Citigroup Inc., the world's largest bank, was forced to close its private banking operations in Japan after the nation's financial regulator reported it had found "serious" breaches. The Financial Services Agency penalized the bank for failing to conduct proper checks against money laundering in one customer account. It also uncovered fraud in a Citigroup unit that has about 400 employees who cater to wealthy individuals in cities including Tokyo. Citigroup apologized.

EEOC Approves Call Center

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission approved funds for a nationwide call center that will become the public's first contact with the enforcement agency. The center is set to be launched as soon as March. Democratic Commissioner Stuart J. Ishimaru voted against the plan, saying he believes that the call-center operators won't be trained to handle job discrimination complaints as well as agency field office workers. The commission said it couldn't identify the call-center contractor because the company hadn't been notified yet. Officials said the two-year pilot project will cost $2 million to $3 million.

MORE NEWS

A former MedImmune executive pleaded guilty to securities fraud and perjury in U.S. District Court in the District. Eric I. Tsao, who was charged with buying shares of a company the Gaithersburg biotechnology firm planned to merge with in 1999 and then netting about $18,000 when he sold the stock later, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14. He also settled a separate, civil case with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Titan was awarded an Army contract yesterday worth up to $400 million to continue providing translators to the military over the next year. San Diego-based Titan already supplies thousands of translators to the military, including some who worked at an Iraqi prison targeted by Army investors for abuse of prisoners. The new contract extends that work, which was scheduled to expire this month.

Oracle, which was cleared by a federal judge to pursue a $7.7 billion hostile bid for PeopleSoft, received a two-month delay to prepare for a separate trial over claims the takeover offer harmed PeopleSoft's business. A judge scheduled the start of the trial for Jan. 10.

Former Qwest Communications International executive Thomas W. Hall agreed to plead guilty in a federal fraud case, but neither his lawyer nor prosecutors would say what charge he will face. Hallwas scheduled to go to trial Oct. 4 on charges that he participated in a scheme to improperly book nearly $34 million in revenue.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Freddie Mac began paying more than $50 million in benefits to former chief executive Leland C. Brendsel under a court order.

SLM, the Reston student-loan company better known as Sallie Mae, bought a majority stake in Arrow Financial Services to add debt services. Terms were not disclosed.

General Dynamics, a Falls Church defense contractor, completed acquisition of Newton, N.C.-based TriPoint Global Communications, a satellite and wireless communication company. Terms were not disclosed. TriPoint employs about 1,450 people in 14 locations.

Cogent Communications Group, an Internet service provider based in the District, acquired the assets of Global Access, a German Internet service provider with about 350 customers. Terms were not disclosed. Cogent will hire all 19 Global Access employees in Germany.

BioVeris said Nasdaq has notified the Gaithersburg company that it now complies with marketplace rules. The biotech company had faced delisting until it filed its delayed annual financial report. BioVeris, which resumed trading yesterday, closed at $6.70 a share, up 5 cents.

EARNINGS

Circuit City Stores said it narrowed it losses in the second quarter, to $11.9 million from $129.6 million in the same quarter a year earlier, on higher sales and fewer charges related to the sale of its bank-card business.

Carnival, the world's largest cruise company, said its third-quarter profit was $1.03 billion, up from $734 million in the comparable period last year. Sales were $3.25 billion, up from $2.52 billion.

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