SEC Probes Treatment of Whistleblowers (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether companies are muzzling corporate whistleblowers. In recent weeks the agency has sent letters to a number of companies asking for years of nondisclosure agreements, employment contracts and other documents, according to people familiar with the matter and an agency letter viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The inquiries come as SEC officials have expressed concern about a possible corporate backlash against whistleblowers. Some of these types of documents sometimes include clauses that impede employees from telling the government about wrongdoing at the company or other potential securities-law violations, according to lawyers who handle whistleblower cases and some members of Congress. In some cases, the firms require employees to agree to forgo any benefits from government probes, effectively removing the financial incentive for participating in the SEC program.
Warren Buffett believes in eating like a 6-year-old (NYP)
At 84, and with $72.8 billion and counting, Warren Buffett stirs interest when asked that age-young question. How do you do it? The answer: Eat like a 6-year-old. “I’m one-quarter Coca-Cola,” the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, told Fortune magazine, of the beverage giant in which he owns $16 billion in stock. “If I eat 2,700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it every day.” The Oracle of Omaha says his diet is high-sugar and high-salt and he said he changed his eating to mirror a boy that age. “I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds. So I decided to eat like [one],” he told the magazine...He told Fortune that for a recent breakfast he “had a bowl of chocolate-chip ice cream.”
Apple Throws Wrench Into Nasdaq’s Gearbox (WSJ)
The Nasdaq Composite Index’s longest winning streak in more than five years ended with a whimper at the hands of a surprising culprit: a pullback in the world’s most valuable company, Apple Inc. Shares of Apple slumped 2.6% after Google Inc. on Wednesday introduced technology to encourage companies and employees to use Android smartphones for work. Dubbed Android for Work, the initiative was first announced in June 2014.
Key witness in insider-trading case a free man after ‘substantial’ cooperation (NYP)
Tom Hardin, 37, who has been out on bail since he pleaded guilty in 2009, helped Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara nail convictions in more than two dozen cases of insider trading, the government said. The former investment analyst’s cooperation was “substantial, exceptional and effective,” Judge Laura Taylor Swain said at a hearing on Wednesday, as she sentenced him to time served. Hardin must forfeit $46,743 — the proceeds of insider trading in such stock as Google and Hilton Hotels — and pay a $200 fine. Hardin was first approached in 2008 and immediately admitted his crimes and offered to help the feds.
For rent: Hungarian village of 26 -- $780 per day (UPI)
The village of Megyer, which boasts a population of only 26, is being listed for rent on website jofogas.hu for the price of about $780 per day. The rental package includes seven guest houses sleeping a total 39 people, six horses, two cows, three sheep and a chicken yard. The town, which is looking to boost tourism revenue, also boasts four streets, a bus stop and 10 acres of farmland. Mayor Kristof Pajer said renters will be temporarily dubbed deputy mayor and will have the ability to assign their own temporary street names.
Morgan Stanley to Pay $2.6 Billion to Settle Mortgage Cases (WSJ)
The accord ends a U.S. Justice Department probe into allegations Morgan Stanley deceived investors by misrepresenting the quality of the home loans the firm packaged into bonds and follows multibillion-dollar pacts the government struck with other big banks.
Downgrade of Brazil Oil Giant Stirs Wider Concern (WSJ)
The downgrade was the third by Moody’s since October. Still, the size and timing of Tuesday’s cut surprised some analysts and sent the country’s leaders into a defensive crouch. Brazil’s largest company, Petrobras plays an outsize role in the nation’s economy, which is flirting with recession. Petrobras’s newfound junk status is “an unequivocal blow” to the administration of President Dilma Rousseff , Eurasia Group analysts wrote in a note on Wednesday, and “there is growing concern over a negative spillover effect in macroeconomic management and potentially in Brazil’s sovereign rating.”
Standard General to Lead Bidding in RadioShack Bankruptcy Auction (WSJ)
Standard General won the role of opening bidder after making concessions to creditors. A big lender and big shareholder of RadioShack, Standard General has said it would operate co-branded stores-within-a-store with Sprint. That will ensure the reorganized business will get the benefit of traffic from customers of cellphone services, without the drag on profits that hurt RadioShack’s business, Standard General says.
Indecency Charge Filed Against Library Cam Girl (TSG)
Prosecutors have filed a public indecency charge against the former Oregon State University student who last month filmed an X-rated webcam show inside the school’s main library, according to court records. Kendra Sunderland, 19, was named last week in a misdemeanor criminal information filed in Circuit Court in Benton County. The February 17 charging document alleges that Sunderland, a Corvallis resident, “did and with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of defendant or another person, expose her gen!tals” while inside the university’s Valley Library. Investigators allege that Sunderland’s lewd performance occurred on the evening of January 27 while she was seated at a desk on the library’s sixth floor...Sunderland is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on the indecency charge, which carries a maximum one-year prison term and a $6250 fine.