The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an emergency court order to freeze assets in two brokerage accounts used last week to reap more than $1 million in alleged insider trading profits in connection with a merger announcement by telecommunications companies.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, highly suspicious transactions have been detected surrounding last week’s announcement that Liberty Interactive Corp. had agreed to acquire General Communication Inc. The traders, who are currently unknown, allegedly used foreign brokerage accounts in the United Kingdom and Lebanon to purchase call option contracts through U.S.-based brokerages and on U.S.-based exchanges in the days leading up to the April 4 public announcement of the acquisition. The court’s order freezes the foreign accounts’ assets contained in the U.S. brokerages.

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has issued "Credit Risk Trends and Supervisory Expectation Highlights," which appears in the Winter 2016 issue of Supervisory Insights. The article identifies trends in credit risk and emphasizes to bankers and examiners that now is the time to heed long-standing principles of sound risk-management practices.

"Historically, financial institutions that have prudently managed loan growth have been better positioned to withstand periods of stress and continue to serve the credit needs of their local communities," Doreen R. Eberley, director of the FDIC's Division of Risk Management Supervision, said. "We encourage bankers to identify and correct loan underwriting and administration problems before they adversely affect the bottom line."

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BHP Billiton has advanced its exploration and production interests in the Gulf of Mexico by executing a contract with PEMEX Exploration & Production Mexico (Pemex) to complete work on the significant Trion discovery in Mexico.

In December 2016, BHP Billiton successfully bid on the resource that, once fully appraised, is expected to be in the top 10 fields discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade.

The agreement includes a commitment to deliver a Minimum Work Program, which consists of drilling one appraisal well, one exploration well and the acquisition of additional seismic data.

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WASHINGTON—The federal banking agencies fined ServiceLink Holdings, LLC (ServiceLink Holdings), $65 million for improper actions by its predecessor company, Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS), which resulted in significant deficiencies in the foreclosure-related services that LPS provided to mortgage servicers.

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Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Citigroup Global Markets have agreed to pay more than $2.96 million apiece to settle charges that they made false and misleading statements about a foreign exchange trading program they sold to investors.

According to the SEC’s orders, Citigroup held a 49 percent ownership interest in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney at the time, and registered representatives at both firms were pitching a foreign exchange trading program known as “CitiFX Alpha” to Morgan Stanley customers from August 2010 to July 2011.   more...
Samarco Mineração S.A. (Samarco) and its shareholders, Vale S.A. (Vale) and BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda (BHP Billiton Brasil) have entered into a preliminary agreement with the Federal Prosecutors’ Office in Brazil (Federal Prosecutors) in relation to the Fundão tailings dam failure on 5 November 2015 (Preliminary Agreement).

On 2 March 2016, Samarco, Vale, BHP Billiton Brasil and the Brazilian Authorities (as described in the Note below) entered into a Framework Agreement (described in the Note below) for the remediation and compensation of the impacts of the dam failure. The Federal Prosecutors are not a party to the Framework Agreement.

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