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Corporations and securities brief ~ ChoicePoint identity thefts lead to Senate hearings

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's corporations and securities law news, Senator Arlen Specter [official website] announced the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] will start an investigation into how criminals were able to gain access [JURIST story] to at least 145,000 consumer profiles maintained by ChoicePoint Inc. [corporate website]. Privacy advocates are calling for tougher regulations for ChoicePoint, which currently maintains personal profiles of almost all American consumers. Reuters has more.

In other news...

  • Former HealthSouth [corporate website] Assistant Controller Ken Livesay, a chief architect of the huge fraud at health giant who has pleaded guilty, testified Thursday that the company used outright fraud when it inserted bogus numbers in the accounting books. Livesay also testified that former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy [official website] told him to "hang in there" and also promised that "we're not going to have to do this forever." Read the indictment against Richard Scrushy [PDF]. AP has more.

  • US Bankruptcy Judge Letitia Clark may dismiss Russian oil giant Yukos' request for bankruptcy protection for lack of jurisdiction in Texas. Yukos [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic archive] filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US late last year in an attempt to stop the Russian government-ordered auction of its key oil unit and to protect its remaining assets. Judge Clark's expects to rule on the request soon. Yukos maintains a website for its Chapter 11 case. AP has more.

  • Former WorldCom Chairman Bert Roberts Jr. testified Thursday that former WorldCom Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers [Wikipedia profile], on trial for fraud, did not know the company hid billions of dollars in expenses. The testimony contradicts that given by ex-CFO Scott Sullivan, who said Ebbers was aware of the fraud [JURIST report]. In other news, Ebbers' attorney is expected to decide soon whether Ebbers will testify in the case. Read Ebbers' indictment [text, PDF] and the superseding indictment [text, PDF]. Bloomberg has more.

  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. [corporate website] announced Thursday that the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York [official website] is investigating the company. The investigation is likely related to the SEC [official website] probe into how the company accounts for acquisitions of franchised Krispy Kreme businesses. Read the Krispy Kreme press release. CBSMarketWatch has more.

  • Michaels Stores Inc. [corporate website] announced Thursday that a federal grand jury and the SEC are investigating trusts controlled by the company's leaders Sam Wyly [official website] and Charles J. Wyly Jr. The probe relates to the Wylys' failure to disclose their involvement in offshore trusts that traded in company stock. Read the Michaels Stores press release. AP has more.

  • Radio market leader Clear Channel Communications [corporate website] announced Thursday that the company and radio host Howard Stern both agreed to withdraw their lawsuits claiming money damages relating to Clear Channel's decision to remove Stern's morning program from its stations. Read the Clear Channel press release [PDF]. AP has more.
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