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Top five stories you may have missed
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Top five stories you may have missed

4 min. 28.01.2023
In case you missed them, the Luxembourg Times has selected the best stories of the week for you
ChatGPT can mimic human speech
ChatGPT can mimic human speech
Photo credit: Shutterstock

ChatGPT brings mix of thrill and fear to Luxembourg

Just two months old, ChatGPT has wowed the world with writing that seems too good to come out of a robot. Tell it to compose a poem, sit for an exam or write an essay for school, and it will do so faster than any human ever could.

The software - developed in Silicon Valley - has triggered hopes tedious writing chores are a thing of the past. It has also sparked fears humans may lose their jobs to the chatbot, and of wide-spread cheating at schools.

Those reactions were no different in Luxembourg's budding start-up scene - home to about 700 up-and-coming firms with their own ideas for business innovation - and at the university in the south of the country.

Verstappen keeps cash in Luxembourg despite tax change

Formula One world champion Max Verstappen continues to manage cash flowing from his trademark name and logo through a Luxembourg company, even after the country ditched a tax benefit that had made it a haven for celebrities protecting their intellectual property.

Verstappen, who resides in Monaco, is the sole shareholder of Mavic Sàrl, according to the Luxembourg business register. The company owns Verstappen's trademarks in the EU, the US and the UK, according to trademark registers in those three jurisdictions.

In 2016, Mavic sued online supermarket Picnic in the Netherlands, alleging that a Verstappen lookalike used in marketing was too closely based on the F1 driver. The Dutch Supreme Court tossed the case last year, after an Amsterdam court initially ruled in favour of Mavic, awarding it €150,000 in damages.

Brad Pitt offered options for sharing Luxembourg business

The ball is in Brad Pitt’s court, a Luxembourg judge confirmed on Thursday, as the "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" actor weighs options to settle his battle with ex-wife Angelina Jolie’s former holding company. 

A spillover from the breakup of the former Hollywood power-couple dubbed “Brangelina” is playing out in the Grand Duchy in a fight for control of Luxembourg holding company Quimicum. That company, which Pitt and Jolie once owned jointly, controls a winery and estate in southern France called Château Miraval, where the pair were married in 2014.

The court dispute followed Jolie's 2021 sale of her half of the estate's ownership, held through a company called Nouvel, to Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler. Jolie's former stake is now owned by a subsidiary of Shefler's Luxembourg-based vodka and drinks company Stoli Group.

The next Voltaire? Poetry buff? Come work in finance!

When UBS Fund Management CEO Francesca Prym sat down with her husband to review some investments they were considering, the Luxembourg-based manager realised his engineering background helped him rapidly understand the mathematic formulas disclosing the risks.

It added to a growing sense that recruiting only people with a background in finance at the Swiss company is a mistake - a realisation that has been building among asset managers and private bankers, Prym said.

"Our business is extremely complex and if you wanted to satisfy our clients, you needed to diversify the profiles of your teams. So you need people ... who come to different assessments and different conclusions [so you can] choose the best one," she said.

Commercial real estate market slows on costs, interest

Luxembourg's commercial and residential property markets are on the downturn as rising interest rates and soaring constructions costs weigh down activity, real estate services company JLL said on Wednesday.

New commercial tenants took up just over 210,000 square metres of offices last year, a more than 40% drop compared to a record year in 2021, JLL said. One-fifth of that space was rented by the government or companies owned by the state, the company said.

Investment in the country's commercial properties fell in 2022 compared to the previous five years, reaching €800 million, down from investments of €2 billion in 2019, JLL said.

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