Warren Buffett, the veteran Nebraska investor revered as the Oracle of Omaha, has come riding to the rescue of Swiss Re, the world's largest reinsurance company, The Independent reports.
Mr Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway – which owns General Re, one of Swiss Re's two biggest rivals – has taken a 3% stake in the Zurich-based giant and will take over a large chunk of its future business.
The agreement frees up money that Swiss Re says it needs for share buy-backs, one of the only things propping up the share price since the company became embroiled in the sub-prime mortgage market meltdown. It also cements Mr Buffett's position as one of the big winners from the credit crisis.
SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE, France's second-biggest bank, has revealed that one of its traders in Paris had committed a 5bn euros (£3.7bn) fraud, The Telegraph reports.
The bank discovered that the trader, who was not named, secretly set up positions that will cost one of the most prestigious names in European banking 4.9bn euros before tax. The trader had gone beyond permitted limits on futures linked to European stock indexes.
Société Générale, which has had its shares suspended this morning, said today it had "uncovered a fraud, exceptional in its size and nature: one trader, responsible for plain vanilla futures hedging on European equity market indices, had taken massive fraudulent directional positions in 2007 and 2008 beyond his limited authority."
BANK OF AMERICA is planning to raise $6bn (£3.07bn) to shore up its balance sheet, The Times reports.
The mortgage lender, which this week unveiled a 95% slide in fourth-quarter profits, said that it proposed to raise the cash from the sale of a convertible bond and from a perpetual tranche of stock that would not have a maturity date for the debt to be repaid.
The moves prompted shares in America’s second-biggest bank to surge 9% yesterday.
The bank said that it would use the funds to meet operating costs. It added that it would issue and market the stock itself.
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