Ex-Car Czar Said to Settle With S.E.C. in Pension Case

Steven Rattner, the former car czar, has agreed to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over kickback claims involving the New York State pension fund, a person with knowledge of the negotiation said Wednesday.

Mr. Rattner will accept a multiyear ban from the securities industry and pay a fine of more than $5 million, the person said. He is still in negotiations over a similar settlement with the office of the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo.

The settlement, which is expected to be announced on Thursday, caps a multiyear investigation by the government into kickbacks paid to officials with New York’s pension fund. Earlier this month, Alan G. Hevesi, the state’s former comptroller, pleaded guilty to a corruption charge involving the state fund.

The Quadrangle Group, the private equity firm co-founded by Mr. Rattner, settled with the S.E.C. and Mr. Cuomo’s office in the spring and disavowed Mr. Rattner’s conduct in a statement. The firm agreed to pay $7 million to the pension fund and $5 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read More

New immigration and nationality fees

Revised immigration fees set at or below the cost of processing have come into effect on 1 October 2010.

The new fees were announced on 9 September. They are listed in the UK Border Agency fees table, which you can find under ‘Related documents’ on the right side of the page or their Fees for our services section.

In line with the new fees, they have published new versions of the following application forms and guidance:

  • NTL form and guide
  • TOC form and guide
  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker) form
  • PBS Dependant form
  • Tier 4 (Help text leaflet form) (G)

Click here for fees table.

Call Ceremony in Ghana

I arrived in Ghana last night and was lucky to have been reserved a V.V.I.P. ticket to attend the Call Ceremony of the newest lawyers in Ghana. On this day, one hundred and ninety eight (198) lawyers were admitted to practise law in Ghana. I could not miss this ceremony for obvious reasons. I had friends who were being called to the Bar. I watched as these newly admitted lawyers walked around with their families in their brand new wigs, collar, bands and gowns. I then thought to myself “I have done this on two occasions – England and Wales and New York”.

The ceremony was held in the Banquet Hall of the State House. In attendance were the Chief Justice – Georgina Woode, Attorney General and Minister of Justice – Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrissu, MP for Subin – Hon. Isaac Osei, Paapa Owusu Ankomah, Lord Justices of the Superior and other courts, prominent members of the Bar amongst other distinguish ladies and gentlemen.

The Chief Justice encouraged the newly admitted lawyers to commit some of their valuable time to pro bono, to uphold the integrity of the legal profession and to focus on legal practice as opposed to going for just money. She took the opportunity to advise the newly admitted lawyers to help fight the problem of corruption affecting the legal profession. Finally, she encouraged them to consider a career on the Bench.

It was a beautiful ceremony and I wish all the newly admitted lawyers all the best in their respective careers.

Smarter immigration controls pledge

Immigration minister Damian Green is expected to promise “smarter” controls on entry to the UK when he releases research showing that tens of thousands of people admitted on student visas were still in the country five years later.

In his first major speech since the coalition Government took office, Mr Green will acknowledge that the annual cap on economic migrants from outside the EU will not be enough on its own to deliver the target of reducing net immigration to the tens of thousands.

He will also promise to look at “all routes into the UK” and set new rules to ensure that only the “brightest and best” migrants enter the country to study and work. Priority will also be given to improving controls over foreign students and their dependants, more than 300,000 of whom were granted visas last year. Read More

Immigration limit for Tier 1 (General) of the points-based system

19 July 2010

From 19 July 2010, there are two important changes for migrants making initial applications under Tier 1 (General) of the points-based system:

  • the introduction of an interim limit for Tier 1 (General) applications made outside the UK, for the period until 31 March 2011; and
  • an increase in the number of points required for an initial Tier 1 (General) application, from 95 to 100. Read More