Rolls-Royce, the United Kingdom-based manufacturer and distributor of power systems for the aerospace, defense, marine and energy sectors, agreed to pay the United States nearly $170 million as part of an $800 million global resolution of investigations by the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office (SFO), United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Brazilian Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) into a long-running scheme to bribe government officials in exchange for government contracts. Rolls-Royce apologized after it was found paying bribes, including a luxury car and millions of pounds worth of cash, to middlemen in order to secure orders in countries including Indonesia, Russia, and China.
According to Reuters, GFI Group supported brokerage, trading, and clearing services, and traded technologies to global markets. In 2016, the GFI board sold GFI to CME—a global derivative market focused on trading, clearing, and regulation—even though at the end of the bidding war, CME offered a lower bid of $5.85 per share. Meanwhile, the competing buyer, BGC, a global brokerage company, offered $6.10 cash per share. This sale to CME was approved when the board overruled the decision of a committee of independent directors.
Agency law is having a moment in the spotlight. With the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, attention is being drawn to issues where his vote stands to make an impact. One such issue is Chevron deference, a long-standing agency law doctrine followed by the Supreme Court for over thirty years. Chevron deference has been cited in decisions affecting numerous agencies ranging from the EPA to the SEC.
Fed Governor Daniel K. Tarullo, 64, announced he would resign in April in a two-sentence letter on February 10, 2017 without too much explanation. His term does not end until 2022. Mr. Tarullo’s departure would bring the number of vacancies on the Board to three. Senate Republicans have preserved two vacancies by refusing to hold a vote on then-President Obama’s nominations –– the same tactic they used to hold a seat vacant on the Supreme Court.
On February 3, 2017, multiple news outlets reported that Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC), the Canadian owner of Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, moved to takeover Macy’s Inc., the biggest U.S. department-store chain. According to the Wall Street Journal, the conversations between the two companies are still at a preliminary stage and the proposed deal is not assured.
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.