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ANTITRUST Hog producer fined $2M over rival stock purchase Norfolk, Va. (AP)-Smithfield Foods Inc. agreed to pay a $2 million civil penalty to settle government accusations that the nation’s No. 1 hog producer violated antitrust laws as it was buying stock in rival meat company IBP Inc. The U.S. Department of Justice said that the penalty settles charges that the company twice failed to comply with premerger notification requirements before making certain acquisitions of stock in IBP, which was then the nation’s No. 2 pork producer. The settlement stems from a $5.47 million claim the government sought in February 2003. DOJ maintains that the acquisition of stock in a firm considered as a takeover target or merger partner is not exempt from the filing requirements. CONSUMER PROTECTION 20 states settle with drug benefits manager Tallahassee, Fla. (AP)-More than $2 million worth of generic medicine will go to uninsured, low-income, elderly Floridians as a result of the settlement reached between a pharmacy benefits manager and Florida and 19 other states. Medco Health Solutions Inc. of Franklin Lakes, N.J., the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits manager, was accused of having doctors switch patients’ medications to save money. In all, the company agreed to pay $20.2 million in either cash or drugs to the 20 states involved in the settlement. Medco and other pharmacy benefits managers contract with health plans to process payments to pharmacies for medications provided to patients. The company handles prescription coverage for more than 62 million Americans. ELECTION LAW Voting-machine maker will pay $2.6 million San Francisco (AP)-Diebold Inc. has agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the state of California alleging that the electronic voting company had sold the state and several counties shoddy voting equipment. Diebold also agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to reimburse Alameda, San Diego and other counties for the cost of supplies used in the Nov. 2 election. California’s secretary of state had banned the use of one type of Diebold machine in May, after problems with the machines disenfranchised an unknown number of voters in the March primary. Faulty equipment forced at least 6,000 of 316,000 voters in Alameda County, just east of San Francisco, to use backup paper ballots instead of the paperless voting terminals. In San Diego County, a power surge resulted in hundreds of touch-screens not starting when the polls opened, forcing election officials to turn voters away from the polls. MUTUAL FUNDS Calif. AG reaches $18M settlement with Franklin Sacramento, Calf. (AP)-Franklin Templeton Investments has agreed to pay $18 million to settle complaints that it failed to tell investors that it was paying cash to brokers who recommended its funds. The San Mateo, Calif.-based mutual fund company agreed to refund $14 million of that amount to investors who weren’t told that their brokers were getting commissions on the sale. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer launched a probe into three mutual funds in January, concerned about practices such as direct brokerage, where mutual funds pay commissions to brokers for sales, and “shelf space” arrangements where the funds pay brokers for spots on lists of recommended buys. SEXUAL HARASSMENT $2.8M for lesbian over sheriff’s office lewdness Newark, N.J. (AP)-A jury has awarded $2.8 million to a former Essex County sheriff’s officer who said that she suffered sexual harassment from other officers because she is a lesbian. Caggiano, 43, of Bridgewater, N.J., testified that she had to use the same bathroom and locker room as male officers, and that pictures of naked women were posted on lockers. She had to endure lewdness, including one sheriff’s officer’s repeated exposures of himself to her. SECURITIES FRAUD Mutual fund founders to pay for improper trading Washington (AP)-The two founders of the Pilgrim-Baxter mutual fund family have agreed to pay $80 million each to settle regulators’ charges of improper trading of their funds to benefit themselves at the expense of shareholders. Under the settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the office of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Harold J. Baxter and Gary L. Pilgrim also will be permanently banned from the securities industry. The SEC and Spitzer charged Baxter and Pilgrim and the company, Wayne, Pa.-based Pilgrim Baxter & Associates, with allowing certain favored clients to market-time their mutual funds. Market timing, a type of quick, in-and-out-trading, is barred by many funds because it tends to skim profits from long-term shareholders. In June, the company agreed to pay $100 million in a settlement. Baxter and Pilgrim each agreed to pay $60 million in restitution and $20 million in civil fines.

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