insolvency proceedings for Greensill Bank.

an 18 million euro state-backed loan in December from Greensill Bank. But two days later, the bank abruptly pulled back the funds, said Jean-Philippe Juin, a member of the Confédération Générale du Travail labor union representing the factory, where 600 people work.

While GFG said it had “strong cash flows” across the group, the workers at the Poitou plant were warned last week that there might not be enough money to pay their salaries for March, Mr. Juin said.

“Mr. Gupta presented himself to us as a savior, with hopeful words and many promises,” Mr. Juin said. “In the end, he turned out to be an empty shell.”

Michael J. de la Merced, Stanley Reed, Matthew Goldstein and Raphael Minder contributed reporting.

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Leon Black to Step Down as MoMA Chairman

In the face of mounting pressure from prominent artists and activists about his financial ties to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the investor Leon Black told colleagues Friday that he would not stand for re-election as the chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, according to two people with knowledge of his decision.

Mr. Black announced his decision to the board’s executive committee at a specially convened remote meeting on Friday afternoon, according to someone with knowledge of the meeting who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it. He planned to inform the full board of his intentions when it meets next week.

The news that Mr. Black did not plan to run for re-election as the museum’s chairman in June was the latest fallout from the revelation earlier this year that he had paid $158 million to Mr. Epstein for tax and estate advisory services — payments that began several years after Mr. Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl.

After the size of his payments was revealed in January, Mr. Black had initially announced that he would step down this year as chief executive of Apollo Global Management, the giant private equity firm he co-founded, but added that he intended to remain Apollo’s chairman. On Monday, Apollo made the surprise announcement that Mr. Black, 69, was stepping down as chief executive earlier than anticipated and giving up the chairmanship, citing his and his wife’s health as major factors in the decision.

his dealings with Mr. Epstein, who killed himself inside a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while facing federal sex-trafficking charges.

By several accounts, Mr. Black had also wrestled with how to proceed at MoMA. Mr. Black decided to tell the executive committee that as a longtime supporter of MoMA, he did not want to become a distraction to the institution by seeking another term, said two people briefed on his decision. He is expected to remain on the board after stepping down as chairman.

Several artists and supporters of MoMA had said that Mr. Black’s decision to pay large fees to Mr. Epstein after his conviction — he also lent Mr. Epstein $30 million — raised questions about whether he should continue to represent the institution. Several MoMA trustees came to believe that Mr. Black had become a damaging distraction.

“I would feel ashamed to be associated with the MoMA if it takes a firm position in keeping someone who has been confirmed to have hurt basic values or has worked against truth and fairness,” the artist Ai Weiwei said in an email interview last month. “If so, I hope they won’t include any of my works in their collection.” He said Friday that it was “the right decision” for Mr. Black to step down.

And the recent pressure on Mr. Black from prominent artists and activists promised to escalate, with a 10-week “strike” against MoMA planned to start April 9.

in February had spoken out about Mr. Black, said that he believed that Mr. Black, and several other MoMA board members, should step down from the board altogether.

“MoMA has refused comment on every story that has emerged about Leon Black,” he said in an email. “The museum stays silent while we as artists are asked to speak. Beyond speaking, I look forward to collectively imagining an ecosystem that does not enlist our content to go on display in institutions whose board members create the very conditions in the world that many of us are devoted to dismantling.”

It was not immediately clear who would succeed Mr. Black at MoMA. Among those expected to be in contention are the board’s several vice chairmen as well as Marie-Josée Kravis, its president emerita.

There has been some concern among MoMA trustees that Mr. Black’s stepping down as chairman might jeopardize his potential future gifts of art or money to the museum, given his wealth and his museum-quality personal art collection.

In 2018, the same year he became chairman of the museum’s board, Mr. Black and his wife, Debra, gave $40 million to the museum, prompting MoMA to name its film center after them.

In 2012, he lent MoMA Edvard Munch’s 1895 version of “The Scream” — which he purchased for nearly $120 million — and in 2016, Mr. Black won the right to keep a large Picasso bust for which he had paid about $106 million and that featured prominently in MoMA’s acclaimed Picasso sculpture show.

extended Mr. Lowry’s contract until 2025, making him the longest-serving director since the museum opened in 1929. Mr. Lowry did not respond to requests for comment.

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Microsoft to Ease Workers Back to the Office Starting Next Week: Live Updates

wrote on the company blog.

Microsoft also released on Monday the results of a survey of that it says shows the work force has changed after a year of working remotely. In the survey of more than 30,000 full-time and self-employed workers, 73 percent said they wanted flexible remote work options to continue, and 46 percent said they were planning to move this year now that they could work remotely.

“There are some companies that think we’re just going to go back to how it was,” Jared Spataro, the corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, said in an interview. “However, the data does seem to indicate that they don’t understand what has happened over the last 12 months.”

Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said the Fed’s research into central bank-issued digital currencies is early and exploratory — and that U.S. officials would only consider issuing a digital dollar if they believed there was a clear use and if the idea had widespread public and political buy-in.

“You can expect us to move with great care and transparency,” Mr. Powell said on Monday at a Bank for International Settlements event on central bank innovation. “We would not proceed with this without support from Congress.”

Mr. Powell said that at this stage, the Fed is looking into whether there is even a need for a central bank digital currency — a technology-based instrument with official government backing. Payment systems are already speeding up and banks offer digital money in the form of bank deposits, he noted, so the need for a central bank version is an open question.

“Does the public want, or need, a new digital form of central bank money to complement what is already a highly efficient, reliable and innovative payments arena?” he said.

Central bank digital currency could offer benefits, Mr. Powell said — perhaps laying the groundwork for a more efficient, more inclusive payment system, and maintaining the dollar’s competitive position as the leading global currency. But there are also big risks. Digital currencies could bring cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the possibility of money laundering, and they might disrupt the stable relationship between customers, banks and the Fed.

“We’re sort of purveyors of stability,” Mr. Powell said Monday.

The Fed’s Washington-based board has begun experimenting with central bank digital currencies, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is collaborating with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on complementary research.

“The focus really is on developing and understanding the capabilities and limitations of the relevant technologies,” he said. “It’s not an attempt to create a prototype.”

Mr. Powell said regulation is not “where it needs to be” when it comes to stable coins — a type of cryptocurrency which has value tied to an outside asset. He dismissed the possibility that private stable coins could substitute for central bank money.

And when it comes to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that aren’t backed by some value anchor, Mr. Powell said they are risky assets as opposed to dollar-like money.

“Crypto assets, they’re highly volatile — see Bitcoin — and therefore not really useful as a store of value,” Mr. Powell said. “It’s more a speculative asset, that’s essentially a substitute for gold, rather than for the dollar.”

A group of junior bankers at Goldman Sachs assembled a presentation about working conditions at the Wall Street bank that circulated on social media.
Credit…Emon Hassan for The New York Times

Last week, a presentation by a group of junior bankers at Goldman Sachs went viral on social media, in which they complained about what they described as workplace abuse, including 100-hour weeks.

The DealBook newsletter’s inbox has been overflowing with reactions, notably from current, former and aspiring investment bankers. Here’s what some had to say — most requested anonymity to speak freely about their experiences — edited and condensed for clarity:

Turkish lira banknotes at a currency exchange in Ankara. An unexpected change at the head of Turkey’s central bank caused a steep drop in the lira’s value.
Credit…Murad Sezer/Reuters

Turkey’s currency tumbled on Monday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the head of the central bank, who had been in the job just four months and had pursued policies aimed at taming inflation. The Turkish lira plunged 10 percent against the U.S. dollar.

The removal of Turkey’s central bank chief, Naci Agbal, signals a return to the unorthodox policies that Mr. Erdogan has long favored, such as cutting interest rates to lower inflation, but which most economists regard as counterproductive. Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly meddled in the central bank’s activities and over the years traders have dumped the lira.

Since his appointment in November, Mr. Agbal has raised the central bank’s benchmark interest rate from 10.25 percent to 19 percent in an effort to slow the overheating economy, control inflation and lure in foreign investment. He had succeeded in pulling the lira up from its record low. The most recent increase in the benchmark rate was on Thursday and he was fired on Friday.

The annual inflation rate was officially 15.6 percent in February but is probably much higher.

The new central bank chief, Sahap Kavcioglu, a university professor and former member of Turkey’s National Assembly, said in a statement that he would continue to fight inflation. But on Monday, the lira was trading at about 7.93 to the dollar, compared with 7.22 on Friday. The plunge in value was a sign that currency traders expect him to bow to pressure from Mr. Erdogan to cut rates, worsening the inflation problem and pushing the country of 82 million people closer to economic collapse.

“We have abandoned our cautiously optimistic view on the lira,” Piotr Matys, a strategist at Rabobank wrote in a note. Mr. Kavcioglu’s comments suggest he is clearly in favor of lower interest rates to stimulate growth, he added.

Carlos Ghosn, the former chief executive of Nissan, is a fugitive after fleeing Japan, where he was facing charges of alleged financial misconduct, which he had denied.  
Credit…Hussein Malla/Associated Press

Tokyo prosecutors on Monday charged two Americans with helping Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan chief, jump bail in Tokyo, where he was awaiting trial on four counts of financial wrongdoing.

Japanese prosecutors said in an indictment that the two men, Michael Taylor, 60, a former Green Beret, and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 27, assisted Mr. Ghosn’s efforts to escape the country, helping him flee to Turkey and then on to Lebanon, where he has been beyond the reach of Japanese law.

American officials arrested the men last May in Massachusetts. Earlier this month, they were extradited to Japan, where they have been held in a Tokyo detention center while undergoing questioning by prosecutors. A third man believed to have aided Mr. Ghosn’s escape remains at large.

The Japanese authorities have accused Michael Taylor of helping Mr. Ghosn travel by train to the western city of Osaka, through security checks at a private jet terminal and then onto a plane bound for Turkey. Once there, Mr. Ghosn transferred to a flight bound for Beirut. Peter Taylor assisted in planning for the escapade, visiting Mr. Ghosn several times before the escape, officials say.

Mr. Ghosn and his son, Anthony Ghosn, paid more than $1.3 million to the Taylors and a company they controlled, U.S. prosecutors have said in court filings.

Mr. Ghosn’s case raised international concerns about what some critics call Japan’s system of “hostage justice,” which includes lengthy detentions of criminal suspects without charge. While in the United States, the Taylors fought a long legal battle to prevent their extradition, with their lawyers arguing that they could be subjected to harsh conditions in a Japanese jail.

Jessie Astbury Allen with her daughters Mae, 7, and Livia, 12. They left China more than a year ago; Ms. Astbury Allen’s husband is still there.
Credit…Francesca Jones for The New York Times

For the past year, people trying to go to China have run into some of the world’s most formidable barriers to entry. To stop the coronavirus, China bans tourists and short-term business travelers outright, and it sets tough standards for all other foreigners, even those who have lived there for years.

The restrictions have hampered the operations of many companies, separated families and upended the lives of thousands of international students, report Sui-Lee Wee and Keith Bradsher for The New York Times. Global companies say their ranks of foreign workers in the country have dwindled sharply.

As deadlier and more infectious virus variants appeared in other countries in recent months, China introduced onerous new requirements.

Officials regard travel restrictions as crucial to their success in containing the virus. Since the outbreak started, China has reported more than 101,000 Covid cases. Although questions have been raised about the accuracy of the numbers, they are far lower than in the United States, where 29.8 million people have tested positive for the virus.

China’s tough restrictions, including its recent ban on dependents, have exacted an emotional toll on some families who have been forced to live apart for months.

In February of last year, Jessie Astbury Allen took her two young daughters to England to wait out the outbreak as it swept across China, hoping they would reunite with her husband in Shanghai by Easter. It was a plan she would come to regret.

“I knew in my gut we were doing the wrong thing, but it was too late,” she said, weeping, as she described how she felt on landing at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Abraham Sanchez, a Sacramento musician, put $1,200 of his stimulus money last week into his Robinhood trading account.
Credit…Salgu Wissmath for The New York Times

For a decade before the pandemic, small investors accounted for roughly a tenth of trading activity in the stock market. But in the last year, they have become responsible for close to a quarter, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

The speculative appetite of small investors may seem at odds with an economy still reeling from a pandemic that has killed more than half a million Americans, decimated jobs and snuffed out businesses and livelihoods. But one of the biggest tools deployed by the U.S. government to cushion the economic blow — stimulus payments — is also driving a huge surge in investing by small traders, Matt Phillips reports for The New York Times.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank recently estimated that as much $170 billion from the latest round of stimulus payments could flow into the stock market. They conducted a survey of retail traders in which respondents said they planned to put roughly 40 percent of any payment they received — or $2 of every $5 — into the stock market. Traders between the ages of 25 and 34 said they expected to put half of their stimulus check into stocks.

“That could lead to a bit more mania, speculation in the market,” said Patrick Fruzzetti, managing director and partner at Hightower Advisors, an investment firm. The “stimmies,” he said — using a popular online term for stimulus checks — will go into people’s trading accounts, and “they will trade.”

Volkswagen can spread the cost of developing new technologies over millions of vehicles and undercut Tesla on price.
Credit…Matthias Rietschel/Reuters

In October 2015, a month after Volkswagen confessed to rigging diesel cars to conceal illegally high emissions, shellshocked company executives gathered in the brick-clad high-rise executive office building topped with a giant VW logo that looms over the carmaker’s main factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The executives authorized development of a collection of mix-and-match components that would serve as the basis for a range of electric models including sedans, S.U.V.s and vans, Jack Ewing reports for The New York Times. The standardized platform, called the Modular Electrification Toolbox, could also be used by other company brands, including Audi.

The platform will allow Volkswagen to exploit the big advantage it has over Tesla: size. With 665,000 employees and sales of 9.3 million vehicles last year, Volkswagen is the second-largest carmaker in the world after Toyota. It can spread the cost of developing new technologies over millions of vehicles and undercut Tesla on price.

The commitment Volkswagen made then is paying off now as the company rolls out a line of vehicles developed from the ground up to run on batteries, with more interior space and more appeal than adaptations of gasoline vehicles.

By 2025, Volkswagen will be able to produce electric vehicles for less than it costs to build a gasoline or diesel car, UBS analysts wrote in this month’s report. They cautioned that Tesla retained a significant lead in battery technology and autonomous driving software.

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Leon Black will step down from Apollo three months sooner than expected.

Leon Black, the Wall Street billionaire who was the main client of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein for the last decade of his life, is stepping down as chief executive of Apollo Global Management, several months ahead of schedule.

Mr. Black also will give up the chairmanship of the private equity firm, which he helped found roughly three decades ago, according to a statement issued by the firm on Monday. Jay Clayton, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman who recently joined the firm as an independent director, will take over as chairman.

In a statement, Mr. Black, 69, said he had decided to leave now to focus on his family and his and his wife’s health. In January, the firm had said he would step down as chief executive before his 70th birthday in July while retaining the chairman role..

Apollo had previously announced that Marc Rowan, another Apollo co-founder, would succeed Mr. Black as chief executive following the release of a report by an outside law firm that detailed how Mr. Black had paid Mr. Epstein, the registered sex offender who killed himself in August 2019 while facing federal sex trafficking charges, $158 million in fees to Mr. Epstein and lent him nearly $30 million. The review found no wrongdoing by Mr. Black, who planned to remain as chairman.

The New York Times reported that Mr. Black had paid at least $75 million in fees to Mr. Epstein from 2012 to 2017.

Over the past several months, shares of Apollo have underperformed the stocks of other big publicly traded private equity firms.

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