Swiss Bank Denies U.S. Probe, SEC Probes REIT, Loss Stains Dimon: CompliancEX News 5/14/2012

Thompson Told Yahoo Board He Has Cancer [ComputerWorld] Scott Thompson told the Yahoo board before he was ousted as CEO over the weekend that he has thyroid cancer, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Thompson revealed the diagnosis as evidence arose that seemed to contradict his story about why he was not responsible for a degree listed on his resume that he does not have, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the situation. The cancer diagnosis came while Thompson’s academic record was under scrutiny by a Yahoo board committee appointed to investigate the matter.

UPDATE: Italy Market Regulator Head Urges Use Of EU Regulations [WSJ] -Italy’s head of the country’s market regulator Giuseppe Vegas said Monday it’s necessary to favor the use of European Union regulations, rather than directives, as a legislative tool for financial regulation. In his speech at the annual meeting held at Milan’s stock exchange, Vegas said a harmonized legislation is needed, at least at European level, in order to face the challenges of global markets. EU regulations are directly applicable in member states, while EU directives need to be implemented at national level. The use of regulations would eliminate the risk of having slightly different regulations among member states, while at the same time speeding up the process. Vegas also referred to the risk of possible duplication and overlaps among the three EU markets authorities created in 2011–ESMA, EBA and EIOPA. “These authorities share the same general objectives, with possible overlaps of competences, which are particularly dangerous in times of crisis,” Vegas said.

Hedge Funds Are Shadow Banks in Need of Regulation, Bafin Says [SFGate] Hedge funds act as shadow banks and should be added to the list of organizations in need of regulation, according to Raimund Roeseler, head of banking supervision at Germany’s financial regulator Bafin. Shadow-banking definitions by the Financial Stability Board and the Basel Committee are too narrow, Roeseler said. Bafin is working on its own proposals to regulate the sector and will provide them for the discussion at the FSB, he said.

UPDATE: Best Buy Probe: Ex-CEO Had Inappropriate Relationship [WSJ] Best Buy Co.’s (BBY) former chief executive, Brian Dunn, will receive a $6.6 million separation package as he leaves the company in the wake of an inappropriate relationship with a female employee. The company also named a new chairman, replacing founder Richard Schulze, who failed to bring the matter to the board. The world’s largest electronics chain said in a regulatory filing that its internal investigation found Dunn had engaged in an “extremely close” personal relationship with a female employee and that the relationship showed “extremely poor judgment and a lack of professionalism.” The inquiry found no misuse of company resources, including aircraft. The company reached a separation agreement that increases Dunn’s non-compete period to three years from one year and awards him a $1.14 million bonus and a severance payment of $2.85 million. Previously awarded restricted stock valued about $2.54 million was vested and Dunn will receive an unused-vacation payment of $106,742.

Francesca’s Fires CFO Gene Morphis Over Social Media Use [Bloomberg] a Houston-based retailer of apparel and accessories, fired Chief Financial Officer Gene Morphis for “improperly” communicating company information through social media. The company began an investigation after discovering his activity on May 11, Francesca’s said today in a statement. A search for a new CFO is underway. Cynthia Thomassee, controller since 2007 and vice president of accounting since 2010, will serve as interim CFO, Francesca’s said.

Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase.Loss Stains JPMorgan’s Chief, One of Banking’s Top Risk Managers [Bloomberg] Days before revelations of JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion trading loss rocked Wall Street, the company’s always-confident chief executive, Jamie Dimon, was his usual exuberant self. When the bosses of six of the largest banks gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in downtown Manhattan to meet with a top Fed governor, the others used the underground garage and avoided the cameras. Mr. Dimon came and went through the front door, and even chatted with a CNBC reporter. It was a stance familiar to Mr. Dimon. He had steered his bank successfully through the financial crisis, and was known as Wall Street’s best risk manager, not to mention the most influential banker in the country when it came to writing new regulations in Washington.

SEC probes giant private REIT [Investment News] The Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe into Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., the largest nontraded real estate investment trust in the industry, is another cause for concern for the $84 billion private REIT business, which has recently seen some REITs struggle with valuations. Inland American, which has $11.2 billion in real estate assets, made the SEC investigation known last Monday in its quarterly report. The probe, for potential violations of federal securities laws regarding fees and administration, is consistent with common criticisms surrounding the nontraded-REIT industry, namely the details of its fees.

Swiss bank Pictet denies being probed by U.S.: report [Reuters] Swiss private bank Pictet denied it is being investigated by U.S. officials as part of a probe into how wealthy Americans used hidden Swiss offshore accounts to avoid taxes, in an interview with Saturday’s edition of Finanz und Wirtschaft. “We’re not in the crosshairs of American officials. However, no bank in the world can guarantee that that will never be the case at any point in the future,” Pictet partner Nicolas Pictet is quoted as saying in the interview.

Avon cooperating with SEC in stock trading probe [Reuters] Cosmetics company Avon Products Inc is cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was reported on Friday to be looking into trading activity before fragrance maker Coty Inc’s $10 billion offer to buy Avon. According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC sent a letter to Avon on April 2, the day Coty made its offer public, asking for telephone records and other information. In the letter, reviewed by the newspaper, the SEC said it “is examining trading in the securities of Avon Products Inc ahead of today’s announcement that Coty Inc has submitted a non-binding proposal to acquire Avon.”

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