[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's corporations and securities law news, Titan Corp. [corporate website] announced it reached administrative settlement agreement with the US Navy [official website] allowing the company to bid, receive and perform on government contracts. Read the Titan press release. The agreement comes a day after Titan agreed to pay a $28.5 million to settle criminal charges brought by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] and civil charges brought by the SEC [official website] that it made illegal payments to a presidential election campaign in Benin. Read the Titan press release. Read the SEC press release, litigation release, report on the matter, and complaint [PDF]. Reuters has more.
In other news...
- The defense for former WorldCom [now MCI, Inc.] chief Bernard Ebbers rested its case after five days of testimony including Ebbers taking the witness stand and denying any role in the $11 billion accounting fraud. The prosecution began closing arguments by saying greed, power and worry drove Ebbers to mastermind the massive fraud at WorldCom. Read Ebbers' indictment [text, PDF] and the superseding indictment [text, PDF]. Reuters has more.
- Halliburton Co. [corporate website], in its annual 10-K filing with the SEC [text], said the Justice Department is probing the company for potential antitrust violations related to former employees who may have worked with competitors to rig bids on foreign construction projects. Reuters has more.
- Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. [corporate website], in a SEC filing, said federal prosecutors have requested documents related to their investigation of collapsed insurer Reciprocal of America which did business with Berkshire's General Re Corp. unit. Prosecutors are focusing on whether General Re helped Reciprocal hide its deteriorating financial situation and also help executives disguise loans as reinsurance. Reuters has more.
- Verizon Communications [corporate website] will give MCI two weeks of talks to allow the company to discuss Qwest Communications' [corporate website] renewed efforts to purchase it. Verizon, which has a noncompete clause in its merger agreement with MCI, said the discussion would end on March 17. MCI Inc. was under considerable pressure to revisit Qwest's $8 billion bid by Qwest executives and MCI shareholders. Read the Verizon press release. Bloomberg has more.
- Russia's natural gas company Gazprom [corporate website] announced its merger with state-owned oil company Rosneft has been finalized. Under the terms, which was already approved by Russia's President Vladimir Putin, the state will own a controlling 51% stake in Gazprom by folding Rosneft [corporate website] into the gas monopoly. AP has more.
- Citigroup Inc. [corporate website] announced an agreement in a class action securities lawsuit related to Global Crossing Ltd. [corporate website], an international telecommunications network provider which sought bankruptcy protection. Under the settlement, Citigroup will pay $75 million to all investors in securities of Global Crossing (Research) or Asia Global Crossing from Feb. 1, 1999, through Dec. 8, 2003. Reuters has more.
- As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [official website] released transcripts of audio tapes made by Enron Corp. [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic archive] traders which indicate the energy giant engaged in or discussed violations of federal regulations. The transcripts represent a victory for the Snohomish County Public Utility District [official website] in Washington which collected some of the tapes and has been pressing FERC to act in transcribing the thousands of hours of tape. The Snohomish County utility hopes to use the tapes to show that the contract it agreed to with Enron in January 2001 should be deemed fraudulent because of Enron's violations. The utility hopes to avoid paying the $122 million that Enron claims it owes. Read the Snohomish press release which includes links to selected audio and transcripts. The full transcripts and audio files [click on "Files" for MP3s] are available online in the FERC library. AP has more.
- Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) [official website] announced that it has lifted a suspension on flu vaccine maker Chiron Corp [corporate website]. The announcement allows Chiron to begin producing its product again. Read the MHRA press release. Read the Chiron press release. AP has more.