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Mar 14, 2014

U.S. to seek extradition of Ukrainian industrialist

WASHINGTON/VIENNA, March 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. government
will ask Austria to extradite Ukrainian industrialist Dmytro
Firtash to face charges filed in a Chicago court arising from an
investigation into international corruption, U.S. prosecutors
said on Friday.

One of Ukraine’s most influential oligarchs, Firtash, 48,
was arrested in Vienna on Wednesday. On Friday, a court there
ordered him held and set bail at $174 million (125 million

Mar 14, 2014

U.S. weighs crackdown on environmental damage from pot growers

By Mica Rosenberg and David Ingram

(Reuters) – Even as states legalize marijuana, some U.S. officials are demanding tougher sentences for illegal pot growers if they also invade public lands, kill native vegetation and wildlife, and spread toxic pesticides.

The officials’ environmental concerns took center stage at a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a government body that guides federal judges on penalties for convicted criminals.

Mar 13, 2014

Obama administration to endorse cut in drug sentences

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Thursday plans to throw its weight behind a proposal that it says could cut the average prison sentence for a federal drug defendant by 11 months, a change designed to help reduce the massive U.S. prison population.

Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to endorse the idea in a speech to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a government body that guides federal judges on how long they should sentence people convicted of crimes.

Mar 12, 2014

Swiss banker in U.S. tax case says he was told, ‘Don’t get caught’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former Credit Suisse AG banker pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to help U.S. customers evade taxes by using Swiss accounts, and said he did so with the encouragement of his superiors, according to documents filed in court.

Swiss citizen Andreas Bachmann, 56, entered the plea in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, the documents show. U.S. District Judge Gerald Lee accepted the plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for August.

Mar 5, 2014

Democrats in U.S. Senate block Obama civil rights lawyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seven of President Barack Obama’s Democrats in the U.S. Senate broke ranks on Wednesday and joined Republicans to block Obama’s nominee to a top Justice Department job after complaints that the lawyer, Debo Adegbile, had helped represent a “cop killer.”

The seven voted with 44 Republicans to sustain a procedural roadblock against the nomination of Adegbile, a former director at the Legal Defense Fund of the civil rights group NAACP, to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Mar 5, 2014

U.S. freezes $458 mln hidden by Nigerian ex-leader -prosecutors

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) – The United States has frozen
more than $458 million that former Nigerian leader Sani Abacha
and his conspirators obtained through corruption and hid in bank
accounts around the world, the U.S. Justice Department said on

About $313 million was restrained in bank accounts in the
Bailiwick of Jersey and $145 million was restrained in bank
accounts in France, the department said in a statement.

Mar 5, 2014

In U.S. mergers, no one waits for this waiting period

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sometime soon, maybe in the next month or so, a federal judge is expected to decide whether the creation of the world’s biggest passenger airline, as envisioned by two companies and the U.S. Justice Department, was really a good idea.

But even if she decides to give the merger a thumbs down, an unlikely outcome that would shake investors and the public, it might be too late for her to do much anyway.

Mar 4, 2014

Obama asks Congress for money to prevent mass shootings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama returned to the subject of mass shootings on Tuesday by proposing to spend millions of dollars more on gun safety programs, inspections of retailers and background checks for people buying firearms.

If enacted by a U.S. Congress that has been wary of gun control measures, the $182 million package would advance an issue that rose to the top of the national agenda after the December 2012 shooting of 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school.

Feb 27, 2014

U.S. attorney general released from hospital: spokeswoman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was resting at home after he was released from a Washington, D.C., hospital on Thursday, about three hours after he was taken there complaining of faintness and shortness of breath, a spokeswoman said.

Holder, 63, fell ill during a morning meeting but was in good condition, according to an earlier statement from the Justice Department. Details on what might have caused the illness were not immediately released, but the spokeswoman said Holder never lost consciousness.

Feb 25, 2014

U.S. states do not have to defend gay marriage bans: Holder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday offered verbal support to U.S. state officials who decline to defend their own states’ bans on same-sex marriage, entering cautiously into legal fights that are playing out across the United States.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to a conference of state attorneys general less than a week after Oregon’s attorney general said her office would cease its defense in federal court of the state’s gay marriage ban, a decision that followed similar moves by her counterparts in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Virginia.