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Corporations & securities brief ~ NASD charges H&R Block with fraud over Enron bonds

[JURIST] In Monday's corporations and securities law news, securities regulator National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) has announced that it has brought charges against H&R Block Inc. for fraudulently promoting Enron Corp. bonds to customers just weeks before the energy giant declared bankruptcy in 2001. The company received profits of over $500,000 by allegedly paying its brokers sales credits that were "significantly higher than were typically paid" to sell the Enron bonds. Read the NASD press release here. AP has more.

In other news, SEC examiners are investigating more than a dozen major brokerage firms, including Ameritrade, E-Trade Financial, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab. The investigation relates to a recently discovered trading pattern which executes some stock trades in ways that favor the firms at the expense of their customers. Brokers are required to secure the best available price for customers by law. AP has more.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, Microsoft Corp. has announced an agreement in its antitrust dispute with Novell Inc. Under the agreement, Microsoft will pay $536 million and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and Novell will stop helping the European Union in its case against Microsoft. Read Novell's press release here, and Microsoft's release here. Read Microsoft's press release relating to CCIA here. Bloomberg has more.... Harmony Gold Mining Ltd. announced it will continue its multi-billion dollar takeover bid for Gold Fields Ltd. after Gold Fields brought charges against the company alleging violations of securities laws and misleading shareholders in its hostile bid. Read Gold Fields response to the takeover attempt here. AP has more.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the Swiss government announced Monday that special prosecutor Yves Maitre has been appointed to determine whether government officials leaked secret information that aided Russia's campaign against Yukos, its largest oil company. Paper Chase has background on the Yukos case. AFP has more.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Monday announced the resolution of three cases that involved posting false bids to drive up the price of auctions on internet marketplace EBay. Read the New York Attorney General's office press release here. The Business Review has more.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, US District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of NY has approved a $2.6 billion settlement between Citigroup and WorldCom (now MCI) investors, one of the biggest class-action lawsuits resulting from a series of corporate scandals. New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, the lead plaintiff in the case, released this statement. More information and materials on the WorldCom securities litigation is here. Dow Jones has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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