The banks financing the Shard skyscraper in the City of London have given Simon Halabi 10 days to sell his one-third holding in the project. The Times. The Daily Telegraph. Financial Times. The Independent

Sten Mortstedt, the executive chairman of CLS, a partner on the project, said: ‘The banks don't want to have him in. He has got an offer from a third party to buy his shares, and he must decide within 10 days whether to accept.’

Construction work on the £1bn project at London Bridge was expected to start two weeks ago, but is on hold after its developers failed to secure funding during the global credit crunch. Demolition of the existing building will not begin until at least mid-October.

Halabi and Irvine Sellar are joint venture developers with CLS. The three owners of the planned 310m (1,016ft) skyscraper at London Bridge are in talks with a new Middle Eastern backer to buy Halabi’s one-third stake.