Here is what is hot today in news:
Gulf Oil Spill Trial Delayed - BP, based in London, UK, was set to defend itself on, or limit the liability of, civil penalties associated with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The trial has been delayed a week, but news is that BP is close to a settlement to close its $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility and move the remaining $14 billion to plaintiffs who contend the spill harmed their businesses and properties. To date, BP has paid $6 billion in claims. This settlement would be separate from BP's talks on fines with the U.S. government....those negotiations continue.
Allen Stanford's Defense Team's Expert Accountants Unpaid Bills - Marcum, a large New York based accounting and advisory firm, is on the hook for over $3.2 million for adding in the defense of Allen Stanford during a trial that has now lasted 5 weeks. The U.S. government is paying the legal fees of Stanford since he claims he has no financial means to defend himself. Judge David Hittner, the presiding judge, had approved the $3.2 million budget for the services of Marcum but the final say on what the firm will be paid falls to U.S. Appeals Court Judge Edith Jones, who also oversees the budgets of federal courts for the district where Stanford's trial is taking place. To date, Marcum has been paid $600,000, and there is no assurance it will be paid another dime. Could the defense use this as a strategy for appeal?
MF Global's Missing Money - There is some focus on a few transactions at the center of the missing money ($1.6 billion) in MF Global money. Those transactions took place in the final hours before MF Global claimed bankruptcy. The person whose name keeps coming up is Edith O'Brien, a senior official at MF Global's Chicago office and the person named in congressional testimony by Jon Corzine as someone responsible for many of the last minute transactions conducted by MF Global. As the detective works continue, there is also a story brewing about who gets paid first with the remaining assets of the company, creditors (hedge funds who bought up steeply discounted MF Global bonds), or customers who have lost a significant amount of their personal wealth?
Olympus Names New President - After being hit with a major accounting scandal that was uncovered by former CEO, Michael Woodford, Olympus is putting its house back in order by naming a new president, Hiroyuki Sasa, the head of its medical equipment marketing business. The move will likely not help investor confidence that Olympus is serious about reform as many had called for someone outside the company to come in to turn things around.