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December 10, 2013updated 11 Jan 2016 1:00pm

Editor’s Letter 35 on bribery, Chinese mistresses and draconian NY co-ops

By Spear's

Cheat? Us? Never! We’re as honest as the day is long (especially if that day is spent lazing on a beach delighting in winter sun). We know that you’re that honest too. But not everyone is — sometimes wealth managers sell you a product that primarily benefits the company, not you, or an art adviser will erase ‘school of’ from before the name of an Old Master.

That’s why we’ve run a tricksy thread through this issue, focusing on cheating in all its manifestations. Forewarned and all that.


Our legal columnist, Martyn Gowar, examines the offence of cheating the Revenue, which is a useful tool for HMRC as it carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Moreover, there doesn’t even need to be an act for them to use it — forgetting to do something can have you in chokey too.

Fair dealing is also absent in Alex Matchett’s account of what the Bribery Act 2010 means for wealth managers: no more nuggets of gold covered in caviar for clients — business has to be won fair and square(ish).

We look at gifts further abroad too: Harry Dean examines why mistresses of the Chinese wealthy are driving the luxury boom. You can join him as he meets Ling Ling, mistress to a powerful man, and ponders how quickly lavish infidelity can catch up with adulterers.

Peak time

I had the pleasure of visiting New York in July to witness the construction of 432 Park Avenue, eventually to be the western hemisphere’s tallest residential building, at 1,400ft. As a condominium, it fetches far higher prices than the tonier (as Manhattanites would say) co-ops lining Fifth Avenue. I look at why New York’s poshest buildings are quaking right down to their foundations at the arrival of their new $95 million neighbours.

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I’m pleased to welcome our new wine columnist in this issue: Jacob Kenedy, of London’s best Italian restaurant, Bocca di Lupo, in Soho. Returning to our cheating theme, he looks at a case of mistaken identity: the fake wine industry. He has some good advice on how to avoid buying fake wine — and what to do if you do.

Finally, with genuine happiness I welcome three new members of the Spear’s team: Giulia Cambieri joins us as head of the Spear’s Research Unit (the power behind our Indices), Alex Matchett as senior researcher in the unit and Chloë Barrow as staff writer. You’ll be reading (and hearing) lots from them.

Email: Twitter: @joshspero

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