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Federal prosecutors have indicted a San Francisco businessman, Alexander Lushtak, on charges of defrauding investors out of more than $1.5 million and laundering the proceeds through the Bank of New York. The indictment comes as federal authorities are looking into allegations that as much as $10 billion of illegally obtained funds were circulated through the Bank of New York by associates of a Russian crime syndicate. Investigators in the San Francisco case are reviewing a corporate account in the name of A&A Financial, a financial-management company owned by Lushtak, to determine whether it is tied to the New York case.
Lockheed Martin of Bethesda disclosed a possible hitch in its effort to obtain antitrust clearance for the acquisition of Comsat. In May, Lockheed said it had reached an understanding with the Justice Department that would form the basis for an antitrust agreement. These terms called for Lockheed to sell its 14 percent stake in Loral Space & Communications. Lockheed, though, based its willingness to divest the stake on obtaining assurances from Loral, in order to sell the stake within the terms promised to Justice. But Lockheed Martin "has been unable to obtain these assurances" from Loral, according to documents filed with the SEC.
Toys R Us faces a review of its debt rating by Moody's, which said a downgrade was possible based on the continuing competitive challenges facing the company and their probable negative effect on earnings and cash flow.
TD Waterhouse Group and Discover Brokerage Direct said their stock-trading Web sites crashed for more than 90 minutes after an Automatic Data Processing computer failed. Executives of ADP, which provides trade-processing services for a number of brokerage firms, could not be reached for comment. The two brokerages said customers were unable to access their sites and make trades from about 10:35 a.m. until shortly after noon Eastern time.
Times Mirror, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, said it plans to sell several businesses, including the Sporting News, to focus on its newspapers, magazines and flight-information operations. The units earmarked for sale include AchieveGlobal, a training company; software maker Allen Communications; StayWell, a health information company; and the weekly Sporting News. After the sales, Times Mirror said, it would concentrate its professional information resources on the expansion of its aviation information company, Jeppesen Sanderson, one of its most profitable units.
Colonial Cookies of Canada is recalling some bags of Sensational Gourmet chocolate chip cookies, sold in 10 states, including Maryland and Virginia, because they may pose a serious, even life-threatening, risk to people allergic to nuts. The cookies may contain pecans, although the packaging does not list nuts as an ingredient. The recalled cookies are in 12-ounce bags marked with the codes "Best By Feb. 24 OOD" or "Best By Feb. 24 OOE." Consumers can return the cookies to the place of purchase for a refund and call 1-800-265-6508 with questions.
Coca-Cola warned that a $75 million recall and higher marketing costs in Europe and slow sales in Latin America, China and Russia will result in lower third-quarter earnings. It predicted that its third-quarter profit would be 33 cents a share or less, including the cost of the recall, down from 35 cents a year ago. The consensus profit forecast of analysts surveyed by First Call was 36 cents a share.
Long & Foster Real Estate, the largest residential real estate company in the Washington area, reported that August 1999 home sales were $1.16 billion, up 17 percent from a year earlier. The company said it sold 6,267 properties all over the mid-Atlantic region in August, up from 5,620 properties a year earlier. Sales volume for 1999 through the end of August was up 10 percent over the same period last year, to $9.5 billion.