Top five stories you may have missed
In case you missed them, The Luxembourg Times has selected the best stories of the week for you
Must get Luxembourg wage bumps, EIB staff lawyer pleads
Employees at the European Investment Bank should receive the same wage indexation as those working for Luxembourg companies and the government, a lawyer hired by the bank's staff representatives said in a note posted on the EIB’s internal website on Friday.
The salaries of employees working at the EU bank did not rise when Luxembourg bumped up wages and pensions by 2.5% in April, two people familiar with the bank’s payslips told the Luxembourg Times.
Under Luxembourg law, all wages and pensions rise automatically by 2.5% if inflation hits a certain threshold.
EIB staff working at its headquarters in Kirchberg “should be subject to automatic indexation of their salaries according to Luxembourgish law”, to put them on an equal footing with other workers in the country, the lawyer said in the note, seen by the Luxembourg Times.
Sultan's fight over Luxembourg cash could take years
Descendants of the former sultan of Sulu managed to seize the assets of two Luxembourg companies belonging to Malaysian oil giant Petronas last month - but getting the money in their bank accounts may take many more years.
Because it is a magnet for tens of thousands of holding companies, Luxembourg is often the stage for such high-stakes fights from far-away locations. But while they make for good headlines, in reality they are tedious battles between lawyers, with chances of success dim.
A French arbitration court found in February that a lease agreement the British coloniser had signed with the sultan of Sulu in 1878 - and which Malaysia had inherited after its independence - entitled his family to $15 billion in compensation after oil was discovered in the region.
Malaysia has refused to honour the claim, prompting the aristocrat's descendants to petition a Luxembourg bailiff to seize two holding companies that belong to government-owned Petronas on 11 July.
Luxembourg-backed business lobby in Chechnya visit
A lobby group in Moscow, which works with the Luxembourg embassy in Russia, this week visited Chechnya, a Russian republic under the thumb of a brutal dictatorship that has sent fighters to the war against Ukraine.
The Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Russia (BLCCR) sent representatives to the city of Grozny to "fix problems" with a construction project, its chief executive officer Oleg Prozorov told the Luxembourg Times.
BLCCR, which is run out of Moscow, aims to "promote business interests, government relations and public relations" between the countries, according to its website, which also mentions partnerships with the embassy in Moscow and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce business lobby.
Luxembourg acknowledged it had a partnership with the group after first saying the embassy did not "financially, nor in any other way, support the BLCCR".
Rich Russians move funds from unfriendly Luxembourg
Two wealthy Russian businessmen are taking direct control of a Russian-based real estate company previously run through a Luxembourg holding company as Russia pushes to return businesses from "unfriendly" countries.
Saint Petersburg businessmen Vladimir Pinchuk and Viktor Ignatiev are leaving behind the Luxembourg holding company Numisma Invest SARL and taking direct control of Tandem-Estate, which specialises in commercial real estate in Russia, according to business newspaper Saint Petersburg Business.
Numisma Invest held 100% of the real estate company, according to its 2020 annual accounts filed in April with Luxembourg's business register. Pinchuk, who was born in the Soviet Union but also holds Swedish citizenship, was listed in the Luxembourg beneficial owner register as indirect owner of two-thirds of Numisma Invest, with Ignatiev owning the remaining 33%.
EU mulls staff pay hike deferral in blow to Luxembourg
EU staff could miss out on their next regular pay increase as the bloc tightens its purse string because of rising prices, a move that could make Luxembourg an even more expensive and less attractive place to live for EU workers.
EU leaders have ordered Brussels civil servants to weigh whether the bloc can afford bumping up wages - something it tends to do when prices rise sharply - without having to dip into emergency funds, a note from the European Council’s budget committee to the European Commission states.
Wage indexation is posing an "unsustainable burden" on expenditure, the note said, suggesting that the Commission consider options such as a “one-off suspension” of the practice, cutting travel costs, reducing on allowances, and dialling down energy consumption in buildings.