Top five stories you may have missed
Plush houseshares seen as housing crisis remedy
Sharing a flat with nine strangers may not be everyone’s idea of fun – even if there is a cinema room and a gym. But the concept making its way into Luxembourg could be a game-changer for the overheated housing market, real estate experts say.
As the cost of buying a home in the Grand Duchy continues to rise, the rental market also is becoming more costly. More people need to rent as they struggle to get a foot on the property ladder, and the steady flow of newcomers to the country prefer to let before investing in a home.
Since 2018, housing prices have increased by around 12% to 15% every year, reaching a maximum of 17% in 2020. Rental increases are capped at 5% of the capital invested in the property.
Coalition blocks probe into €110m waste contract
A majority of coalition lawmakers voted down a probe into a public waste management company despite a controversy over the so-called SuperDrecksKëscht, which a legal opinion found had been financed illegally.
Coalition deputies dismissed calls for an investigative parliamentary committee, claiming that they had scrutinised the contract enough. Any future probe should come from the prosecution, said Lydie Polfer, a pro-business liberal of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel's Democratic Party (DP).
Instead, lawmakers belonging to the three parties in the ruling coalition retroactively provided a legal basis for a €112 million contract the government had awarded to a private waste management company.
Questions linger on firing of government critic
Economy Minister Franz Fayot may not have pressured a private company in retaliation for an employee accusing Luxembourg's government of failing to warn the public ahead of flooding last summer, but that doesn't rule out pressure from other officials, two opposition lawmakers said on Thursday.
Accusations that the minister pressured a Dudelange hydrology company to fire a junior researcher, Jeff Da Costa, shortly after his accusations of government failings were aired in September by broadcaster RTL were "a lie," Fayot said earlier on Thursday in an interview with public radio station 100.7. He did not say whether anyone other than his close aides might have intervened on his behalf.
“It is a grave accusation that has no substance and I can tell you there was no pressure exerted from my side. I have to categorically reject” the claim, Fayot said.
Luxembourg freezes €210m of Russian assets held in freeport
Luxembourg has frozen a further €210 million in sanctioned Russian assets stowed away in the country's freeport, a fortress-like building at the airport where different tax rules apply, the government said on Monday, over 100 days into Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
It is the second time that the government has updated the total value of frozen Russian assets belonging to sanctioned Russian persons and companies after it said last week that Luxembourg banks and other financial institutions had frozen almost €4.3 billion.
Ex-spy admits he worked for accused crypto fraudster
Ex-spy Frank Schneider admitted that he and his Luxembourg company worked for alleged crypto-scammer Ruja Ignatova, who is a fugitive from police forces worldwide for an alleged multi-billion-euro OneCoin fraud.
"When I worked there, that was years ago, this [the nature of OneCoin] wasn't entirely clear to me. Now I see that many funds have disappeared" , Schneider said during an interview with public radio broadcaster 100,7 on Monday .
"If it was fraud, and then money laundering, then I need to be responsible for what I possibly might have done there", Schneider said.
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