing and said they would defend the charges. Citigroup said the regulator was effectively criminalizing practices long seen as the norm in the financial industry.
The charges, which can carry hefty fines and 10-year prison terms, could lead to changes in the way institutional capital raisings are handled, and do further damage to the reputation of Australian lenders already mired in scandal.
The placement was made when Australian banks were under pressure to meet new capital requirements, which prompted ANZ and the country’s biggest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia , to raise a combined A$8 billion in a single week.


A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

Updated 05 December 2019

A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

  • Products used by WashyWash are non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral
  • Amman-based laundry service aims to relocate to a larger facility in mid-2020

AMMAN: A persistent sinus problem prompted a Jordanian entrepreneur to launch an eco-friendly dry-cleaning service that could help end the widespread use of a dangerous chemical.

“Dry cleaning” is somewhat of a misnomer because it is not really dry. It is true that no water is involved in the process, but the main cleaning agent is perchloroethylene (PERC), a chemical that experts consider likely to cause cancer, as well as brain and nervous system damage.

Kamel Almani, 33, knew little of these dangers when he began suffering from sinus irritation while working as regional sales director at Eon Aligner, a medical equipment startup he co-founded.

The problem would disappear when he went on vacation, so he assumed it was stress related.

However, when Mazen Darwish, a chemical engineer, revealed he wanted to start an eco-laundry and warned about toxic chemicals used in conventional dry cleaning, Almani had an epiphany.

“He began to tell me how PERC affects the respiratory system, and I suddenly realized that it was the suits I wore for work — and which I would get dry cleaned — that were the cause of my sinus problems,” said Almani, co-founder of Amman-based WashyWash.

“That was the eureka moment. We immediately wanted to launch the business.”

WashyWash began operations in early 2018 with five staff, including the three co-founders: Almani, Darwish and Kayed Qunibi. The business now has 19 employees and became cash flow-positive in July this year.

“We’re very happy to achieve that in under two years,” Almani said.

The service uses EcoClean products that are certified as toxin-free, are biodegradable and cause no air, water or soil pollution.

Customers place orders through an app built in-house by the company’s technology team.

WashyWash collects customers’ dirty clothes, and cleans, irons and returns them. Services range from the standard wash-and-fold to specialized dry cleaning for garments and cleaning of carpets, curtains, duvets and leather goods.

“For wet cleaning, we use environmentally friendly detergents that are biodegradable, so the wastewater doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals,” Almani said.

For dry cleaning, WashyWash uses a modified hydrocarbon manufactured by Germany’s Seitz, whose product is non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral.

A specialized company collects the waste and disposes of it safely.

The company has big ambitions, planning to expand its domestic operations and go international. Its Amman site can process about 1,000 items daily, but WashyWash will relocate to larger premises in mid-2020, which should treble its capacity.

“We’ve built a front-end app, a back-end system and a driver app along with a full facility management system. We plan to franchise that and have received interest from many countries,” Almani said.

“People visiting Amman used our service, loved it, and wanted an opportunity to launch in their countries.”

WashyWash has received financial backing from angel investors and is targeting major European cities initially.

“An eco-friendly, on-demand dry-cleaning app isn’t available worldwide, so good markets might be London, Paris or Frankfurt,” Almani said.

 

• The Middle East Exchange is one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives that was launched to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai in the field of humanitarian
and global development, to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. The initiative offers the press a series of articles on issues affecting Arab societies.