Credit Rating Allows Borrowing Again
Argentina's credit rating was raised six levels, to B-, by Standard & Poor's, clearing the way for the country to resume borrowing on international capital markets. Though the rating is six levels below investment grade, it puts Argentina on par with such countries as Bolivia, Ecuador and Lebanon. Its previous rating was SD, or selective default, because the country defaulted in 2001 on almost $100 billion in debt.
McDonald's Tax Payments Investigated
Prosecutors opened an investigation into allegations that former government officials allowed McDonald's to avoid paying $32.6 million in taxes due in 2000 and 2001. Among the officials under investigation is Everardo Maciel, who headed the government tax agency at the time. McDonald's said it has not been notified of the decision to investigate. The company said on April 14 that sales in Brazil, where it has 576 restaurants, rose 15 percent in the first quarter.
Parmalat, Creditors Agree on Claims
Parmalat Finanziaria, Italy's biggest dairy company, said it reached an agreement with the creditors and representatives of three former U.S. units -- Parmalat USA, Farmland Dairies and Farmland Stremicks Sub -- that are in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The deal resolves claims made on the three companies by Parmalat and the creditors on the three companies to $6 million and $70 million, respectively.
Bond Scam Duped 1,200
Police are investigating three people for allegedly selling fake bonds to 1,200 people in a scam that brought in $73 million, news agencies reported. Investors paid a minimum of $61,000 for what they thought were bonds in Milan-based Pirelli & C. and were promised annual returns of about 18 percent, Apcom and ANSA said. The probe began after a duped investor, looking to get his money back, called Pirelli's Milan offices and determined the bonds he had bought were phony.