Corporations and securities brief ~ Federal regulators investigate creditors in WorldCom bankruptcy

In Thursday's corporations and securities law news, federal regulators are investigating creditor actions in the WorldCom bankruptcy by demanding thousands of documents from bondholders related to the largest US bankruptcy in history. While the exact nature of the SEC investigation could not be determined, one source indicated the probe is not related to WorldCom. Read about the WorldCom bankruptcy and all related actions here. Reuters has more.

In other news...

  • Sir Philip Watts, the former chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell Group, has petitioned a British regulatory body to challenge some of its findings on Shell's oil reserves scandal and show he acted in good faith. AP has more.

  • IBM attorneys argued that SCO Group's $5 billion suit should be dismissed because SCO failed to provide any evidence that IBM allowed proprietary Unix code to enter the freely distributed Linux operating system. SCO claims IBM is stonewalling in providing all the information necessary to prove its case. Read the SCO press release announcing the suit against IBM here. AP has more.

  • Sonia Howe, who helped financier Martin Frankel steal $200 million from insurance companies in five states, was sentenced to four years in prison. AP has more.

  • German microchip giant Infineon Technologies has agreed to plead guilty to charges that they engaged in price-fixing with other companies. The company agreed to pay $160 million and agreed to cooperate in the investigation into price-fixing of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips. Read the Infineon press release here. Read the DOJ press release here. AFP has more.

  • The SEC is conducting a probe into four big banks: Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Wachovia Corp. and Switzerland's UBS AG, over their auction-rate bond operations. Reuters has more.

  • TD Waterhouse, a unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank, is expected to pay a $2 million settlement for claims that it improperly paid several independent investment advisers. Reuters has more.

  • A federal judge has ruled that claims filed against Lockheed Martin over the deadly 2003 workplace shootings that killed six people at the company's Meridian plant will not be limited by worker's compensation laws. The ruling in effect allows for larger monetary awards. The Clarion-Ledger has more.

  • Alitalia announced it has moved a step closer to approval for its restructuring plan when it reached an agreement with unions representing its ground crew staff to cut 2,500 jobs and freeze pay. AP has more.

  • The European Union indicates it will be difficult to accept a US demand to ban government loans for new Airbus SAS programs as part of changes to the aircraft-aid agreement which will also apply to Boeing Co. Bloomberg has more.

  • News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch received a bonus of $12.5 million this year, a 40% increase from last year. CBS MarketWatch has more.
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