Latin American crime soars
Income disparity has helped fuel surging crime across Latin America, from robbery to homicide, a UN official said on Saturday. “The problem of citizens facing a lack of safety has increased in the entire region,” Heraldo Munoz, regional chief of the United Nations Development Programme, told reporters. Latin America continues to be one of the world’s most violent regions, he added, saying that homicides were up 11 percent in the past decade while thefts have tripled in 25 years. The program points to skewed incomes, coupled with judicial systems that are unable to cope with the situation, as causes of the problem.
Politician denies bribe claim
A Utah businessman accused of running a fraudulent US$350 million software scheme says the state attorney general arranged a deal to pay Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make a federal investigation into the software business disappear. St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune that newly elected Utah Attorney General John Swallow set up a deal in 2010 for Johnson to pay US$600,000 to people connected to Reid. Swallow denies the allegations and maintains he only offered to connect Johnson with a lobbying firm. At the time, he was serving as Utah’s chief deputy attorney general.
Report could implicate CEO
JPMorgan Chase & Co’s board will consider releasing an internal report this week that faults chief executive officer Jamie Dimon’s oversight of a division that lost more than US$6.2 billion on botched trades, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The findings are critical of Dimon and others for inadequately supervising traders in a UK unit that built up a large and illiquid position in credit derivatives last year, the person said. The report, which is not yet finished, will be presented to the board tomorrow. The directors will then vote on whether to release it to the public when the bank announces fourth-quarter earnings the following day, the person said, asking not to be named because the report is not yet public.
Tehran route to be culled
Air France-KLM says the company will cancel its flights to Iran as of April, leaving Germany’s Lufthansa as the sole European carrier offering services to Tehran. Spokesman Joost Ruempol said on Saturday the decision to end the Amsterdam-Tehran route was made for economic, not political reasons. KLM is still selling tickets daily, though the number of flights per week will be curtailed significantly later this month before halting entirely in April. As part of a review of routes, the company is also halting service to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Khartoum in Sudan.
Funds buy utility firm stakes
Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund Sanabil and the nation’s pension agency acquired 19 percent of ACWA Power International, a company that invests in power and water projects in the kingdom and regionally. Riyadh-based ACWA issued 89.5 million new shares to Sanabil and the Saudi Public Pension Agency, each of which will sit on ACWA’s board of directors, the company said in an e-mailed statement on Saturday. The transaction will give Sanabil and the pension agency stakes of 13.7 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively. No financial details were given in the statement.