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first_imgFirstEnergy Falters in Ohio Campaign for Bailout of Its Failing Power Plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Cleveland Plain Dealer:Neither the Trump administration nor Gov. John Kasich is inclined to give FirstEnergy’s struggling power plant company a free pass around competition, even as the number of competitors is increasing and the subsidiary faces bankruptcy.FirstEnergy Solutions, the unregulated power plant subsidiary that does business in wholesale and retail markets, is negotiating with its creditor. Standard & Poor’s has further reduced the bond credit rating of the subsidiary, reasoning that a bankruptcy filing is inevitable because the old plants cannot compete against new gas turbines. The first of 10 large gas-turbine power plants already approved by the state officially opened this week, generating nearly 900 megawatts of power — about the same as FirstEnergy’s nearby Davis-Besse nuclear plant. The Oregon Clean Energy Center in suburban Toledo is selling that power directly into the regional high-voltage grid’s competitive market, where Davis-Besse must compete as well.Similar-sized gas turbine plants are under construction in Lordstown, in Carroll County and in Butler County. The plants are said to be twice as efficient as Davis-Bess and are cheaper to run, at least for now.The Ohio Power Siting Board has approved another plant in Columbiana County and a fifth one in Monroe County. Applications are pending for three more plants and another is in a “pre-application” phase.Against this backdrop, Kasich this week said flatly he does not support FirstEnergy’s proposal before Ohio lawmakers to create “zero emission credits,” or ZECs, for its two nuclear power plants in recognition that the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants do not produce carbon dioxide. The proposal, labeled a “bailout” by opponents, is stuck in legislative committees.The ZECs would run for about 17 years, subject to periodic state review, initially raising total customer bills by about $300 million a year. Average consumer bills would increase by $5 a month, says the company. The company has been clear that even if the ZECs are enacted, it hopes to sell Perry and Davis-Besse, and all of its power plants, if it has to sell power in competitive markets.Kasich’s pro-market position appears to mirror the newly emerging position of the U.S. Department of Energy and the White House which, according to wire reports, have refused to declare a federal emergency to “save” old coal-fired plants and therefore save coal mining jobs as the president promised during his election campaign.FirstEnergy Solutions owns two of FirstEnergy’s big coal-fired plants, the W.H. Sammis plant in Straton, Ohio, on the Ohio River, and the Bruce Mansfield plant in Shippingport, Pa.FirstEnergy’s other large coal plants are owned either by subsidiary Allegheny Energy Supply, which is not known to be contemplating bankruptcy, or to MonPower, a regulated West Virginia utility. More: FirstEnergy power plant bailouts rebuffed by state and federal leaderslast_img read more

first_imgThe pair were both handed 21-month jail terms in a ruling recently confirmed by Spain’s supreme court.Now the original Barcelona trial court must decide whether the sentences should be suspended in accordance with Spanish custom for first-time offenders whose prison terms do not exceed two years.Prosecutors have asked for a two-year sentence and a €10m fine for Neymar, who was cleared of fraud but ordered to stand trial over alleged corruption in his 2013 move from Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona.Now Ronaldo has become the third and final member of the elite La Liga trio to face criminal accusations, after prosecutors announced they were pursuing the 32-year-old former Manchester United man on four counts of tax fraud.A source close to Ronaldo told the BBC that “he’s very sad and really upset” about the allegations. “He doesn’t want to stay in Spain. At this moment, he wants to leave,” the source said.Soon after David Beckham joined Real Madrid in 2003, he was able to enjoy a new tax-exemption scheme aimed at attracting foreign talent to Spain across all sectors. That scheme became known as the Beckham Law, when he became one of the first players to sign up to a six-year-long tax ceiling of 24%, roughly half what Spaniards paid on six-figure-plus incomes.Spain was in the midst of an unprecedented economic boom, a perfect playground for “galacticos” of the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, before the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and the emergence of Barcelona prodigy Lionel Messi.But in 2010 the Beckham Law was scrapped for salaries of more than €600,000, and since then tax inspectors have begun to wise up to the use of complex financial operations using offshore shell companies to get around tax laws.“The line between avoidance and evasion is very fine in these cases. In the past few years Spain’s tax agency has intensified its control over footballers and their companies, checking to see if they are mere fronts or whether they are really active economically,” explains Carlos Cruzado, president of tax inspectors’ union Gestha.Neymar is the odd one out. His case involves alleged wrongdoing towards a contractual party regarding his transfer fee, but the forward has been found guilty in his native Brazil for tax fraud on money earned while playing for Santos.The Messi and Ronaldo cases are similar. Both are accused of avoiding tax on sale of image rights by using offshore companies. However, the Portuguese was registered as a non-resident taxpayer under the Beckham Law, while the Argentine has spent his entire adult life registered in Spain.Prosecutors accuse the Real Madrid star of evading tax of €14.7m between 2011 and 2014 via an alleged shell company called Tollin Associates, registered in the British Virgin Islands.Spanish investigators say the company, owned by Ronaldo, is a “screen” and has no economic activity apart from having bought and then ceded the player’s image rights to a firm based in Ireland that “genuinely manages [his] rights sales”.Prosecutors also claim that money earned from image rights was incorrectly described as capital gains, to benefit from a lower tax rate.Lionel Messi was informed by the judge in his case it was no defence to plead ignorance and argue that his father was the only person who knew how his money was being managed.Neymar has denied any wrongdoing and told the court investigating his case that his father and associates dealt with off-field business matters.Cristiano Ronaldo’s representatives and legal team say the only dispute can be about quantity and that there has been no intention to commit fraud. “There is no tax evasion scheme… There has never been any hiding nor any intention to hide anything,” they say.They argue he has paid tax to the Spanish treasury on 20% of his total image rights when, in fact, more than 90% of these are generated outside Spain as he is such a global name.“The tax agency clearly thinks that if he is being paid for wearing certain boots, shirts or caps in Spain, then he cannot claim this money is being earned abroad,” explains Mr Cruzado.Neymar and Lionel Messi look set to be spared prison due to Spain’s unwritten two-year-sentence rule, even if Neymar is eventually found guilty.Cristiano Ronaldo may be a different matter. Three of the four accusations of tax fraud are considered by prosecutors to be “aggravated”, so they carry a minimum sentence of two years each. Four guilty verdicts and he could face as many as seven years.However, an investigating judge needs to ratify the prosecutors’ accusations, and that could take many months or even years.Even if the investigating magistrate does take up the case, the Portuguese will have several options and a guilty verdict would not necessarily mean jail.He could admit guilt, pay taxes and fines in advance and reduce any eventual jail term to a half or quarter of the statutory minimum. That way he would slip under the standard two-year bar for first-time offenders and see his sentence suspended.LA LIGA RICH LIST*$93mCristiano Ronaldo: $58m salary, $35m endorsements*$80m Lionel Messi: $53m salary, $27m endorsements*$37m Neymar: $15m salary, $22m endorsementsShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Spain has attracted arguably the three brightest lights of world football, with Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Neymar all plying their skills in La Liga.Over the past year, football fans have become used to seeing the trio caught up in accusations of tax fraud and other financial crimes by the Spanish courts.And they are not the only players in the crosshairs of the Spanish judiciary. In 2016, Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Barcelona team-mate, Javier Mascherano, received a one-year suspended prison sentence for tax fraud.Lionel Messi and father Jorge were last year convicted of defrauding the Spanish state of €4.1m (£3.6m; $4.6m) in unpaid taxes on the striker’s image rights, controlled by offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay.last_img read more

first_imgAndrew Ayew’s worldie: #SWABRE pic.twitter.com/yHPr3PQkLl— Dan〽️ (@dmlnkv) July 26, 2020 The Premier League’s Top 4 and relegation battles might have dominated the headlines on Sunday but one Ghanaian in the Championship might have scored the goal of the weekend.Ghana captain, Andre Ayew scored a fantastic goal on Sunday to give Swansea a slight advantage in their Playoffs semi against Brentford.The Black Stars captain had earlier missed a penalty for the Swans as the Welsh side looked to take an important lead into the second leg.With the game seemingly heading to a stalemate Ayew pounced on some great build-up play from Gallagher and Fulton to fire home a magnificent winner.His effort was beautifully hit on the half-volley and flew into the back of the net.It sparked wild celebrations from the home players and fans who had scraped into the playoffs on goal difference.The Swans will now take their slim lead into the second leg at Brentford with both teams aiming to reach the final which will be played at Wembley.The winner of that final will take the final Premier League spot for next season.Take a look at the magnificent strike below:last_img read more