British millionaire cleared of murdering his wife; Payday lender repays nearly $480,000: Midday Roundup

British millionaire cleared of murdering his wife; Payday lender repays nearly $480,000: Midday Roundup

British millionaire businessman Shrien Dewani has been cleared by a South African court for murdering his bride on their honeymoon, reports Fairfax.

Judge Jeannette Traverso said prosecutors had failed to be convincing in a sensational trial where Dewani’s sexuality played a key role, saying the state’s evidence had “fallen far below” the level needed to secure a conviction.

Dewani was accused of hiring hitmen to hijack and murder his 28-year-old Swedish bride Anni in Cape Town in November 2010. Prosecutors alleged Dewani was motivated to order his wife’s murder because he is gay and felt pressure from his family to get married.

But Dewani denied the allegations and said he loved his wife.

Traverso admitted there were “a number of unanswered questions” about the murder and “strong public opinion” that Dewani should be tried, but said her decision was based on legal precedent.

Payday lender repays nearly $480,000

New South Wales payday lender Fast Easy Loans has been made to reimburse more than 2000 consumers a total of $477,900, after the consumer watchdog alleged it had charged customers a brokerage fee where it was prohibited from doing so.

Fast Easy acted as the broker for a related lender, Easy Finance Loans, from September 2010 to June 2013, allegedly charging customers a brokerage fee in excess of state and territory interest rate caps. In doing so, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission found the company had engaged in credit activities without a credit licence.

The federal government capped high-interest payday loans in July 2013 to make sure broker costs did not sit outside the small amount loan cap across various states and territories.

“Our message to the industry and those who advise payday lenders is clear; if you set up business models to avoid the small amount loan cap, ASIC will take action”, ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said in a statement.

Shares down on open

Local shares have opened down this morning following a weak overnight lead globally, despite a strong start to the week yesterday.

“Twenty-four hours is a long time in markets,” CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said.

“In overnight trading, shares and commodities sold off as investor focus shifted from US economic strength to a weaker outlook for Asia. Asia Pacific markets appear ready to give up yesterday’s gains, and more. A weak opening is expected, but potential for further Peoples’ Bank of China stimulus should limit the falls.”

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 59.5 points to 5313.2 points at 11.56pm AEDT. On Monday, the Dow Jones closed 106.31 points lower, diving 0.59% to 17,852.5 points.

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