Corporations and securities brief ~ Lay,Skilling trial to begin January 17

[JURIST] Leading Friday's corporations and securities law news, US District Judge Sim Lake has ordered the jury selection for the trial of former Enron [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic] Chairman Ken Lay [Wikipedia profile], ex-CEO Jeff Skilling [Wikipedia profile] and top accountant Rick Causey to begin on Jan. 17, 2006. Judge Lake had been eyeing a summer 2005 start to the trial, but on Thursday pushed it to next year to accommodate the trial schedules of the various attorneys for the defendants. The three defendants are said to be pleased with the start date. Read the indictment [text, PDF] and SEC complaint [text, PDF] against Lay, Skilling, and Causey. The Houston Chronicle has more.

In other news...

  • SBC Communications Inc. announced in a SEC filing [text] that it will take a charge against its fourth-quarter results because of an accounting error by Cingular Wireless LLC [corporate website]. The St. Louis Business Journal has more.

  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky [JURIST Newsmaker], founder of Yukos, called the fraud and tax evasion charges [official trial website in English] brought against him fiction and lies. Friday saw the start of Khodorkovsky's cross-examination in a trial that began last June. The specific case against Khodorskovsky and co-defendant Platon Lebedev is related to the 1994 privatization of a fertilizer company, Apatit, which prosecutors allege the pair received a 20 percent stake in illegally. The trial has led to the collapse of Yukos as Russian tax collectors have sought over $27 billion in back-taxes, forcing the sale of its main unit. MosNews.com has local coverage. Reuters has more.

  • As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, US Bankruptcy Judge Letitia Clark on Thursday dismissed the bankruptcy case of Russian oil giant Yukos [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic], saying the matter should be decided in a forum allowing for involvement by the Russian government. Yukos maintains a website related to its Chapter 11 case. MosNews.com has local coverage. BBC News has more.

  • MGM Mirage [corporate website] announced Friday the Nevada Gaming Commission [official website] has unanimously approved its deal to acquire Mandalay Resort Group [corporate website] for $7.9 billion. Just last week, the FTC [official website] approved the merger. The deal must now be approved by Illinois and Michigan regulators. Read the MGM Mirage press release. The Street.com has more.
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