City Diary: Iraj Parvizi saddles up for court date



Iraj Parvizi has everything to play for.

Today, the Iranian-born investor is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court alongside former Treasury adviser Martyn Dodgson, Deckspace Offices director Andrew Hind and private trader Benjamin Anderson on charges of insider trading.

Tomorrow, Parvizi will hotfoot it to Ascot, where his racehorse Most Improved is a runner in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in the Qipco-sponsored Champions Day, where the eight-strong field includes Sovereign Debt and Carlton House, The Queen's horse.

Most Improved, a 20/1 outsider, is “on a redemption mission”, says Diary’s tipster, after two disappointments since the mount's win at Royal Ascot in June.

Just like its owner, then, who has said he “emphatically denies the [insider dealing] charges and is determined to clear his name”. Place your bets now.

= Levi gathers rebel force =

More mischief-making from Daniel Levi, the self-styled revolutionary behind the Broker Man Daniel blog, who is convening a shareholder action group to demand the resignation of Sefton Resources chairman Jim Ellerton.

Levi, a shareholder in Ellerton’s oil and gas explorer since May 2011, hopes to mobilise 10pc of investors to force an extraordinary general meeting.

Almost 8pc of Sefton shareholders have so far joined his rebels with a cause, Levi claims, although he refused to tell Diary the size of his holding in the £6.3m firm, saying only that it is “significant to me”.

British Virgin Island-registered Sefton, meanwhile which this week blocked Levi’s request to be sent the shareholder register maintains the “highly liquid” business was the second-most highly traded stock on Aim over the summer.

This follows Ellerton’s promise last month that Sefton’s Kansas oilfield will be “operational before the end of the year”.

Oil on troubled waters, as Diary likes to say.

= Cut (SNP: ^CUTY - news) -price food for thought =

Proof the recession has hit rock bottom even politicians are feeling the squeeze.

To help economic decision-makers make ends meet, the House of Commons Catering Service has announced a price-drop on “key products” to make its canteen “more competitive with High Street (BSE: HIGHSTREE.BO - news) venues”.

Sandwiches now start at £1.45 for “simple fillings”, while pints of milk are on sale for a knockdown 40p.

With apologies to Asda that’s Portcullis House price.

Meanwhile, the Commons Administration Committee has conducted a searching inquiry into Catering and Retail Services. The findings make fascinating reading: Whitehall’s Terrace Cafeteria is now a self-clearing venue, meaning MPs (BSE: MPSLTD.BO - news) must take on the extra public duty of clearing their tables. “Tray racks are provided for this purpose,” assists Diary’s man in the canteen.

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