Corporations and securities law brief ~ Buffett to face regulators in AIG probe

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, the Wall Street Journal is reporting [subscription req'd] that regulators have called Warren Buffett [Wikipedia profile] to answer questions next month about his involvement in the insurance transaction between General Re Corp. [corporate website], a unit of his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. [corporate website], and American International Group Inc (AIG). At issue is a complex reinsurance deal between General Re Corp. and AIG which may have been used to manipulate AIG's books. Regulators are expected to ask Buffett about documents and witnesses which indicate he was involved in discussions about the deal. Berkshire issued a statement [text, PDF] saying Buffett had no knowledge of any illegal transactions with AIG. Reuters has more.

In other news...

  • A second special Enron [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic news archive] grand jury, which will be in session for 18 months, has been seated in federal court. The move allows the Enron Task Force prosecutors more time to investigate people and avenues they might not have had time for before the five-year time limit to file charges expired. In other news, prosecutors told US District Court Judge Sim Lake that they may reindict Ken Lay [Wikipedia profile], Jeff Skilling [Wikipedia profile], and Rick Causey sometime before September. Prosecutors said they will not add any defendants to avoid postponement of the January 2006 trial date. Read the current indictment [PDF] against Lay, Skilling, and Causey. The Houston Chronicle has more and continuing coverage of the Enron trials.

  • An administrative law judge at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [official website] has granted an Enron motion to postpone a hearing date in a case brought by Nevada Power Co [corporate website]. Enron wanted more time to review taped conversations [Transcripts and audio of Enron tapes] between Enron traders and alleged co-conspirators strategizing how to influence power markets, thereby increasing Enron's profits and driving up the costs of utilities like Nevada Power. The new hearing date will be no later than August 6. The Las Vegas Sun has more.

  • The SEC filed a lawsuit against Pension Fund of America LC of Coral Gables, Florida and two of its top executives over allegations the company defrauded thousands of investors in Central and South America of millions of dollars. The firm's assets have been frozen pending a trial. AP has more.

  • American International Group Inc. (AIG) [corporate website] chairman Maurice "Hank" Greenberg [Wikipedia profile] announced he is retiring, just two weeks after board members ousted him as chief executive. The move comes during an expanding probe by the SEC and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer [official website] into the company's past financial transactions. Read the AIG press release. AP has more.

  • The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) [official website] has referred the rival bid approaches of Deutsche Boerse AG [corporate website] and Euronext [corporate website] to buy the London Stock Exchange [corporate website] to the UK's Competition Commission [official website]. OFT has been investigating whether Europe's largest stock exchanges are becoming monopolies and is recommending the Commission determine whether potential takeovers in the financial services market would dampen competition. Read the OFT press release. BBC News has more.

  • A US court ordered Sony [corporate website] stop sales of its two game consoles and to pay $90.7 million in patent infringement damages to Immersion Corp. [corporate website], a California-based company. The judge immediately stayed the ruling, allowing Sony to continue to sell its consoles pending an appeal or settlement. Read the Immersion press release. AFP has more.

  • MCI Inc. [corporate website] announced it has accepted the takeover offer of $7.6 billion from Verizon Communications Inc. [corporate website], and in the process rejecting Qwest Communications International Inc.'s [corporate website] $8.45 billion bid. MCI cited to Verizon's growth potential. Qwest can still bypass MCI's management and take its offer the company's shareholders. It is unclear what Qwest will do. Read the MCI press release. Read the Verizon press release. Reuters has more.
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