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Corporations and securities brief ~ Prosecutors ask for June start date for Lay fraud trial

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's corporations and securities law news, Enron Task Force prosecutors have asked US District Court Judge Sim Lake to move former Enron [corporate website; JURIST Hot Topic archive] chief Ken Lay's [Wikipedia profile] trial date for personal banking fraud charges to May or June of this year. Lay's Enron fraud trial [Indictment, PDF; SEC Complaint, PDF], along with co-defendants ex-CEO Jeff Skilling [Wikipedia profile] and former top accountant Rick Causey, is scheduled to start in January 2006. Lay faces four personal bank fraud charges related to allegations that he lied to banks over how he would use a $75 million loan. Prosecutors used Lay's own statements that he wanted a speedy trial in asking for the trial date. Lay faces upwards of 30 year jail terms for each of the four counts. The Houston Chronicle has more and continuing coverage of the Enron trials.

In other news...

  • According to a senior administration official, the Bush administration will support curbs in the mortgage portfolios held by home loan finance giants Fannie Mae [corporate website] and Freddie Mac [corporate website] to avoid risks to the US financial system. The administration is worried the pair have not filed reliable financial statements to the SEC. Reuters has more.

  • David Boies, lawyer to former American International Group [corporate website] chairman Maurice "Hank" Greenberg [Wikipedia profile], said Greenberg would not have gone through with the reinsurance transaction which is under investigation by the SEC and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer [official website] if he thought its accounting was illegal. Greenberg was forced to resign from the company last week due to the investigation. Bloomberg has more.

  • Allied Domecq [corporate website], the world's second-largest drinks company, announced [Allied Domecq press release] Pernod Ricard [corporate website], the world's third-larges drinks company, may takeover the company. Pernod is working on a bid for Allied with US-based Fortune Brands [corporate website]. Read the Fortune Brands press release. BBC News has more.

  • ChevronTexaco Corp. [corporate website], which announced [ChevronTexaco press release] it would buy Unocal Corp. [corporate website] yesterday, may sell Unocal's North American onshore fields and Asian power plants for an estimated $2 billion after the close of the purchase. ChevronTexaco's main purpose in the purchase was Unocal's offshore fields in the Gulf of Mexico, Indonesia and Thailand. Reuters has more.

  • Morgan Stanley [corporate website] will pursue a spinoff of its Discover credit card business to existing shareholders which could raise nine billion dollars or more for the company. The move comes as former executives and shareholders have attempted to force chief executive Philip Purcell out of his position for poor management. Opponents to Purcell have launched a website detailing their complaints. Read the Morgan Stanley press release. AP has more.

  • Verizon Communications Inc. [corporate website] announced it may abandon its $7.5 billion takeover bid for MCI Inc. [corporate website] rather than compete with Qwest Communications International [corporate website] $8.9 billion offer. Verizon's comments to MCI [Verizon letter, PDF] came after Qwest set a deadline for MCI to accept or reject their bid. AP has more.

  • The EU and United States are ready to resume talks on subsidies given to aircraft rivals Airbus and Boeing [corporate website] but have not set a date ahead the April 11 deadline for legal action at the World Trade Organization [official website]. Reuters has more.

  • US bankruptcy judge Judith Wizmur has approved Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts [corporate website] reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy. The plan will save the company $98 million a year in interest payments. The plan calls for bondholders to own about two-thirds of the company with Donald Trump owning about 30%, down from an original 56 percent. Trump also will remain chairman of the company but step down from the position of chief executive. Reuters has more.
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