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• CONSUMER PROTECTION Wachovia to pay $144M in telemarketing suit WASHINGTON (AP) � Wachovia Corp. has agreed to pay an estimated $144 million to settle federal allegations that it failed to stop telemarketers charged with taking advantage of thousands of elderly consumers. The federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said that Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia didn’t act quickly enough to block telemarketers and payment processors who maintained their accounts at the bank. The marketers obtained customers’ bank account numbers while selling products including vouchers for discount travel and groceries and medical discount plans. Wachovia did not admit any wrongdoing, but will pay up to $125 million in claims, $8.9 million toward consumer education programs and a $10 million fine. • DATA MISUSE Airline to pay $52M to settle business data suit HONOLULU (AP) � Mesa Air Group has agreed to pay Hawaiian Airlines $52.5 million to settle a lawsuit over Mesa’s misuse of confidential business data. The settlement comes as Mesa was appealing an $80 million judgment against it by the U.S. bankruptcy court in October. Phoenix-based Mesa was accused of using information from Hawaiian’s bankruptcy proceedings to gain a competitive advantage when it decided to enter the Hawaii interisland market by launching go! airlines in June 2006. • DISCRIMINATION Citigroup settles gender class action for $33M SAN FRANCISCO (AP) � A federal court granted preliminary approval of a $33 million settlement involving a gender class action against Citigroup Inc.’s Smith Barney division, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers. The suit was brought on behalf of all women employees who worked as financial advisers at Smith Barney’s U.S. retail brokerage branches any time between Aug. 24, 2003, and March 1, or in the California branches from June 25, 2003, through March 1. The suit alleged that Smith Barney discriminated against female financial advisers in compensation and business opportunities. • PRICE-FIXING Airlines to pay $210M to settle price-fixing suit SAN FRANCISCO (AP) � Two British-based airlines will pay trans-Atlantic passengers a combined $210 million to settle a lawsuit that accused them of colluding to gouge flyers with fuel surcharges, according to an agreement granted preliminary approval. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who sits in San Francisco, granted tentative approval for British Airways PLC and Virgin Atlantic Airways to refund one-third of the surcharge paid by each of the airlines’ trans-Atlantic passengers between Aug. 11, 2004, and March 23, 2006. Breyer has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 12 to make his decision permanent. The class action represents 5.1 million passengers who bought tickets in the United Kingdom and another 2.1 million passengers who purchased tickets in the United States. British Airways last year paid nearly $550 million to U.S. and British officials and pleaded guilty to price fixing after admitting to conspiring with Virgin. Virgin wasn’t fined or charged because it blew the whistle on the conspiracy and began cooperating with U.S. and U.K. officials in March 2006. • SECURITIES Parmalat to pay $36M to settle shareholder action MILAN, ITALY (AP) � Italy’s dairy group Parmalat SpA said it will issue new stock valued at more than $36 million to settle a securities class action against it in the Southern District of New York. Under the agreement, Parmalat will issue to class members 10.5 million existing shares “in full satisfaction of any and all claim asserted against it in the class action, worldwide,” the company said in a statement. Those shares would be valued at $36.8 million at the current market price. Parmalat will also pay up to $1.55 million of the cost of notifying the class members of the settlement, the statement said. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of former Parmalat shareholders and other investors, who claimed they were damaged by Parmalat’s 2003 collapse. Parmalat faces another key legal test May 5, when it brings a case against Citigroup Inc. alleging the U.S. bank contributed to its bankruptcy. • TORTS Minn. to pay $38M to bridge collapse victims ST. PAUL, MINN. (AP) � State lawmakers said they have reached a $38 million agreement to compensate victims of the Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people and injured 145 others. Representative Ryan Winkler and Senator Ron Latz said that a House and Senate conference committee agreed to the deal overnight. The full Legislature was expected to approve the compromise May 5 and send it to the governor, who supports it. “It provides needed relief and support for victims and family members directly impacted by the I-35W bridge tragedy,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty said.

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