Business Figures

Curtains for a serial banker


In March 2006, the curtains were drawn on the controversial banking career of Khoo Teck Puat when his estate inked a deal to sell his stake in Standard Chartered Bank to the Singapore government for $4 billion. Here is an inside look at the former bank clerk and an ex-fugitive who built a multi-billion dollar fortune in seven decades.

It was late 1965 and Tungku Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaysia, was feeling the heat.

The father of independent Malaysia had just ended the disagreeable business of overseeing the secession of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia. The tiny city-state, led by the forceful Cambridge-trained lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew, had declared itself a sovereign nation.

Not so Khoo kids

They may be born with a golden spoon in their mouth, but being a child of Khoo Teck Puat can be a trying experience.

Foreign dragon, local snake


From Wheelock Marden to Standard Chartered....

In 1985, Khoo Teck Puat and shipping magnate, Y. K. Pao, waged an epic tussle for the venerable British trading house, Wheelock Marden.

Amitabh Bachchan vs Shah Rukh Khan: The Bollywood Fight of the Century


amitabh vs khan


The Jalsa corner

Main character

Amitabh Bachchan, (“The Big B”) 64, actor, TV presenter, poet, one-time Member of Parliament and potential candidate for presidency.

Supporting Cast:

Bollywood's business connections in politics


Two of the biggest names in India Inc take sides in Bollywood's Battle Royale.

When two of India’s richest men are feuding, just about anything that involves the two can be turned into yet another bone of contention. When the two men are brothers, and their disagreement is about a movie about their late father financed by the younger brother, it is no longer a bone, but an invitation to open warfare.

Heart of steel


Miners risk death as they slave in lax safety conditions to build Mittal’s billions.

“And how many deaths will it take until he knows,

That too many people have died?”

- Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind”

Mittal, the sovereign state


The steel billionaire now turns to international political intrigue to further his business gains. How far will he go?

In 1973 the British author, Anthony Sampson, caused a stir when he published “The Sovereign State”, an exposé on multinationals. He claimed the MNCs had grown so powerful that they often behave like sovereign nations and sometimes act against the interest of their own countries.

Sampson named the American firm International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) as the epitome of an MNC-turned-rogue. ITT was the archetypal conglomerate that collected a few hundred businesses in its heyday – from energy firms to the Sheraton hotel chain – and pursued profits in all of them. 

Death by mining - A Third World affair


At least 13 people died per day in the mines of China last year. This year looks set to be worse.


Compared with many owners of Third World mines, Lakshmi Mittal is not really a bad person. But that is not saying much. 

March 2006, a flashback


A look at what happened in North Asian businesses, three years to this day.

More woes for Yamaha Motor
The Japanese company, already under investigation for the alleged sale of helicopters to Poly Technologies, a firm linked to the People’s Liberation Arm of China, for military uses, is now suspected of selling an aircraft to another firm affiliated to the Chinese military.

Mittal and HK upstart in Birmingham clash?


Lakshmi Mittal has been keeping tight-lipped about his possible bid for Birmingham City FC, but an offer from a young Hong Kong businessman might just spur him to act.

Lakshmi Mittal has a problem.

He may be the richest Indian on earth, but he is not getting the respect he thinks he deserves back home. Too many people remember “that Mittal boy” who grew up sleeping on bare floors in a small village in Rajasthan, and got his break marrying the daughter of a moneylender. Maybe that is why he is doing what many nouveau riche before him had done to gain instant recognition – buy an English football club.

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100 DAYS

100 days blogAn imaginary factual blog of General David Petraeus, Commander, United States Central Command