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Saturday, 1 August 2009

Minn. investors learn money trail has weird turns

Dozens of investors who have been frantically trying to withdraw their life savings from a controversial currency investment program promoted by some Twin Cities firms learned this week that the money trail may lead to Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

But so far, they were told, no one knows exactly where their money is, except perhaps a Burnsville investment adviser named Trevor Cook, and he's not talking.

No one seems to know how many people invested in the "currency arbitrage" strategy. But a lawyer who spoke to Cook's attorney, John Thompson, said he thinks there are about 1,000 accounts averaging somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000. Thompson declined to comment Friday and said Cook would not comment either.

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Era of sponsorship ends in Bahrain

Bahrain on Saturday became the first Gulf state to abolish controversial labour laws that restrict the free movement of workers amid praise from rights groups and criticism from local industry.

The government now takes over responsibility for the sponsorship of hundreds of thousands of expatriates in the Gulf island kingdom previously held by foreign workers’ employers.

Gulf states operate a system where employees' work visas are issued through their employer. The sponsorship system has been criticised for giving employers too much power over workers and leaving them open to abuse and exploitation.

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Exxon Mobil confident over LNG projects

Exxon Mobil’s quartet of big liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Qatar are progressing towards completion by the end of this year.

All of the new production facilities for the supercooled gas, which the US company is developing with Qatari government-owned partners, were on track for start-up within the next five months, said David Rosenthal, Exxon Mobil’s vice president of investor relations.

“We’re looking forward to getting those four trains up and running and the products into the market,” he said during a conference call.

MGM Mirage to post 2Q earnings on Monday

MGM Mirage is to report its second-quarter financial results before the market opens on Monday. Below is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage is the world's second-largest gambling company by revenue, the owner and operator of 16 casinos in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan. It also has 50 percent investments in four other properties.

The success of the company is tied to its ability to develop and operate casino resorts. Its primary shareholder — who lost his majority interest in the company in May when the company issued new stock — is billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian.