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Corporations and securities brief ~ Justice Department probes NYSE specialists

[JURIST] Leading Monday's corporations and securities law news, the Justice Department [official website] is investigating as many as 20 individual specialists on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) [official website] over allegations of using illegal trading practices to cheat customers. The investigation is an extension of one started by the SEC [official website] into trading practices of specialists, the auctioneers who manage buying and selling of particular stocks, from 1999 through 2003. The SEC got involved in the investigation after it thought the NYSE investigation was not aggressive enough. AP has more.

In other news...

  • Montana's attorney general Mike McGrath [official website] indicated the state should get a share of the $1.6 billion that federal regulators say Enron Corp. [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic] gained by manipulating Western power markets. The payment would be contingent on the money becoming available. AP has more.

  • Riggs National Corp. [corporate website], whose banking unit has pleaded guilty for a failure to report suspicious transactions, announced that its proposed merger with PNC Financial Services Group Inc. [corporate website] is off and has sued PNC for damages. Riggs said PNC's attempts at lowering the purchase price for the merger constituted an "anticipatory repudiation" of the merger and leaves the company free to seek other merger partners. The suit was filed in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Read the Riggs press release. Read the Riggs v. PNC Financial Services complaint [PDF]. Reuters has more.

  • Military contractors including Boeing Co. [corporate website], General Dynamics Corp. [corporate website, United Defense Industries Inc. [corporate website], and Alliant TechSystems Inc. [corporate website] would greatly benefit under President Bush's proposed 2006 defense budget which is estimated at $419.3 billion. The companies will be involved in America's efforts to expand the number of highly mobile US combat brigades from 33 to 43. Click for Bush's defense funding for 2006 [PDF] and an overview of President Bush's budget. Bloomberg has more.

  • Ukraine's government [official website] has reversed the sale of state-owned steel mill Kryvorizhstal [corporate website] and will put the firm back on the market in an attempt to get a higher price. The winning bid in the privatization was $800 million to a group of investors that included the son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko [official biography] indicated the government was canceling illegal decisions made by the former administration. Read the government's press release. BBC News has more.

  • The SEC announced former Enron Corp. executive Raymond Bowen, who oversaw portions of Enron North America's merchant portfolio during 2000, has settled charges of earnings manipulation and will pay a fine of $500,000. Read the SEC litigation release and complaint [PDF]. The Houston Chronicle has more.
Click for previous corporations and securities law news.

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