JPMorgan Said to Settle CFTC London Whale Trading Probe
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) has agreed to pay about $100 million to resolve the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s probe into the firm’s botched derivatives bets last year, according to people briefed on the matter.
The deal, which would bring the bank’s total settlements in the episode to more than $1 billion, may be announced as early as this week, the people said, asking not to be named because the talks were confidential. The accord would resolve a CFTC assertion that the trading amounted to a “manipulative device,” the people said. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler and Joseph Evangelisti, a spokesman for the company, declined to comment.
Citic Pacific Wins Order Against Mineralogy Halting Mine
Citic Pacific Ltd. (267) won a court order barring Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy Pty from halting the development of Australia’s biggest magnetite iron-ore project over a royalty dispute.
Western Australia Supreme Court Justice James Edelman granted the application by Citic Pacific’s Sino Iron Pty and Korean Steel Pty yesterday. He criticized Mineralogy for wasting time and money after it accused them of default for failing to pay A$287,000 ($273,370) in royalties and claimed the right to suspend and terminate mining rights and leases.
Herbalife Director Dunn Predicts ‘Clean’ New Audits
Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) Director Jeff Dunn said he expects a “clean read” when PricewaterhouseCoopers LP finishes new audits of the company’s books amid allegations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that it’s a pyramid scheme.
The nutrition company hired PricewaterhouseCoopers in May after its previous accounting firm, KPMG LLP, resigned because of alleged insider trading by an auditor. PricewaterhouseCoopers is re-auditing statements for 2010 through 2012. In August, Ackman sent a 52-page letter urging the auditor to pay attention to “serious accounting and disclosure issues.”
Ex-RBS Trader in U.K. Probe Said to Be JPMorgan’s Usher
Richard Usher, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) chief dealer in London, wrote instant messages while he was at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc that U.K. regulators are scrutinizing as part of their investigation of alleged currency manipulation, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
Chevron Claims Ecuadorians’ Lawyer Won Case Through Fraud
For more than a decade, lawyers for Ecuadorian villagers have argued Chevron Corp. (CVX) is responsible for polluting a swath of Amazon rainforest bigger than Rhode Island that it refuses to clean up.
Today, facing a $19 billion judgment won on behalf of those villagers, the second-largest U.S. oil company will try to prove in a federal courtroom in Manhattan that it’s a victim rather than the villain in a legal drama over the environmental devastation.
Ex-Madoff Workers Chose Fight for Freedom Over Plea Deal
Five former employees of Bernard L. Madoff on trial over allegations they aided in his $17 billion fraud probably scrapped plea talks involving harsh prison terms to gamble for total exoneration from a jury, ex-prosecutors said.
The U.S. had little reason to offer the group leniency in exchange for testimony against others, since Madoff and his top aides had already pleaded guilty, said Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor in Houston who represents defendants accused of white-collar crimes.
P&G, Nestle, GagaJeans, Enterprise: Intellectual Property
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), the maker of Head & Shoulders, accused the U.K.’s Unilever Plc (ULVR) of infringing three patents covering anti-dandruff shampoo.
Unilever’s allegedly infringing products include Suave, Dove, Axe and Clear Scalp, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Cincinnati, where P&G is based.
California Gives Break to Job Seekers With Criminal Past
California, with the most state and local government employees in the U.S., won’t ask job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime, in recognition that growing numbers in the workforce have such records.
A bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown requires that state and municipal governments first determine if an applicant is qualified for the job before asking if he or she has a criminal past. It doesn’t stop the agency from doing so later nor does it prohibit background checks before hiring.
Activision Stock Deal Allowed to Proceed by Court
Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI), the largest U.S. video-game publisher, may proceed with a $5.83 billion share buyback and the management-led purchase of $2.34 billion in company stock, a Delaware court ruled.
The Delaware Supreme Court issued its oral ruling following arguments yesterday, sending Activision shares up 4.7 percent. Activision had appealed Delaware Chancery Court Judge J. Travis Laster’s Sept. 18 decision that it must hold a shareholder vote on the sale of the $8.2 billion in stock — all of it by parent Vivendi SA. (VIV)
North Korea Allows Mother of Detained American to Visit Son
North Korea allowed the mother of Kenneth Bae to visit her ailing son almost a year after the American tour operator and missionary was detained and sentenced to 15 years hard labor for “hostile acts.”
Myunghee Bae saw her son at a hospital in Pyongang where he’s being treated for various ailments, Kyodo news service reported, citing comments by Bae. His health didn’t look “that bad,” she told Kyodo.
Australia’s Abbott to Challenge Same-Sex Marriage Laws in Court
The Australian government will mount a High Court challenge against a bid to legalize same-sex marriage in a territory that encompasses the capital Canberra, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
“It is pretty clear under our constitution that it is the Commonwealth that has responsibility for the rules regarding marriage,” Abbott, whose Liberal-National coalition won Sept. 7 elections, told reporters in Darwin today. “We think it’s important that there be a uniform approach to marriage throughout the Commonwealth and that’s what we are going to do our best to ensure.”
Ex-Fed Examiner Claims Firing for Finding Goldman Lapses
A former senior bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York sued her ex-employer, claiming she was fired because she refused to change her findings that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) lacked a firmwide conflict-of-interest policy.
Carmen Segarra, 41, said in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court that she examined the legal and compliance divisions of Goldman Sachs in late 2011 and early 2012 and found that they lacked a policy that conformed with federal banking regulations. She alleges she was fired because she refused to withdraw her findings.
Rinehart Family Trust Left Without Nominee for Manager
Gina Rinehart’s $4 billion family trust is without a nominee to replace her as manager after a judge rejected a proposal from her youngest daughter Ginia Rinehart and her son withdrew a nomination for himself and his choice of an independent candidate.
John Hancock and his sister Bianca Rinehart sued their mother in 2011, accusing her of misconduct and sought to replace her. Gina Rinehart agreed to step down last week, ahead of a trial that began Oct. 8 to determine her successor.
Venable Opens Second West Coast Office: Business of Law
Venable LLP opened a second West Coast office in San Francisco. It will be led by technology transactions and outsourcing partner Jim Nelson, who was previously based in the New York office.
Commercial litigator Tom Wallerstein, formerly of Colt Wallerstein, joins the newly opened office with two associates. Art Cirulnick, a Venable partner in the technology transactions practice, will also join the office, along with an of counsel from the practice.
Carlton Fields Merges With Jorden Burt: Business of Law
Carlton Fields PA is merging with the class-action defense boutique Jorden Burt LLP, creating a firm with 370 legal professionals at 10 offices. The new firm will be led by Carlton Fields Chief Executive Officer Gary Sasso and called Carlton Fields Jorden Burt.
Chinese Man Jailed for Life for Oil Made From Waste
A Chinese court sentenced a man to life in prison for the sale of cooking oil produced from the waste of meat processors as authorities crack down on food-safety violations.
Wang Chengkui, the legal representative for Kangrun Co., will also be deprived of his political rights for life and have all his assets confiscated, the Lianyungang Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement on its website yesterday. The oil Kangrun sold was produced using discarded materials such as skins, chicken buttocks and pig offal, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Biggest Danish Banks Need $15.4 Billion Buffer to Meet Rules
Denmark’s biggest banks need to hold 85 billion kroner ($15.4 billion) in additional capital to comply with European requirements and to meet national rules for systemically important lenders.
The number, which doesn’t take into account how much banks have already raised, is an estimate provided by the Business Ministry in Copenhagen, Social Democrat lawmaker and business committee spokesman Benny Engelbrecht said today. Denmark’s too-big-to-fail banks won’t be subject to the nation’s bail-in package, the accord showed.
Not All Voters Equal as States Move to Two-Tier Ballots
Arizona and Kansas, where top state posts come up for grabs next year, are creating two-tiered voting systems to bar some residents from casting ballots in all but congressional races unless they prove they’re U.S. citizens.
The dual methods are in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that bars Arizona from rejecting federal voter-registration forms that don’t include proof of citizenship, which is required by both states. To comply, both plan to provide those voters with ballots listing just federal races.
Yellen Fed to Stick With Tougher Rules for Riskiest Banks
As Federal Reserve vice chairman, Janet Yellen played a supportive role in the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s. As chairman, she will lead the drive for those policies while monitoring their costs for borrowers and banks.
Since Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in July 2010, the Fed has pursued a mission of boosting capital and liquidity standards for the largest, riskiest banks to make them more resilient against economic shocks and less reliant on taxpayer bailouts if they do collapse. Yellen, 67, became vice chairman in October that year and has supported the central bank’s initiatives.
Detroit Ex-Mayor to Be Sentenced as City Seeks to Rebuild
Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, convicted on 24 counts of public corruption, may get 28 years in prison at his sentencing as U.S. prosecutors seek to link his conduct to the city’s bankruptcy, which came almost five years after he left office.
The 43-year-old Democrat was found guilty in March of racketeering conspiracy, extortion, bribery and tax evasion. An associate, contractor Bobby Ferguson, was also convicted on multiple charges, and his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found guilty of filing a false tax return.