Panama Papers can only clean up so much

April 4, 2016

A leak of some 11 mln documents from a law firm in the Central American nation has kicked off a global offshore tax hunt. Iceland’s prime minister is already under fire and other world leaders could be damaged. The impact may be limited, however, in the least democratic regimes.

UK flunks Uncle Sam’s class-action lawsuit lessons

November 3, 2015

Suing en masse is now allowed in Britain so long as losers pay winners’ fees. That and other rules may limit the perceived excesses of U.S.-style group suits, but could also make worthy cases too costly to file. If outsiders bankroll them, that risks conflicts and other problems.

Dewey leaders may skate but law firms on thin ice

October 19, 2015

Jurors couldn’t decide whether the defunct legal shop’s bosses cheated lenders with dodgy accounting. Prosecutors blew it, but the case highlights the bloat, greed and intransigence at many big firms. Only the nimble and tech-savvy will escape a harsh verdict from clients.

French reform bill more talk than walk

December 10, 2014

Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron wants to show Europe that France is finally getting serious about reform. But his limited plan to deregulate some services faces fierce opposition from within the ruling socialist camp. What Macron is demonstrating is how tough his job is.

Private equity discord is best collusion defense

August 7, 2014

Blackstone, KKR and TPG are paying $325 mln to resolve allegations that they conspired to limit buyout prices. Three other firms previously settled for less. Carlyle is holding out for now. Legally, there’s safety in numbers. Yet they can’t even agree on how to resolve the case.

Anadarko’s $5.1 bln settlement adds up in market

April 4, 2014

The U.S. oil driller’s pollution payment is at the low end of a court-defined range, which had a midpoint of around $10 bln. The 15 pct gain in Anadarko’s market cap equals that gap plus a small bonus for relief. And it brings the stock’s 12-month rise back in line with the S&P.

Citi risk measurement scheme warrants closer look

November 8, 2011

CEO Vikram Pandit is touting a plan for financial firms to disclose regularly how risk scenarios play out for a standard, hypothetical portfolio, as well as their own assets. Such a comparative tool might have raised red flags about MF Global -one reason it deserves attention.

U.S. patent law mission creep needs to be reversed

November 17, 2011

The system is supposed to reward inventors but not stifle innovation. Fuzzy concepts like the interpretation of data aren’t protected. Yet one firm says it owns a way to read medical tests. The U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to serve the law’s original intent by disagreeing.

“No harm, no foul” legal concept worth preserving

November 28, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court is due to hear arguments on Monday over a consumer’s right to sue despite suffering no obvious injury. That only encourages dubious litigation against corporate America and upends constitutional logic. The high court now has a chance to squelch such cases.

P&G may need to pop a plan B for Pringles

November 29, 2011

Diamond Foods, agreed buyer of the consumer giant’s chips brand, keeps losing sparkle. Buried news about its internal audit investigation, rising payments to walnut-growing directors and other inconsistencies don’t seem to augur well for the probe - or P&G’s deal.