in

America’s biggest investors expressed fears over the direction of US corporate governance yesterday after President Bush nominated a Republican congressman with a history of hostility towards the investment community as the new chairman of the SEC

America’s biggest investors expressed grave fears over the direction of US corporate governance yesterday after President Bush nominated a Republican congressman with a history of hostility towards the investment community as the new chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Christopher Cox, a Republican congressman on the right of his party who was a key supporter of a Bill that limited the ability of investors to sue their companies, was proposed as the new chairman of the SEC, the Wall Street watchdog, by President Bush.

His appointment must now go before the US Senate for approval. But last night Phil Angelides, one of America’s most influential state treasurers, who in California sits atop both Calpers and Calstrs, the largest public pension funds in the country, slammed the nomination of Mr Cox and urged the Senate to reject him.

“I fear that if Congressman Cox is confirmed, it will spell the death knell for reform efforts such as granting shareholders, the true owners of companies, the basic right to nominate candidates for corporate boards of directors,” Mr Angelides said. “I hope the US Senate rejects Congressman Cox and tells President Bush to appoint an SEC Chair who will fight for real reform.”

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.

One of the authors claiming Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code copied his ideas has admitted he exaggerated his case in an interview with a journalist.