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Adviser accused of Facebook scam

NEW YORK – A Florida investment adviser has been charged in New York in an $8 million securities fraud scheme that capitalized on enthusiasm for Facebook shares.

Craig L. Berkman was arrested Tuesday at his home in Odessa, Fla., and detained until a hearing Thursday.

He was charged with claiming to own Facebook shares before the company went public last year when he did not directly own shares. Prosecutors say he pocketed much of $8 million he received from more than 50 investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced separate civil charges.

Prosecutors say Berkman falsely claimed to investors in December 2010 that he owned shares of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook Inc. The government said he operated a private company called Ventures Trust II LLC.

Ford, workers agree on package to close plant

DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford Motor Co. will pay $750 million in separation benefits to hourly workers at a Belgian factory it plans to close next year.

Ford revealed the cost in a government filing Tuesday.

Ford employs 4,000 hourly workers at the Genk plant. Most approved the separation plan last week.

Payments will vary based on age and seniority. Workers 50 or younger will get up to two-and-a-half years of pay. Those 52 or older will get a bridging pension until they reach 65.

Ford also promised to repay a 2.5-percent wage reduction workers agreed to in 2010.

Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., is closing the Genk plant and others to deal with overproduction and low sales in Europe. The company has warned that the restructuring will cost $2 billion this year.

Citigroup to pay $730 million in suit

NEW YORK – Citigroup has agreed to pay $730 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed investors were misled by the bank’s disclosures when they purchased its debt and preferred stock.

The investors’ purchases were made from May 11, 2006, through Nov. 28, 2008.

Citigroup Inc. denied the allegations and said in a statement late Monday that it agreed to the settlement so it could get rid of further expenses and uncertainties that come along with drawn out litigation.

“This settlement is another significant step toward resolving our exposure to claims arising from the financial crisis, and we look forward to putting this matter behind us,” the New York company said in a statement.

Petrobas commits billions to exploration

SAO PAULO – Brazil’s state-run oil company said Tuesday it will invest $236.7 billion from 2013-2017, with most of the amount earmarked for exploration and production.

Petrobras said in a conference call with investors and analysts that $147.5 billion, or 62 percent of the total, will be spent on exploration and production over the next five years.

Petrobras said $64.8 billion will be spent on refining, while $9.9 billion will go for natural gas and energy projects.

It said that daily oil production is expected to rise from 2 million barrels a day in 2013 to 2.75 million barrels by the end of 2017.

Petrobras said that most projects deep below the ocean floor in the so-called pre-salt formation on Brazil’s continental shelf will start up between 2016 and 2017, “leading to production growth acceleration.” It added that pre-salt production will account for 35 percent of total output in 2017.


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