U.S., Swiss aim at tax evadersWASHINGTON — The United States and Switzerland have agreed to increase the amount of tax information they share to help crack down on tax evasion. The discussions took place as U.S. legal authorities are conducting investigations into allegations that giant Swiss bank UBS AG helped thousands of American customers evade taxes.
Ex-CEO’s assets ordered frozenMONTGOMERY, Ala — Attorneys have asked an Alabama judge to freeze the assets of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy so they can begin collecting a nearly $2.9 billion judgment against him. An attorney for HealthSouth shareholders said the motion was filed Friday asking Jefferson County Circuit Judge Allwin Horn to stop Scrushy from hiding assets while the case is being appealed. Scrushy’s attorneys have said they plan to appeal. Scrushy was ordered Thursday to pay nearly $2.9 billion to shareholders who sued over a massive accounting fraud.
Targeted ads stop shortPHILADELPHIA — A joint venture formed by the nation’s six largest cable operators is suspending trials of its first advertising product before it even gets off the ground. Canoe Ventures said Friday that it will discontinue plans for now to launch "community addressable messaging,” which sends ads that vary by household depending on factors such as income and age. Privacy groups fear that these ads could lead to unwanted tracking of viewing habits and discrimination against poorer households.
Repayment cuts bank’s earningsNEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase & Co. expects to record a $1.1 billion charge against its second-quarter earnings after paying the Treasury Department back $25 billion in taxpayer money received under a bailout program. The New York-based bank disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday that the charge will reduce its second-quarter earnings by 27 cents per share. JPMorgan says it has paid more than $795 million in dividends on preferred stock it issued to the government under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in addition to repaying the principal. JPMorgan is among 10 big banks that repaid more than $68 billion to the program on Wednesday.
Goodyear plans downsizingAKRON, Ohio — The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is offering buyout packages to 550 workers at its tire plant in Union City, Tenn., as the company reduces costs. Goodyear, the biggest U.S. tiremaker, said the downsizing will result in an after-tax restructuring charge of approximately $60 million, primarily in the second quarter of 2009. Goodyear did not disclose details of the buyout.
Rig numbers rise in U.S.HOUSTON — The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States rose by 23 this week to 899, the second time this year the weekly count has increased. Of the rigs running nationwide, 692 were exploring for natural gas and 196 for oil, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. A year ago, the rig count stood at 1,906. The U.S. count is down 56 percent since the end of August as weak energy demand hampered activity. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas added 10 rigs, Louisiana gained four, Colorado and California each gained three, and New Mexico and Oklahoma each added one. Alaska, Arkansas, North Dakota and Wyoming were unchanged.
Yahoo unveils layoff costsSUNNYVALE, Calif. — Yahoo Inc. says laying off nearly 700 workers will cost between $30 million and $34 million in severance pay and other related expenses. The layoffs, which affect about 5 percent of Yahoo’s workers worldwide, were announced in April. In all, the company says it expects to write down $22 million to $27 million in the current second quarter. Yahoo disclosed the charges in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday.
Rules lay egg with farmersFRESNO, Calif. — California voters decreed last year that egg-laying hens must be able to stretch their wings without touching another bird or a cage wall. But the details of the new animal welfare law are bedeviling egg farmers. And a newly introduced bill in Sacramento would require farmers in other states to adopt California’s standards if they want to sell eggs here. California’s egg producers say they don’t know how to comply with the vague language of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, short of allowing hens to range free. FROM WIRE REPORTS