[JURIST] Leading Thursday's corporations and securities law brief, former HVB Group [corporate website] executive Domenick DeGiorgio has pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion for his role in creating and selling illegal tax shelters for HVB and its customers. Though auditing firm KPMG [corporate website] was not named in the trial, the firm is under criminal investigation for the tax shelters [JURIST report] DeGiorgio sold. DeGiorgio's case involves the first criminal charges brought in connection with the KPMG tax shelters. DeGiorgio could face up to 50 years in prison but is expected to receive a shorter sentence in exchange for his plea and cooperation with authorities in future trials. The plea comes as rumors of a KPMG settlement to avoid indictment [New York Times report] have surfaced. AP has more.
In other corporations and securities law news...
- The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the SEC is making contingency plans for the possible indictment and collapse of one of the surviving Big Four accounting firms. Arthur Andersen's implosion [JURIST news archive] following the Enron scandal left only four major auditing firms in the US and those now handle 78% of all US publicly traded companies. CNN has more.
- Labor tensions at London's Heathrow airport lead to British Airways [corporate website] canceling all flights at the airport. A number of wildcat strikes, unorganized strikes without official union leadership or approval, at the airport left roughly 20,000 passengers stranded. Workers said the strikes were a show of solidarity for airline caterers who have been in conflict with the airport's management. In a press release, British Airways said they have cancelled all flights until at least 6 pm London time Friday. Reuters has more.
- 7-Eleven [corporate website] reached a settlement Thursday with 40 states and the District of Columbia promising to make it harder for children to buy tobacco in the company's convenience stores. 7-Eleven, the US' largest tobacco seller, had been criticized and threatened with litigation by state governments for what were perceived as lax practices for checking ID and placing cigarettes and tobacco advertising near products marketed towards children. A press release from the Attorney General of Connecticut said that the agreement was the seventh of its kind between groups of states and large retailers. AP has more.
- As reported earlier today on JURIST's Paper Chase, the accountant who masterminded the WorldCom accounting fraud [JURIST news archive] was sentenced to five years in prison. Former WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan faced over 100 years in prison, but his cooperation with authorities earned him the lighter sentence. Sullivan explained the complex scheme to investigators and was a crucial witness in the trial against former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, who was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison last month [JURIST coverage]. Bloomberg has prepared a timeline of the WorldCom saga. MarketWatch has more.