The World Bank is investigating allegations that a senior Russian formerly on its staff leaked inside information to a Russian bank, Inkombank, in 1993. The official, Leonid Grigoriev, head of a World Bank-supported economic analysis institute in Moscow, was placed on administrative leave pending results of the investigation.

A joint venture between British Telecommunications and AT&T aimed at selling telecommunications services to global corporations was approved by the FCC. The agency applied several conditions, none of them unexpected. The two companies are barred from selling services to the joint venture for less than they sell those services to other entities. Any equipment the venture uses to provide U.S. service must be located in the United States, allowing defense and law enforcement agencies the ability to eavesdrop in accord with court-approved warrants.

Agilent Technologies, the test and measurement instrument company owned by Hewlett-Packard, said its initial public offering will raise about $1.1 billion. The stock sale will consist of 57 million common shares offered at $19 to $22 each, according to an amended registration statement filed with the SEC.

H.J. Heinz agreed to buy the frozen-foods unit of United Biscuits Holdings for $317 million in cash in a bid to boost its presence in Britain and Ireland.

Charles Schwab's Web trading site failed for almost two hours, the third failure in as many days, because of an unspecified software problem. The site began operating on a backup system at about 11:20 a.m. EDT, a company spokesman said. The site and automated touch-tone telephone trading were sporadically inaccessible to clients starting shortly after midnight, and it was completely down after 9:30 a.m.


Ericsson AB, the world's third largest mobile phone maker, said net income for the third quarter fell 16 percent, to $321 million. Ericsson's orders rose by 13 percent for the first nine months, accelerating by 36 percent in the third quarter. That climb will likely feed through to earnings next year, analysts said.

US West, which is being acquired by Qwest Communications, posted an 11.1 percent gain in third-quarter income, to $421 million. That doesn't reflect one-time factors such as $282 million in costs from breaking an agreement to merge with Global Crossing. Including those expenses, US West had a net profit of $139 million.


Omnipoint, the Bethesda-based wireless telephone provider, unveiled an agreement to buy East/West Communications in a $144 million stock and cash deal that significantly expands the company's presence around Washington and in Southern California. East/West holds licenses to sell cellular service in markets with more than 22 million people, mostly in the Washington and Los Angeles areas. Omnipoint stock closed at $75.06 1/4, up $4.06 1/4.