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Tesla announced on Friday that General Counsel Todd Maron is leaving the electric vehicle maker, the second high-ranking attorney to do so this quarter. Last month, Phil Rothenberg left his post as Tesla’s Vice President of Legal, to become general counsel at Sonder, a hospitality start-up.

The Wall Street Journal reported news of Maron’s departure, and Tesla acknowledged the personnel moves in a blog post following the report.

The electric car company said it plans to replace Maron with seasoned Beltway trial lawyer Dane Butswinkas, a chairman at Williams & Connolly, who was also a Co-Chair in the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Financial Services and Banking Groups.

Butswinkas will report directly to CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla specified, in their announcement, that Maron will stay on through January to ensure a smooth hand-off to his replacement.

Maron’s leaving Tesla comes as a surprise to many due to his longstanding relationship with Musk. He served as the billionaire’s divorce attorney via a boutique family law firm, Jaffe and Clemens, prior to joining Tesla in 2013 as deputy counsel.

Tesla is currently facing a host of lawsuits and regulatory probes.

And the company is working to become compliant with terms of a settlement it struck earlier this year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, after Musk tweeted that he could take the company private at $420 a share. The settlement requires Tesla to employ an “experienced securities lawyer” to review social media communications by its senior officers, including Musk.

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US-China trade war cited as headwind

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Danish shipping group Moller-Maersk reported fourth-quarter earnings in line with expectations on Thursday, but warned a long-running trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies could hamper growth in 2019.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at $1.12 billion for the final three months of 2018, above the $1.07 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Shares of the company slipped more than 9 percent after results.

The company said it expects EBITDA as calculated under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for this year of around $5 billion.

“Although we had a challenging start to 2018, looking at our financial performance, we increased earnings despite significantly higher bunker fuel prices and lower than expected container volume growth in the second half of 2018,” Soren Skou, CEO of Moller-Maersk, said in a statement on Thursday.

“However, profitability needs to improve,” he added.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg meets UK culture secretary to discuss regulation

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Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.

Chesnot | Getty Images

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with a British official Thursday to discuss internet regulation and fake news.

Zuckerberg will speak with U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, about a U.K. government plan to regulate tech companies over how they tackle harmful content online.

Another topic high on the agenda will be the spread of disinformation on the web, a government spokesperson said, an issue the social network has faced heightened scrutiny over globally.

“I look forward to meeting Mr. Zuckerberg to discuss what more Facebook can do to help keep people safe on their platforms, as we prepare a new regulatory framework that will reinforce Facebook’s and other tech firms’ responsibility to keep us safe,” Wright said in a statement Thursday.

Britain’s Home Office and the culture department are due to release a white paper where they will lay out their strategy to counter issues like cyberbullying and child abuse content online. Reports have said the report could include a proposed regulator similar to Ofcom, the media watchdog, to monitor social media.

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Russian-backed ethane company hires lobbying firm connected to Trump

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A lobbying firm run by former advisors to President Donald Trump is representing American Ethane Company, an energy producer funded by Russian billionaires that is involved with a Chinese aluminum company.

Turnberry Solutions, a lobbying group run by former Trump campaign advisor Jason Osborne, has signed American Ethane as client, according to a new lobbying disclosure form. The filing was posted on the Senate lobbying disclosure website on Tuesday.

The document shows that Osborne and Ryan O’Dwyer, who previously was a special assistant to the secretary of Agriculture and a senior public liaison to Trump’s inaugural committee, will be the lobbyists representing American Ethane on trade and energy issues.

American Ethane touts a contract it signed with the Nanshan Group, an aluminum production company based in China. The development also comes as the Trump administration is engaged in high-stakes trade talks with the Chinese government.

“Ryan O’Dwyer and I were hired to help a U.S. company get permits issued to them to fulfill a contract signed during a signing ceremony between President Trump and President Xi,” Osborne told CNBC. The deal was signed at a ceremony in November 2017 in front of Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping.

Osborne also explained that their work entails getting members of Congress in Louisiana and Texas to submit official inquiries through the U.S government and the Chinese government in the hopes their contract would be honored.

Turnberry also touts former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and one-time Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as senior advisors. Zinke resigned from the administration last year amid numerous ethics investigations and complaints, while Lewandowski has reportedly continued to advise Trump from an outside position.

The filing lays out the top two foreign investors backing the ethane producer. Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian billionaire with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion, is listed as an investor with a 30 percent stake in the company.

According to Forbes, Nikolaev and his business partners own a 34 percent stake in Globaltrans, Russia’s biggest private rail transport operator. Another financier is Andrey Kunatbaev, a Russian billionaire who helped start TV-3, a Russian entertainment channel, according to American Ethane’s website. Kunatbaev is also a member of the companies board, the website says.

It’s unclear how much American Ethane is paying Turnberry for their lobbying services.

American Ethane CEO John Houghtaling did not return requests for comment.

Turnberry signed with the Russian-backed energy firm as the White House continues to be haunted by suspicions about the president and his associates’ potential connections to the Kremlin. Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with the Russian government as part of efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.

Turnberry also lobbies for wireless company T-Mobile and energy management company Redhorse Corporation, among others.

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