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‘My tax return was on my yacht. It caught fire.’
December 21, 2016 / 5:49 PM / a year ago

‘My tax return was on my yacht. It caught fire.’

Exclusive: Blackstone’s Senfina hedge fund not so everlasting

Visitors and revelers gather among the prehistoric stones of Britain’s Stonehenge monument at dawn on winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Blackstone Group is winding down its “big bet” hedge fund Senfina Advisors LLC after it faced mounting double-digit losses on its investments this year. It’s a rare setback for the private equity titan, which invests roughly $70 billion in hedge funds and launched Senfina, which means “everlasting” in Esperanto, to great fanfare in 2014.The fund is down 24 percent this year through November.

Exclusive: Riyadh to loosen purse strings next year

Saudi Arabia’s state budget for 2017, expected to be released tomorrow, will boost spending to support economic growth while raising domestic energy prices to ease the government’s subsidy burden, sources told Reuters. The government is also expected to announce that its budget deficit fell sharply this year to 297 billion riyals ($79.2 billion).

The dog ate my tax returns

The British government’s tax collector says it receives dozens of unusual excuses each year from customers who fail to complete their returns on time. They include “My tax return was on my yacht ... which caught fire.” Generally, taxpayers who self-assess must meet a deadline on Jan. 31 each year to complete their forms and pay outstanding sums. The penalty for late filing starts at 100 GBP ($124).

Commentary: Next year could be even worse

“2016 looks set to keep throwing out unexpected, often brutal surprises,” writes Reuters columnist Peter Apps in the wake of the Ankara assassination and the Berlin market attack. “If 1989 – the year the Berlin Wall fell – was the point at which globalization, liberal democracy and the Western view of modernity was seen to triumph, the year now concluding might be seen as when the wheels came off.”

Merging the watchdogs

The top financial merger of 2017 will be America’s two markets watchdogs – the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission – writes Reuters Breakingviews columnist Gina Chon. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to cut regulation; the country’s labyrinth of finance overseers offers a rich target. But thanks to their heavy entrenchment in Congress, Trump and his Treasury secretary-nominee, Steven Mnuchin, will need to marshal all their negotiating skills to hammer out a deal, she says.

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