Alex Swney pleads guilty to fraud charge over $2.5 mln of payments

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. Swney appeared in the Auckland District Court today to answer the charge brought by the Serious Fraud Office. According to an SFO statement, Swney admitted that while at Heart of the City he created fictitious invoices wh…

  • Aust shares open higher AAP - 31 minutes ago
    Aust shares open higher

    The Australian sharemarket has opened stronger after comments from Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens raised expectations of an interest rate cut in May. "The (RBA) board has, moreover, clearly signalled a willingness to lower it even further, should that be helpful in securing sustainable economic growth," he said. IG market strategist Stan Shamu said the comments had provided a boost to the share market on Tuesday.

  • G8 Education faces higher childcare costs AAP - 42 minutes ago

    Childcare centre operator G8 Education is facing steeper costs ahead of new laws on staff to child ratios coming into force in 2016. G8, which owns 455 centres, says it expects costs to rise by around three per cent, or $2 to $2.20 per child, if the changes are introduced as planned in January. The federal government's National Quality Standard introduced nationally consistent educator-to-child ratios for children under two in 2012. "G8 will make a decision on possible policy changes after the federal government releases its family care package in the near future," the company said on Tuesday.

  • Novogen poised for capital raising AAP - 45 minutes ago

    Cancer therapy biotech Novogen has placed its shares in a trading halt ahead of an expected announcement about a capital raising. Novogen says it is preparing an announcement about a placement of ordinary ...

  • Rio iron ore sales fell in Q1 AAP - 46 minutes ago
    Rio iron ore sales fell in Q1

    Rio Tinto's iron ore shipments have fallen 12 per cent during the March quarter, a period when it was largely blamed for over-supplying and pushing down the price of Australia's top export. Rio, the world's second largest iron ore miner, shipped 72.5 million tonnes for the three months to March, well down on the previous quarter and on expectations of about 80 million tonnes. The iron ore price went from above $US70 a tonne to below $US50 during that period. Deutsche Bank analysts had forecast sales of 82.7 million tonnes for Rio, while UBS' forecast was for nearly 80 million.

  • Leighton shareholders to vote on new name AAP - 1 hour 12 minutes ago

    Leighton Holdings shareholders are set to decide whether to change the engineering construction giant's 66-year-old name. Executive chairman Marcelino Fernández Verdes has told the company's annual general meeting the proposed new name for the listed firm was CIMIC Group, standing for Construction, Infrastructure, Mining and Concessions. "A change to the name CIMIC is just one outward sign of the changes we will be making to our company," he said on Tuesday.

  • Callaghan seeks repayment of Trends Publishing grant; … BusinessDesk - 1 hour 14 minutes ago

    Callaghan suspended the research and development growth grant in December after an audit of Trends' funding claims. "I need to seek some good advice," Johnson said, when asked whether he would accept the demand for repayment of the grant.

  • Federal budget news dents confidence AAP - 1 hour 27 minutes ago

    The federal government's promise of a "dull" budget has done little to ease consumer concerns, as confidence tumbles in the lead-up to its May 12 release. Confidence fell almost one per cent ...

  • Migrants drawn by jobs, welfare to Europe AAP - 1 hour 29 minutes ago

    For tens of thousands of migrants who survive the hazardous crossing of the Mediterranean, the journey often continues as they slip through cracks in Italy's border controls and head north. With Italy's unemployment at 13 per cent, many new arrivals would rather settle in the wealthier welfare states of northern Europe where there are better job opportunities and more established refugee communities. Helped by a blind eye from Italian authorities and visa-free travel inside Europe, migrants can relatively easily make it all the way to Scandinavia before they apply for asylum - even though European Union rules state they should do so in the first EU country they enter. Of the 435,000 people who applied for asylum in 2014 in the 28-nation European Union, nearly half did so in Germany and Sweden.

  • Oil Search on track to meet forecasts AAP - 1 hour 38 minutes ago

    Oil Search remains on track to meet its full year production forecasts despite reporting a dip in the March quarter. Total production fell five per cent to 6.91 million barrels of oil equivalent in the three months to March 31, down from 7.24 mmboe in the December quarter. Oil Search said the decline had been expected because of lower production at its PNG LNG plant which underwent scheduled maintenance. Production rates were fully restored by the end of the quarter and the company remained on track to meet its 2015 full year production guidance of 26-28 mmboe, Oil Search said.

  • Leighton profit guidance on track AAP - 1 hour 39 minutes ago

    Construction giant Leighton Holdings has reaffirmed its full year profit guidance after lifting earnings during the first three months of 2015. Leighton recorded a five per cent increase in first quarter ...

  • Singtel to ditch ASX listing AAP - 1 hour 53 minutes ago

    The Singapore-based company behind Optus will ditch its Australian stock market listing amid a lack of interest in its shares. Singtel has requested its CHESS Depository Interests (CDI) be removed from trading on the ASX, telling investors they can either transfer their holding to Singapore's exchange or sell their shares. The company said trading volumes for its Australian CDI's were very low, with institutional investors preferring to hold shares on the SGX, and is seeking to remove the listing to save costs. If the ASX approves the de-listing, Singtel shares are expected to stop trading in Australia on May 29.

  • Banks owe moral obligation: Labor senator AAP - 2 hours 3 minutes ago

    Labor senator Sam Dastyari has accused big banks of not meeting their moral and social obligation as they face another parliamentary grilling. Senior officers from the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, National Australia Bank and Macquarie Bank are set to front a Senate committee investigating financial advice wrongdoings. Senator Dastyari, writing in Fairfax Media, says it is not too much to expect the banks to have better funded measures to deal with the victims of financial misconduct.

  • Halliburton says has cut 9,000 jobs AAP - 2 hours 4 minutes ago

    Halliburton Co has cut 9,000 jobs - more than 10 per cent of its workforce - in about six months and is considering more cost-cutting moves as falling oil prices sap demand for its drilling help. Halliburton executives disclosed the job cuts on Monday on a conference call with investors. Halliburton President Jeff Miller said he wasn't ready to say the worst has passed, but that such slumps usually last about three quarters. The oil-market decline caused Halliburton to take $US1.2 billion in charges in the first quarter, including severance and write-offs, said the company's acting chief financial officer, Christian Garcia.

  • Aust bond prices lower AAP - 2 hours 15 minutes ago

    Australian bond prices are lower as a rebound in risk appetite has investors flocking toward shares. The Australian share market is set to open higher following strong gains in Europe and the US overnight, ...

  • Rio lifts production to 72.5mt AAP - 2 hours 18 minutes ago
    Rio lifts production to 72.5mt

    Rio Tinto, the world's second largest iron ore miner, shipped 72.5 million tonnes during the March quarter, up nine per cent on a year ago. The company reaffirmed guidance for nearly 350 million tonnes this year, a record, with the iron ore price having plunged to below $US50 a tonne this year. Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said Rio was continuing to drive efficiency in all aspects of the business, which was reflected in a solid production performance during the first quarter.

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