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Jes Staley set out to restore Barclays’s reputation after the bank was fined billions of pounds for scandals. Now the bank’s American CEO is caught up in his own drama. Barclays said today he will take a “significant” pay cut and face a regulatory probe for trying to unmask an anonymous whistle-blower last year. The violation of policy leaves Staley, 60, open to a fine or even a ban from the industry, if the Financial Conduct Authority deems him not “fit and proper” to lead the bank. Bloomberg Gadfly concludes that both Staley and Barclays need to recover a lot of ground. — Andy Reinhardt
Feeling the hot breath of Putin. NATO countries that border Russia by land or by sea are making the biggest increases in defense spending among the members. Romania, Latvia, and Lithuania are notching the largest percentage gains, while Estonia spends the most as a share of GDP, some 2.2 percent. Estonia’s president says a NATO buildup in the Baltics should soothe investors worried about conflict in the region.
Then there were four. A late surge by far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has turned the French presidential race into a four-way contest. The Communist-backed Melenchon, who performed well in last week’s televised debate, has caught up with François Fillon in the latest polls. Political newcomer Emmanuel Macron remains the front-runner, though he’s losing some momentum. For a rundown on all the top candidates and their positions, check out our guide.
Coming home. The Russian tycoon who made $1.4 billion with an early bet on Facebook and still owns a stake in Uber Technologies is returning to the sooty old commodities industry where he first made his fortune. Alisher Usmanov, 63, says he’s been investing in natural-resource producers during their recent rally after three years of declining prices.
Piling up. Volkswagen is making progress settling U.S. legal claims from its emission-cheating scandal, but one challenge looms unresolved: what to do with the hundreds of thousands of diesel cars it’s being forced to buy back. The defective cars are being stored for now in massive lots around America, and many could end up in scrap yards unless they’re fixed.
The “force behind the fortune.” A former Lone Star Funds executive going through a divorce is betting that his financial genius is enough to persuade U.K. appeals court judges that he deserves a larger share than his wife of a $225 million fortune. Randy Work is relying on a long-shot legal argument to ask for 66 percent of the couple’s estate.
Swimming with the fishes. Richard Branson has launched many a business venture. Rarely has he intentionally sunk one. But that’s exactly what he’ll do today (weather permitting), when he cuts the ribbon for his latest endeavor, a historic naval ship just south of Mountain Point in Virgin Gorda, part of the British Virgin Islands. After it sinks into the Atlantic, the ship will become a man-made reef and dive site.
Edited by Andy Reinhardt