Zurich settles bid-rigging charge

Zurich Financial Services has agreed to pay $153m (£88m) to settle insurance bid-rigging charges by three US states.

The agreements with New York, Illinois and Connecticut bring to about $325m in such settlements it has made in the US.

Zurich was accused of conspiring with other insurers to fix prices for certain policies

Brazil quiz at Credit Suisse unit

Police in Brazil have detained a Credit Suisse director in a federal inquiry as he tried to leave the country.

Six other company executives are under investigation as part of “Operation Switzerland” but Credit Suisse says the unit under scrutiny is a trade office.

It says Credit Suisse Representacoes is part of a Credit Suisse private banking division, but is non-financial itself

UBS expects charges over health group

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, said yesterday it faces legal action from watchdogs for its involvement in one of America’s most extraordinary financial scandals.

The bank has received a so-called Wells Notice from the Securities & Exchange Commission in connection with work it did for HealthSouth, which has admitted to inflating profits by $2.5 billion

Philip Morris pays $1.25bn to settle case

The European Union on Friday dropped money-laundering and smuggling claims against Philip Morris International in a $1.25bn settlement it claimed could herald similar deals with other tobacco companies.

The EU legal team, which is pursuing RJ Reynolds and Japan Tobacco in the US courts, believes the deal with the makers of Marlboro cigarettes is a benchmark for future settlements

Adecco delays results again

The world’s largest employment agency, Adecco, has again delayed the release of its 2003 results, saying an independent audit has yet to be completed.

Adecco gave no new date for the release of the figures, which had been due out on Tuesday.

The company repeated in a statement that bookkeeping problems discovered earlier this year had had little impact on its finances

UBS fined $100m

Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, has been fined $100m by the United States Federal Reserve for violating US trade sanctions.

UBS admitted “very serious mistakes” had been made and said it would now quit the banknote trading business outside Switzerland.

The Fed had accused the bank of supplying US dollars to countries such as Cuba, Libya, Iran and Yugoslavia

Adecco Investigation Continues

Swiss market authorities have launched an investigation into insider dealing at Adecco, the world’s largest employment firm, which saw its stock plunge by a third last week.

The Federal Banking Commission said it had launched a “preliminary investigation”, working alongside the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which is conducting its own inquiries. Felix Weber, who resigned as chief financial officer last week, took full responsibility for the accounting problems