Banking, Finance & Services

The U.S. Congress saw no progresses toward corporate accountability and reining in corporate influence over public institutions in 2013, according to the newly released Corporate Accountability Coalition (CAC) Congressional Report Card.
Sean M. Berkowitz and a small group of government lawyers will be in the spotlight in the Jan. 30 trial of Enron's former leaders. The case is the capstone in the cleanup after an era of business misconduct that left investors billions of dollars poorer. The outcome could shape the public's -- and history's -- judgment of how effective it was.
China Security and Surveillance Technology, a fast-growing company that installs and sometimes operates surveillance systems for Chinese police agencies, jails and banks, has just been approved for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The company's listing is just a sign of ever-closer ties among Wall Street, surveillance companies and the Chinese government's security apparatus.
In yet another bizarre twist to the Enron saga, the sudden death of Kenneth L. Lay on Wednesday may have spared his survivors financial ruin. Mr. Lay's death effectively voids the guilty verdict against him, temporarily thwarting the federal government's efforts to seize his remaining real estate and financial assets, legal experts say.
Some 15,000 lobbyists work in Brussels where they meet secretly with European Union officials to try and influence the rules that govern the 27 countries that together form the world's most powerful economic bloc. New guidelines will attempt to make this lobbying more public and reveal conflicts of interest.
A revised indictment, handed up last October, accused the 19 of "devising, marketing and implementing fraudulent tax shelters" as well as preparing "false and fraudulent" income tax returns containing the shelter losses, and with hiding all of this from the government. The case is the largest criminal tax case ever filed by the government.
U.S. corporate CEO salaries rose 16 percent in 2012, according to research firm Equilar. Average daily CEO pay is now greater than that of the average annual worker salary. Top salary: Larry Ellison of Oracle - over $96 million. Top exit bonus: James Mulva of ConocoPhillips - $156 million.
Exam privatization threatens public schools "They make kids in my class feel dumb," says Vanessa Verdín about the corporate-designed standardized tests that millions of U.S. students are required to take under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Vanessa, an energetic eleven year old whose hobbies include soccer, knitting and research, feels that the tests "ask the wrong questions" and "waste time when we could be learning."
German financial giant Deutsche Bank has agreed to a $270 million settlement of claims that it participated in a complex securities fraud orchestrated by a fugitive Saudi arms merchant that bankrupted Minneapolis-based securities firm Stockwalk Group four years ago.
Seven Irish banks are being investigated by the Central Bank of Ireland for selling consumers insurance policies that they did not need. Tens of thousands of Irish consumers could get as much as €3,000 ($3,900) each in refunds.