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Corporations and securities brief ~ SEC charges reporter with fraud

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, the SEC [official website] has indicted television financial commentator and investment adviser Courtney Smith over his alleged role in a stock manipulation scheme. According to the SEC complaint, the head of GenesisIntermedia, Inc. paid Smith approximately $1.1 million in cash and stock to talk up GenesisIntermedia shares on television. The company's shares plunged to pennies per share in September 2001 which led to the bankruptcy of three brokerage firms and largest bailout in the history of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation [official website]. Read the SEC litigation release and complaint [PDF]. CNN has more.

In other news...

  • Buca Inc. [corporate website], a Minneapolis-based Italian restaurant chain, announced the SEC has started a formal investigation into alleged violations of federal securities laws at the company. Buca believes the probe is related to an internal investigation at the company which revealed former chairman and CEO Joe Micatrotto used company money for personal and other unauthorized purposes. Read the Buca press release announcing the probe. The Twin Cities Business Journal has more.

  • A federal grand jury in Montana has indicted W.R. Grace & Co. and seven current and former company officials on charges that they knew that a Montana mine contaminated employees, their families, and the public with a toxic form of asbestos. The asbestos has claimed more than 200 lives. W.R. Grace released a statement [PDF] denied any criminal wrongdoing. Read the indictment [PDF]. AP has more.

  • Wet Seal [corporate website], a mall-based clothing chain, announced the SEC has started an informal inquiry into the company related to the recent sale of the company's stock by La Senza [corporate website], a Canadian retailer whose chairman and chief executive, Irv Teitelbaum, resigned as Wet Seal's chairman last August. Read the Wet Seal press release. The Street.com has more.

  • The SEC has started an investigation into New York-based hedge fund Ardent Capital Management [corporate website] to determine whether millions of dollars were stolen from it. AFX has more.

  • Citigroup's [corporate website] controversial eurozone government bond trades, which is being targeted by several European watchdogs, has led to calls for new Europe-wide regulations in the bond market. The calls come after the leak of an internal Citigroup memo which outlined a plan to kill off smaller rivals by destablizing the eurozone government bond futures market. The Financial Times has more.
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