Global Business Daily: McAfee taxes, smart devices boom, French merger row
Patrick Atack in London

"I have not paid taxes for eight years. I will not pay taxes again – it is unconstitutional and illegal."

That was John McAfee speaking to reporters in Cuba in 2019. Today that statement may have caught up with the anti-virus computer software entrepreneur. He was arrested in Spain on U.S. tax avoidance charges and will likely be extradited shortly.

Meanwhile in Europe, the French government is entangled in the hostile merger/acquisition between two sanitation firms, Suez and Veolia. The government has a large stake in Suez's parent company Engie and is against the move, which prompted the nation's finance minister to weigh in.

And in Asia, Chinese retailers are reporting a huge boost in "smart tech" – especially devices such as washing machines with sterilization functions – as sales of traditional appliances fades.

In today's video, we talk to experts about the trend for "buy now, pay later" services – should you worry about them?

Happy reading,

Patrick Atack
Digital business correspondent

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The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted China's smart home device market, as sales of traditional household appliances dropped in the first two quarters of this year. Among the devices, sales of smart washers with sterilization functions increased more than 600 percent compared with 2019. While sales of smart towel racks with sterilizing and heating functions increased more than five times and smart switch sales increased by 107 percent. 

The International Monetary Fund said member governments should seize the opportunity of low interest rate to invest in infrastructure, to drive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and shift towards greener energy. The IMF said increasing public investment by 1 percent of GDP in advanced and developing economies would grow their GDP by nearly 3 percent, creating 7 million jobs directly, and between 20 million and 33 million jobs in the long term. 

Chinese tech giant Alibaba and Swiss duty-free group Dufry have agreed terms for the inauguration of a joint venture in China. Chinese shoppers' appetite for overseas luxury goods seemed unfettered by the pandemic. Alibaba Group will have 51 percent controlling shares to Dufry's 49 percent in the new business, and Jack Ma's group will also buy a 9.99 percent stake in the Swiss firm. 

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has denounced both sides in a hostile merger between two rival French water and waste companies, Suez and Veolia for their actions regarding the start of what is expected to be a complete and controversial takeover. French utility Engie agreed to sell a 30 percent stake in Suez to Veolia for $4 billion in a deal that could create a global giant in waste and environmental services. The French state, a major shareholder in Engie, voted against selling the stake to Veolia, although a majority of the utility's board gave its approval.

South Korean tech and communications firm Samsung has faced criticism from investors and environmentalists after its insurance units allegedly financed $14 billion of fossil fuel projects and investments over the past decade.

Facebook is set for a stand-off with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as it prepares to ignore Ankara's new rule that all social media firms should have a base in the country if they continue to operate there. The action has been praised from some corners, but could spell the end of the app in Turkey as the government has threatened to limit Facebook's allowed bandwidth by 90 percent, which would make the website virtually unusable. 

Netflix has shown the first three episodes of docu-series Bad Boy Billionaires, which had been delayed by a court order filed by Subrata Roy, founder of the Sahara India Pariwar conglomerate. One episode is still being held back by the courts. 

Ride-hailing app Lyft has partnered with food delivery app GrubHub to rival the ride-and-delivery capabilities of Uber. Lyft's most loyal customers will be offered free delivery of GrubHub meals. The firms said no further collaboration was in the works, but food delivery was high on the list of Lyft customers' wishes. 

U.S. authorities have revealed an indictment against controversial computer security boss John McAfee, who founded the McAfee anti-virus protection software. The charges include tax evasion and wilfully submitting false tax records, which is a federal crime. The Securities and Exchange Commission said at least $23 million of McAfee's funds may have been retained illegally. McAfee was arrested in Spain where extradition proceedings will take place. 


WATCH: With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to ditch physical stores and boosting online sales for retailers, many might have noticed a new option popping up at the checkout: Buy now, pay later.



Chris Stokel-Walker is author of YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars. He is also an expert on social media. On Instagram's 10th birthday, CGTN Europe spoke to him about the impact the photosharing app has had. 


How successful is Instagram as a business? 

It's hugely successful. We do not have precise user numbers for Instagram, they stopped reporting those in 2019. But when they last did, there were 1 billion monthly active users. 


How does Instagram fit into the social media landscape? 

Instagram really is the trendy younger cousin of Facebook and it really has been since it began in the early 2010s. 


How has Instagram changed the world?

Instagram has really changed the entire psyche of what we do on social media. It's encouraged us to become almost oversharers... you can be an influencer now, you couldn't 10 years ago.