Top 10 Stories of Last Week! 26/07/2021

The week’s news included; Amazon fined $886m over GDPR breach, Monzo under FCA investigation, CMA fines drugmaker $100m for raising drug price by 1100%, Boohoo drops DaBaby.

Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page, Facebook page and Instagram Page, for regular posts of important headlines. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.

Opinion articles of the week: 

  • City A.M – Morrisons takeover could trigger breakup, analysts warn
  • CNBC – Cryptocurrency is taking off as a way to pay for those vacation getaways
  • City A.M – Is it fair for businesses to go completely cashless?

1. AMAZON FINED $886M OVER GDPR BREACH

Luxembourg’s data protection regulator has fined Amazon $886.6m for breaching data laws. According to the Commission Nationale pour la Protection des Données (CNPD), Amazon has allegedly failed to meet GDPR rules regarding its processing of personal data. The fine was disclosed in Amazon’s latest filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Further details of the breach have not been disclosed.

Amazon says the fine was “without merit” and it will defend itself “vigorously” against the fine. Despite this, this is by far the largest fine issued for a breach of GDPR since its introduction in 2018. Google currently holds the crown for largest GDPR fine, after facing a €50m penalty in 2019.

2. MONZO UNDER INVESTIGATION

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched an investigation into Monzo due to potential breaches of money laundering regulations. Digital bank Monzo was one of many retail banks warned in May over potential failures in complying with financial crime rules. The specific nature of Monzo’s breaches has not been disclosed but the FCA is investigating its conduct between October 2018 and May 2021. Monzo has said it is cooperating with the investigation.

This investigation follows swathes of complaints against Monzo last year over its freezing of accounts at the start of the pandemic.

3. SCARLETT JOHANSSON SUES DISNEY

Actress Scarlett Johansson is suing Walt Disney over its streaming release of the film Black Widow. Johansson starred in Black Widow and claims Disney breached their contractual obligations by releasing the film on its Disney+ streaming service on the same day it debuted in cinemas. Disney’s contract with Johansson allegedly contained a clause guaranteeing the film would exclusively be first released in theatres. Furthermore, her salary was directly linked to the box office performance of the film. With the film available to stream on Disney+, this will materially impact her salary and was a clear breach of contract, according to Johansson.

Disney claims however, “there is no merit whatsoever” to the lawsuit and claim they have fully complied with the contract. They further note, she has already been paid $20 million for the film and can contractually gain additional compensation from the film being on Disney+. They claim the lawsuit shows “callous disregard” for the impact of the pandemic on the industry.

4. CMA FINES DRUGMAKER £100M

The Competition and Markets Authority has fined drug company Advanz £100m for increasing prices of thyroid treatment tablets by 1100% in 8 years. Advanz produces Liothyronine, a drug designed to treat thyroid hormone deficiency. Despite being a generic drug, it is not widely produced. Due to this lack of supply, Advanz increased prices of liothyronine tablets excessively, seeing the packs rise from £20 in 2009 to £248 in 2017. This drug subsequently became unaffordable for the NHS.

The CMA identified this as a breach of competition law and will allow the NHS to seek compensation. The £100m fine applies to Advanz and two related private equity firms. Advanz has protested the CMA’s decision and has said it will appeal.

5. PUMA WITHDRAWS OPPOSITION TO NIKE TRADEMARK

Puma has officially withdrawn its opposition against Nike’s attempt to trademark “footware” in the US. In May, Puma was delivered a blow when the UK Intellectual Property Office dismissed its attempt to block Nike’s registration of the trademark. Nike sought to protect “footware” with reference to the use of technology and software in connection with shoes. The saga has been ongoing since 2019 and Puma protested that “footware” was a “descriptive” term and could not be trademarked. They argued many competitors combined technology and software with footwear products and objected to giving Nike ownership of the term “footware”. Last week however, Puma withdrew its opposition in the US. Puma has not withdrawn opposition in the UK and can take the case to the UK Court of Appeal, if it wishes to do so.

6. NISSAN TO CREATE NEW UK JOBS

Nissan has announced that it will create 400 new jobs at its Sunderland factory. This forms part of a £1 billion investment in the site which will help it ramp up its production of electric vehicles. Nissan will be building a new electric battery factory and creating 6000 jobs in total over the coming years. The automaker has also chosen Sunderland as the place to build its all electric Qashqai SUV and Juke models.

The UK government had promised Nissan £100 million in funding due to its commitment to the UK. Nissan and its vote of confidence in the UK are considered the poster child of post-Brexit automotive Britain. Nissan recently overtook Jaguar Land Rover to become the UK’s largest vehicle manufacturer.

7. NETFLIX TO OPEN PHYSICAL STORE

Netflix is to open its first ever permanent physical store in Japan in 2022. The streaming giant aims to merge the virtual world with the real world. The high-tech store will focus on hosting immersive experiences related to TV shows on its platforms.

Netflix recently opened an online store in the US, offering Netflix branded and TV show related merchandise. It has partnered with fashion retailers to help design and create some of the products. The physical store in Tokyo will host some of this merchandise.

Furthermore, Netflix is reportedly looking to offer free mobile games to subscribers from next year. Netflix clearly has its sights set on longevity through diversification of its services. Whether this diversification of services will be successful remains to be seen.

8. KOPPARBERG SUES HMRC

Swedish drink manufacturer Kopparberg has launched a High Court case accusing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of tax discrimination. They claimed the UK applied excessive duties on imported alcoholic ciders and allowed British producers to use a tax loophole. British producers use a loophole called post duty point dilution (PDPD). This is where UK flavoured wine & cider producers only pay duty on the imported wine concentrates, but not on the final product. Foreign flavoured wine & cider makers, however, pay full duties to import their products in the UK. Kopparberg claims this loophole is unlawful tax discrimination, in breach of EU state aid rules, and unfairly reduced it profits.

While PDPD has been banned for beer and pure cider for over 20 years, PDPD for flavoured ciders & wines were only banned by HMRC in 2020 after a warning from the EU Commission. Now Kopparberg is seeking compensation for its unrealised profits caused by this loophole.

9. BOOHOO DROPS DABABY

Fashion retailer Boohoo has dropped rapper DaBaby from its menswear campaign after his homophobic rant during a live show. In his performance at the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami he made comments against those living with HIV and AIDS as well as gay people. His comments caused a backlash across the music world and businesses are cutting ties. Boohoo condemned his comments and said they would no longer be working with him. Boohoo had recently launched a 100-piece collection featuring DaBaby.

DaBaby strangely responded to the backlash saying this was “weak a** internet issue” and that none of his gay fans are living with HIV or AIDS.

10. TESCO BANK TO CLOSE ACCOUNTS

Tesco Bank has announced that it will close all of its personal and business accounts. The bank has roughly 213,000 customer accounts but the vast majority of these accounts have limited activity and are not used as a primary account. Customers will now be asked to withdraw all money from their accounts before November 30. Tesco Bank says this will allow it to focus on its other products such as insurance products, credit cards and loans.

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