Siemens offices searched
Investigators probing suspected corruption at Siemens AG have searched the offices of top managers, including CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, officials said on Monday. Prosecutors searched the offices of the electronics conglomerate across Germany last week as part of an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of company funds and possible bribery. Anton Winkler, a prosecutor in Munich, and a spokesman for Siemens said Kleinfeld's office was among those searched. The prosecutors are investigating 12 people, including two former Siemens managers, on suspicion that they embezzled more than 20 million euros (US$25.6 million) from the company's landline communications unit, COM. Four of the suspects are in custody.
Mitsubishi settles suit
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc said yesterday it had agreed to pay ¥2.5 billion (US$21.2 million) to Sumitomo Trust and Banking Co to settle a two-year legal battle over the scrapping of a partial merger in favor of a deal to create the world's largest bank. Sumitomo Trust had agreed in principle in May 2004 to buy the trust banking unit of then UFJ Holdings Inc, which was buckling under a mountain of bad debts. But in a merger battle that was unusually bitter by Japanese standards, UFJ later abandoned the plan in favor of a full merger with Mitsubishi.
Korean Air to buy 25 planes
South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air said yesterday it would buy 25 aircraft from Boeing Co for around US$5.5 billion, the largest aviation deal in the nation's history. Under the agreement, Boeing will deliver 15 passenger aircraft and 10 freighters to Korean Air Co -- the world's biggest mover of air cargo -- over a 10-year period beginning in 2009, the airline said in a statement. Korean Air will purchase 10 long-haul 777-300s and five medium-range 737-900/700 passenger jets, as well as 10 freighters, five 747-8Fs and five 777-200s. It has an option on an additional eight planes: four 777-300s, two 747-8Fs and two 737-900s.
■ United States
Paulson issues warning
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called for a "more agile" regulatory framework for publicly traded US firms on Monday, citing a drop in the number of initial public offerings (IPOs). Paulson, in a speech to the Economic Club of New York, said the decline in the number of companies seeking a public listing on US exchanges could raise a challenge to the country's economic competitiveness. Paulson said the US regulatory system had also become "complex and confusing," citing the existence of four separate banking regulators. "Excessive regulation slows innovation, imposes needless costs on investors, and stifles competitiveness and job creation," Paulson said.
Proton stirs local interest
Two Malaysian firms are interested in forming a pact with troubled automaker Proton, Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop said yesterday as the government holds talks with PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volkswagen AG. Yakcop said that the government has not excluded local firms from buying the 43 percent stake in Proton held by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the state's investment arm. Local motor giant, Naza Group said it had submitted a letter of intent to buy Khazanah's controlling stake. DRB-Hicom has also expressed an interest.