Wal-Mart Rules on Benefits

Wal-Mart Stores stripped former vice chairman Thomas M. Coughlin of his retirement benefits after concluding he engaged in "gross misconduct" for using company funds for his own benefit. Coughlin, who retired in January and resigned from the board in March, will not receive 186,407 shares of restricted stock and 302,503 stock options, according to an earlier filing.

"Mr. Coughlin had been involved in a scheme to misappropriate corporate funds and property for his own personal benefit," Wal-Mart said in a filing.

Another Whistle-Blower Suit

A former Wal-Mart Stores employee filed a lawsuit with the Labor Department claiming the merchant violated whistle-blower rules. Rickey Armstrong was a quality auditor at a Wal-Mart plant in Dallas and was fired after complaining that a lab director and other personnel misused company resources, said his attorney, Steve Kardell. Mona Williams, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said Armstrong was fired for gross misconduct, specifically, threatening to beat up managers. Kardell says that when Armstrong brought his complaint through the proper channels and it was investigated, the project manager "trumped up complaints" about Armstrong.

Kardell also filed a complaint with the Labor Department on May 23 on behalf of Jared Bowen, a former vice president who says Wal-Mart fired him after he questioned the expenses of former vice chairman Thomas M. Coughlin.

Corporate Crime

No Verdict in Tyco Trial

The jury considering fraud and larceny charges against former Tyco International executives L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz finished its first full week of deliberations without a verdict. Kozlowski and Swartz are accused of misrepresenting Tyco's financial condition and taking unauthorized bonuses.

The jury will resume deliberating Tuesday. Judge Michael J. Obus will meet with lawyers Monday to discuss the jury's latest requests for evidence, including Swartz's testimony. Jurors also asked for portions of closing arguments, which are not considered evidence.

Ex-General Re VP Pleads Guilty

Richard Napier became the second former top executive at General Re to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to conspiring to file false financial reports as part of a phony transaction in 2000 and 2001 designed to burnish the books of American International Group. In a statement, Napier implicated former General Re chief executive Ronald E. Ferguson and former AIG chief executive Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg in the deal.

Also, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Napier in a civil suit with aiding and abetting securities fraud. He agreed to a partial final judgment against him, but any civil penalties or fines will be determined at a later date.

Ex-S&P Analyst Pleads Guilty

A former Standard & Poor's credit analyst pleaded guilty Friday to insider trading charges over a scheme that prosecutors say netted him, his brother and a family friend more than $1 million. Rick A. Marano, along with William Marano, and Carl Loizzi, has been charged by the U.S. government with conspiracy and securities fraud.


Ex-AIG CFO Resigns as Director

Howard I. Smith, who was fired as chief financial officer of American International Group in March during an accounting probe, informed the company in a June 7 letter that he was immediately resigning from his remaining post as a director of the insurer's board, AIG said in a regulatory filing.

Marsh Won't Change Structure

Marsh & McLennan said it had finished a "strategic review" of its principal businesses and would not sell or spin off any of them. The announcement appeared aimed at ending rumors that the insurance brokerage intended to part with its Putnam investments or Mercer consulting units.


Yahoo May Create Browser

Yahoo, which ranks second to Google in Internet search, may consider developing its own Internet browser to attract more users and advertisers to its Web sites, chief executive Terry S. Semel said.


Millennium to Purchase Bank

Millennium Bankshares of Reston said it agreed to acquire Albemarle First Bank of Charlottesville in a deal worth about $29 million. Millennium will pay $15.82 in cash or common stock for each Albemarle share, a 39 percent premium on Albemarle's Thursday closing price of $11.36. The combined companies will have 10 branches in the Washington and Charlottesville areas.


Director Resigns From Xybernaut

Xybernaut, a troubled Fairfax company that makes wearable computers, said another of its board members, Edwin Vogt, resigned. Vogt also worked for the company as a marketing and sales consultant, and that contract was ended. The company is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia.


Nextel Shareholders to Vote

Shareholders of Sprint and Reston-based Nextel Communications will vote July 13 on their proposed $35 billion merger, the telecommunications companies said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.