Barclays probes ID theft claims

Barclays had launched an investigation after a newspaper reported that the personal details of 27 000 customers had been stolen and sold, it said yesterday. Confidential data on customers’ earnings and health, as well as passport details, had ended up for sale, The Mail on Sunday reported, citing data provided to it by a whistle-blower. Barclays said it had notified regulators and started an investigation, the initial findings of which suggested the files were linked to the Barclays financial planning business, which closed in 2011. “This appears to be criminal action and we will co-operate with the authorities on pursuing the perpetrator,” the bank said. – Reuters


Nestlé to cut L’Oreal stake

Nestlé was exploring ways to reduce its $30 billion (R331bn) stake in L’Oreal and had signalled its intentions to the management of the largest cosmetics maker, people with knowledge of the matter said at the weekend. Nestlé had raised the issue with L’Oreal at the highest levels and both sides had discussed the matter with banks, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks were private. Any move by the company to gradually reduce the 29 percent stake could take years, several of the people said, citing the size of the holding and the close, complex nature of the relationship between the companies and the Bettencourt family behind L’Oreal. – Bloomberg


Bitcoin ‘is not a legal currency’

Russian authorities have issued warnings against using Bitcoin, saying the virtual currency could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism and that treating it as a parallel currency was illegal. “Systems for anonymous payments and cyber currencies that have gained considerable circulation – including the most well-known, Bitcoin – are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities,” the Russian prosecutor-general’s office said last week. – Reuters