On February 10, 2017, Maurice Greenberg (A.I.G’s former CEO) and his co-defendant Howard Smith (A.I.G.’s former CFO) agreed to settle with New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman on an accounting fraud case that lasted for more than 12 years. That settlement ends a civil case that began in 2005 under Spitzer – the then-New York Attorney General – and was continuously delayed by a flurry of defense motions and eight pre-trial appeals.
Borrowing money from banks to finance our education is not something we typically view as a luxury. But, it is. Students who are undocumented immigrants, like Mitzie Perez, do not enjoy the privilege of taking out student loans from most banks due to their immigration status. In response, Ms. Perez filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco against Wells Fargo, a lender that allegedly refused her loan application because she is an undocumented immigrant. The California League of United Latin American Citizens has joined the suit as a plaintiff while it seeks class-action status for the discriminatory practice of denying student loans.
A decade long legal battle took another strange turn last month when a New York state appellate court overturned a trial judge’s decision letting former Goldman Sachs employee, Sergey Aleynikov, walk free. The on-going investigation and legal dispute started in 2009 when Mr. Aleynikov stole proprietary source code from Goldman Sachs, and took the code to his new employer to establish a high-frequency trading platform.
Social Finance, Inc., also known as SoFi, announced that it is acquiring mobile-banking start-up Zenbanx. SoFi is a San Francisco-based start-up that was founded in 2011 and initially offered student loan refinancing services to “graduates of elite universities.” Since its inception, SoFi has branched out beyond student loan refinancing and expanded its involvement in the personal finance industry by moving into the realm of personal loans, wealth management, mortgages, and life insurance. SoFi currently has a customer base of about 225,000 members. Zenbanx Holding Ltd. is a Delaware-based company that provides mobile banking services to its customers with features allowing customers to hold an account with up to nine currencies, access cash via ATMs, and perform international money transfers. SoFi’s acquisition of Zenbanx is expected to be complete by the end of this month.
In 2016, the United States Courts of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and the D.C. Circuit declared provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank) to be unconstitutional. Despite these holdings, financial regulation remains intact, at least for the moment.
Tensions between airline staff and those with food allergies are rising in the last few years as airlines have modified their policies. In the past, airlines used to allow pre-boarding for people with food allergies to be able to wipe down the seats and surrounding area. Now, special requests, such as pre-boarding, are being denied.
Ford is putting its trust and money into Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based artificial intelligence company, with the goal of getting fully autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021. This is the next big step that motor car companies are looking to take in order to prepare for the future of self-driving cars.
The global oil industry started to show signs of recovery in early 2017, as multinationals such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil cut costs amidst rising oil prices to generate enough cash to pay dividends without borrowing. Following a wave of cost reductions and capital project deferrals, companies in the industry seem well placed to benefit from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) agreement to cut production in order to eliminate global oversupply and increase prices.
Avis, a unit of the Avis Budget Group, recently adopted a poison pill over concerns about creeping control. On January 23, the car rental service instituted the poison pill to block hedge fund SRS Investment (“SRS”) from obtaining more than 10 percent voting power. SRS is Avis’s largest shareholder with a 28.5 percent interest in the company—a majority of which is composed of cash-settled derivatives and options. The hedge fund currently owns 9.7 percent of the common stock and recently chose not to renew a deal from last January that precluded it from adding to its current interest.