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A Russian lawyer who met last year with President Trump’s oldest son and now-indicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has spoken out in a Bloomberg interview. Natalia Veselnitskaya says Donald Trump Jr. indicated that the so-called Magnitsky law that punishes Russians could be re-examined if his father won office. He also pressed her for written evidence that illegal proceeds from Russian investments were channeled to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which she didn’t provide. Trump Jr.’s lawyer said he had no comment. — Irina Reznik and Henry Meyer
Paradise papers. A massive leak of confidential information from an offshore law firm threatens to expose hidden wealth and show how corporations, hedge funds and wealthy individuals may have dodged taxes. Glencore, the world’s biggest commodities trader, was one of the top clients of the law firm. It is facing scrutiny for its activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Australia. Also in the spotlight: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Silicon Valley investor Yuri Milner, Queen Elizabeth II, and others.
Beefing up. European investment banks are hiring, raising the starting bids for compensation on both sides of the Atlantic. Firms including Barclays and Deutsche Bank want to build up their trading desks by poaching personnel from American rivals, according to recruiters. To gild the allure, they’re offering pay packages as much as 30 percent higher and, in some cases, guaranteed bonuses.
Electric future. At a pit stop on a Norwegian highway 34 miles (55 kilometers) north of Oslo, electric car owners will soon be able to charge their battery in as little as 10 minutes—a third of the time it takes now. They’ll also be able to wolf down a burrito and other foods while they wait. The Circle K petrol station is part of a pilot project to test how to respond to the electric-vehicle boom. By 2040, there could 530 million of them on the road, and Norway is adopting them faster than anywhere else.
A free man, for now. Less than a day after turning himself in to Belgian authorities, former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was released, as a court in Brussels considers how to respond to a Spanish demand for his arrest. Puigdemont and four former members of his government are barred from leaving Belgium while the court makes its decision within 15 days. The ousted leader can continue, for now, to challenge Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy, who called for regional elections on Dec. 21.
Saudi purge. Even by the standards of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has quickly consolidated his own power, the weekend crackdown was stunning. Security forces arrested princes, billionaires, ministers and former top officials in just a few hours, as the king announced an anti-corruption drive. Among those arrested was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men and a major international investor. The purge has some investors spooked, and it’s already putting a dent in one major global bank’s plans for the kingdom.
The painted word. It used to be that artists could come from just about any field—witness Alexander Calder, who studied engineering before becoming a sculptor. Now, the artists who make it into galleries and museums increasingly must have graduate degrees, particularly a masters in fine arts, before even getting in the door. The focus on pedigree is, in some respects, a throwback to the beaux arts tradition. But does it risk making art less genuine and more academic?
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha