2012 in cuts, fines and severances

This year’s golden and not-so-golden handshakes

Severance deals

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky: £62m

The CEO of Russian mining and smelting company Norilsk Nickel agreed on a $100m payoff from this December, as part of the settlement in an ongoing dispute at the mine.

Rebecca Brooks: £10.8m

The chief executive of News International received a £10.8m pay-off, after stepping down following the phone hacking scandal. The fee was described as compensation for loss of office, and appeared in the company’s accounts, released earlier this month.

Bob Diamond: £2m

The Barclays boss took salary and benefits worth slightly more than £2m when he resigned following the Libor scandal back in July, but waived bonuses worth up to £20m.

Andre Villas-Boas: £1.2m

Rather than receive a lump sum following his sacking as Chelsea’s manager, André Villas-Boas had the club pay his £100,000-a-week salary for three months, until he found a new job, in July as Tottenham Hotspur’s manager.

George Entwistle: £450,000

The director-general of the BBC was awarded £450,000 in November, double the terms of his contract, on leaving the post after 54 days in the position.

Chris Huhne: £17,000

The energy secretary resigned from the cabinet in February after being charged with perverting the course of justice, pocketing a tax-free severance fee of £17,000.


BP: £2.5bn

In November, the British oil and gas company agreed to pay $4bn (£2.5bn) in criminal fines and penalties for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

HSBC: £1.2bn

US prosecutors settled on a $1.9bn (£1.2bn) fine for the bank this month, for failing to implement anti-money laundering controls, enabling Mexican drug traffickers to deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars each day in the bank’s accounts.

Libor fixers: UBS: £940m; Barclays: £290m.

UBS and Barclays are chief among the banks fined this year for manipulating the interbank lending rate for financial gain.

Standard Chartered: £220m

Standard Chartered paid a $340m settlement to a US regulator which had accused it of scheming with Iran to hide billions of pounds’ worth of transactions from the US authorities, leaving the financial system susceptible to “terrorists” and “drug kingpins”.

UBS: £30m

The Swiss bank was fined by City regulators in November, after the bank’s lax controls allowed a 32-year-old trader to run up losses of more than £1.5bn in a series of secret deals.

Google: £14.4m

In August, the search engine’s parent company agreed to pay the US Federal Trade Commission $22.5m after admitting it monitored the browsing activity of Safari users who had selected the “do not track” privacy setting.

Starbucks: £10m

Though not a fine, the coffee company volunteered £10m in UK corporation tax for each for the next two years, following allegations of tax avoidance.

Tesco: £115,000

The UK border agency fined the supermarket chain for employing foreign students outside of the terms of their visas, following a raid on a Tesco warehouse in Croydon this July.

Public spending cuts

Department for Communities and Local government: £4.88bn

The central-government department for local-government concerns shouldered a 15% cut (£4.8bn) in its 2011-12 budget.

Department for Education: £2.01bn

State spending on education in 2011-2012 fell by 5.7% in real terms, with budgets cut for school infrastructure and Sure Start, the childcare and early-education support programme.

Prisons: £568m

Cuts of £568m to the prison budget have lead to fewer custodial sentences, as well as reductions in the number of prison officers and probation staff. The Ministry of Justice hopes that by 2015 there will be 3,000 fewer prisoners in British jails than there were in 2010.

Further education: £375m

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills managed a 7.9% spending cut (£375m) in part by knocking nearly 18% off its budget for teaching vocational qualifications and skills.

The Youth Justice Board: £88m

The system set in place to oversee the welfare of under-18s in the criminal justice system bore a disproportionate share of the Ministry of Justice’s savings.

The Serious Fraud Office: £7m

The SFO took a 19% cut in its budget, despite calls from prominent judges for an increase in funds, and the successful prosecution of Asil Nadir.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission: £7m

The agency took a 14% cut in its budget, and has been stripped of its duty to promote a society with equal opportunity for all. Its budget is set to fall by a further 50% by 2015.

• This article was amended on Thursday 27 December 2012 to make it clear Standard Chartered was not fined £220m over Libor-rigging – but settled for £220m over accusations it hid billions of pounds worth of transactions from authorities.

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