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Corporations & securities brief ~ Dow Jones settles Australian defamation suit

[JURIST] In Monday's corporations and securities law news, Dow Jones & Co. has settled a defamation suit with Australian mining magnate Joe Gutnick. The suit arose out of an online publication of a story which portrayed Gutnick as a schemer given to fraud. This is considered a groundmaking case in Australia as the nation's Supreme Court extended the reach of the country's libel laws to the rest of the world. AP has more.

In other news, as previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the SEC has charged former Hollinger CEO Conrad Black and former CFO David Radler with securities fraud in connection with wrongdoing at the company. The SEC is seeking a punishment including: a return of at least $85 million that the pair are accused of bilking from the company, unspecified financial penalties, and a bar on Black and Radler serving as officers of public companies. Read the SEC press release here. AFP has more.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, American Express has filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Visa, MasterCard and eight US banks, for using anti-competitive tactics which hurt its position in the credit card market. The lawsuit comes a month after the Supreme Court refused to hear the credit cards' appeal from a government lawsuit which forced the companies to lift a ban which had stopped thousands of banks from issuing American Express and Discover cards. Read the American Express press release here and listen to a webcast regarding the suit here. Read a transcript of Visa Senior Vice-President Daniel Tarman's reaction to the suit here. The Financial Times has more.... Senators Charles Grassley and Patrick Leahy, who wrote a law to protect corporate whistle-blowers as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act [PDF], are now pressing the SEC to aggressively enforce the law because of their importance in the continuing attempt to reform the business industry. AP has more.... Boston Scientific announced two senior officials will not be charged by the SEC in an ongoing investigation of a 1998 recall of coronary stents. AP has more.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, former Boeing Co. CFO Michael Sears has pleaded guilty to deceiving the government for offering a job former Air Force official Darleen Druyun as they negotiated more than $20 billion in defense contracts for Boeing. Sears, who will be sentenced on January 21, was released on a $50,000 bond, and faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of probation. Read the Boeing press release regarding the plea here. Bloomberg has more.... According to testimony given at the US Senate's permanent subcommittee on investigation, Weir Group, a UK engineering company whose board includes former Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson, funneled more than $8 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime. The Financial Times has more.

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