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EU to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainians

The governments of European Union member states have reached a preliminary deal to freeze assets of 18 Ukrainian citizens at Kiev's request.

Interim Ukrainian government asked the EU to take the step after billions in public funds went missing.The individuals have not been named.

Austrian authorities have included Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, in their list of targets but it was not clear whether his assets would now be frozen throughout the 28-nation bloc.

92% rise in complaints take up by financial ombudsman

Customer dissatisfaction with financial firms has reached a record levels with half a million new complaints dealt with in the last year, the ombudsman service has said.

The Financial Ombudsman Service which settles disputes between consumers and financial firms, said its caseload almost doubled in the year 2012/13, with 508,881 new cases, marking a 92% annual increase.

Many complaints were related to the payment protection insurance scandal.

Four of the UK's big banking groups - Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) - accounted for almost two-thirds (62%) of all complaints received by the ombudsman.

The payment protection insurance scandal drove the upswing in complaints, making up almost three-quarters (74%) of the cases dealt with by the service.

Forty-nine percent of cases were upheld in consumers' favour, including 69% of complaints relating to payment protection insurance (PPI).

Natalie Ceeney, chief ombudsman, said: "As levels of confidence in financial services have eroded, it is disappointing that we still haven't seen any significant improvement in complaints handling".