Corporations and securities brief ~ Wal-Mart faces labor union complaint

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's corporations and securities law news, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) [union website], the largest US grocery union, has filed a complaint against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [corporate website] with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) [official website] to determine whether the company bribed employees to block union activities. The complaint follows a Wall Street Journal report [subscription req'd] that former Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Tom Coughlin may have used undocumented expense payments to fund anti-union activities. The union wants the NLRB to subpoena documents related to the alleged charges. Read the UFCW press release and more about its fight against Wal-Mart. Reuters has more.

In other news...

  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting [subscription req'd] General Motors Corp. (GM) [corporate website] handling of two transactions with former subsidiary Delphi Corp. [corporate website] in 2000 and 2001 has raised questions about the auto company's accounting and disclosure practices. Delphi's accounting of these two transactions is already the subject of an investigation by the SEC into improper accounting at the company. Dow Jones has more.

  • Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service [official website in Russian] announced it will block Siemens AG's [corporate website] bid to acquire a controlling stake in Power Machines [corporate website], its top power engineering company. The deal was rejected because of the firm's role in the secretive defense sector. The deal would have given Siemens 73 percent of Power Machines' shares for between $200 million and $300 million in investments. AP has more.

  • Axa Re, the reinsurance arm of French insurer Axa [corporate website], announced New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer [official website] and the SEC have subpoenaed the company over its transactions with MBIA [corporate website], the largest US municipal bond insurer. The subpoenas are part of the expanding probe into MBIA and marks Spitzer's latest move his investigation into the US insurance industry. The Axa probe relates to the 1998 $1 billion-plus bankruptcy of Pennsylvania non-profit hospital group Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation (AHERF). Axa Re will fully cooperate in the probe. Reuters has more.

  • Following up on a story reported yesterday on JURIST's Paper Chase, US District Court Judge Karon Bowdre dismissed three perjury charges against former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy [Wikipedia profile] because the Justice Department and the SEC improperly merged their investigations of fraud at HealthSouth Corp [corporate website]. Judge Karon Bowdre said the two agencies violated the rights of Scrushy because the criminal investigation and the SEC investigation in Scrushy concerned aspects of accounting fraud at HealthSouth. Scrushy was indicted on a charge of lying to SEC investigator Neil Seiden during sworn testimony in March 2003. The Northern District of Alabama has additional information about the trial. AP has more.

  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting [subscription req'd] the SEC [official website] will likely delay the implementation of new rules requiring employees' stock options to be counted against company profits. The new rules, set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board [official website], will drastically reduce reported earnings of large publicly traded companies. AP has more.

  • In a ruling which could force a retrial, a three-judge panel on the Missouri Court of Appeals [official website] ruled a trial judge erred when he tossed out former Enterprise Rent-A-Car [corporate website] vice president Thomas Dunn's claim he was fired for refusing to follow the company's accounting practices. However, the panel also affirmed the trial court's decision to void a $4 million jury award given to Dunn for this claim that he was fired for questioning business practices at the firm. The panel felt Dunn had not offered enough evidence to support the claim. Read the Missouri Court of Appeals opinion. AP has more.

  • American International Group Inc. (AIG) [corporate website] said in a SEC filing that Maurice "Hank" Greenberg [Wikipedia profile], who gave up his posts as chairman and chief executive amid intense regulatory scrutiny, gave a gift of 41.4 million company shares to his wife, Corinne P. Greenberg. The gift was given three days before Greenberg retired as CEO. Dow Jones has more.

  • Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal [official website] will intervene in the state Department of Insurance [official website] approval proceedings of MetLife Inc.'s [corporate website] purchase [MetLife press release] of Travelers Life & Annuity [corporate website] from Citigroup Inc. saying the deal is not in the public interest. Reuters has more.
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