Law & Regulation

Business and trade-group lobbyists are beating a path for the first major battle over the Obama administration's efforts to overhaul the financial regulatory system. Recent discussions have involved the American Bankers Association, National Auto Dealers Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mortgage Bankers Association and other lobbyists.
Kim Seung-youn, the CEO of the Hanwha group in South Korea, has been sentenced to four years in prison and fined $4.5 million. The jail time marks an unusual departure for the Korean judiciary who typically issue suspended sentences when prominent business bosses are found guilty.
Johnson & Johnson has been sued by over 1,200 women who blame the company's talcum powder products for their ovarian cancer. Not only are U.S. courts beginning to agree with them, juries have started to award victims millions of dollars in compensation.
The Department of Justice has begun an initial review to determine whether large U.S. telecom companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. have abused the market power they've amassed in recent years. The DOJ's antitrust chief has said she wants to reassert the government's role in policing monopolistic and anti-competitive practices by powerful companies.
The world's carbon trading markets growing complexity threatens another "sub-prime" style financial crisis that could again destabilise the global economy, campaigners warn. In a new report, Friends of the Earth says that to date "cap and trade" carbon markets have done little to reduce emissions but have been plagued by inefficiency and corruption.
Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States. The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives.
More than 90% of Royal Bank of Scotland shareholders voted against the bank's pay and pensions policy at its annual general meeting in Edinburgh. RBS does not have to make any changes as a result, saying it was a "substantive" protest at Sir Fred Goodwin's £703,000 a year pension. Sir Philip blamed RBS's difficulties on its acquisition of the Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007.
Two Spanish lawyers have launched a campaign on social networking sites to prise out information about Euribor, the reference interest rate used for calculating mortgage payments in Spain, and to draw attention to the lack of transparency surrounding the way the rate is set.
A cache of secret documents has thrust HSBC, the world's second largest bank, into the limelight for helping international clients dodge taxes. A series of articles published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is finally pushing reluctant governments to act almost eight years after the original leaks.
About a quarter of the nation's banks lost a combined $10 to $15 billion in the wake of the federal government's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The losses are galling to small bankers because they took pains to avoid the exotic loans and loose underwriting standards that have hobbled Wall Street titans and some huge banks.