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SEC May Cite 3 From Citigroup

Saturday, October 23, 2004; Page E02

Citigroup said the Securities and Exchange Commission may take enforcement action against Thomas W. Jones, the investment-management chief who is leaving the company. Jones told senior managers in November 2003 that Citigroup failed to pass to its Smith Barney mutual funds a $16 million payment the bank received from an outside vendor. The SEC also may take action against two unidentified people, Citigroup said in a filing. Jones is one of three executives leaving Citigroup after regulators ordered the company to close its Japanese private bank for failing to guard against money laundering.

Donnelley Settles Race Bias Lawsuit

R.R. Donnelley & Sons ended a decade-long court fight as it agreed to pay $15 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by black workers at a now-closed plant. The employees complained that co-workers at the printing company used nooses and Ku Klux Klan costumes to intimidate them. Donnelley also was accused by about 600 black workers of discriminating in its hiring practices and in the way it shut down its Lakeside Press plant in 1994. The agreement brings the amount Donnelly has paid to settle discrimination claims from closing the plant to about $36 million.

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More SEC News

MORE NEWS

Yahoo is closing PayDirect, its online payment service, the Web portal announced in a notice on its site. Customers will not be able to conduct new transactions through the service as of Nov. 22, though they will have until Feb. 15 to take money out of their accounts. Yahoo acquired the PayDirect person-to-person pay service, similar to eBay's PayPal service, in 2000.

U.S. cigarette makers spent $12.5 billion -- 11 percent more than the previous year -- promoting and advertising their products in 2002, the Federal Trade Commission reported. Most of the money was in the form of discounts to retailers and wholesalers. Combined spending on newspaper, magazine, outdoor, point-of-sale and direct-mail advertising declined from last year.

Comcast agreed to pay $225,000 to settle a Federal Communications Commission charge that the cable television company violated rules on keeping records available for public inspection. The settlement ends the FCC's investigation of recordkeeping at Comcast's local offices on political advertising, repairs and other matters.

Linda A. Watson pleaded guilty to perjury for lying to lawyers at the Securities and Exchange Commission who were investigating her stock trades. Watson allegedly received a tip from her brother-in-law that his company, Telus, was about to purchase Clearnet Communications in August 2000. She then bought Clearnet stock even though she promised relatives that she would keep the information about the merger secret.

Purdue University said someone gained unauthorized access to a computer network, prompting school officials to urge students, staff and faculty to change their passwords. The West Lafayette, Ind., university has not been able to determine whether personal information was obtained by the intruder.

INTERNATIONAL

Italian prosecutors notified Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and UBS that they may be indicted in the Parmalat Finanziaria case, Bloomberg News reported, citing unidentified sources. The four investment banks and the fund-management unit of Banca Intesa, Italy's biggest lender, were told in February that they were being investigated to determine whether they misled investors about the bankrupt dairy's finances.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Standard & Poor's probably will reduce its rating on about $1.7 billion of Rouse senior unsecured notes to BB+, one level below investment grade, from BBB- after General Growth Properties completes its purchase of the Columbia shopping mall developer, the credit-rating service said.

EARNINGS

Gene Logic of Gaithersburg said losses widened in the third quarter when sales declined in two of its core businesses, information services and contract study services for biotech companies. The company lost $14.6 million (46 cents a share), compared with a $10.1 million (33 cents) loss in the comparable quarter last year. Revenue was $17 million, down from $17.7 million.

HCA, the nation's largest for-profit hospital operator, said it earned $227 million in the third quarter, down from $306 million. Revenue was $5.8 billion, up from $5.5 billion.

Weyerhaeuser's third-quarter earnings rose to more than seven times last year's level, bolstered by a gain on the sale of timberland in Georgia, improved sales and the absence of charges that hampered last year's results. The forest products company had quarterly earnings of $594 million, up from $82 million. Sales rose to $5.85 billion from $5.18 billion.

Belo, which owns the Dallas Morning News and is among media companies affected by newspaper circulation overstatements, said its third-quarter profit fell by nearly two-thirds, to $11.2 million from $31.1 million. The decline was attributed to charges, including $24 million to remedy Dallas circulation misstatements. Revenue rose to $374.7 million from $356.3 million.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.


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