Former Qwest boss guilty of fraud

The former boss of US phone company Qwest Communications, Joseph Nacchio, has been found guilty of 19 counts of insider trading.

A court in Denver ruled that in 2001, Nacchio sold $50m (£25m) of Qwest stock after being told the firm would miss its financial targets.

Nacchio, who was cleared on 23 charges, faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine that could total $19m

Watchdog probes drug distribution

The UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has begun a probe into the UK supply of medicines, after changes at the world’s biggest pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer.

Earlier this month, Pfizer began selling its prescription drugs through just one medical wholesaler, Unichem.

This was designed to tackle the rise in fake medicines, but patient groups said it could limit access to vital drugs

Wal-Mart bias case to go to trial

Wal-Mart will face a lawsuit claiming pay discrimination against more than a million female US employees after a court approved the action.

A federal appeals court upheld a 2004 ruling giving the lawsuit class action status, sanctioning claims from up to 1.5 million current and former staff

GE bank fined for sales breaches

GE Capital Bank, which is behind many High Street store cards, has been fined £610,000 ($1.2m) for payment protection insurance (PPI) sales breaches.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said the General Electric UK subsidiary failed to adequately control insurance sales and to treat customers fairly

HP pays $14.5m to end ‘spy’ probe

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has agreed to pay $14.5m (£7.4m) to settle a civil lawsuit over its much-criticised investigation into a boardroom leak

Wal-Mart must pay workers $78m

The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, has been ordered to pay at least $78m (£42m) in compensation to workers who were forced to work during breaks.

A jury in a Pennsylvania court decided that Wal-Mart broke a state law by refusing to pay staff for the extra work they did.

The class action was brought by about 187,000 staff who worked for Wal-Mart between March 1997 and May 2006

Fastow gets six-year term

Andrew Fastow, the former Enron finance executive, has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The US energy giant went bankrupt in 2001 with debts of $31.8bn (£18bn)

HP chairman to leave immediately

Hewlett-Packard chairman Patricia Dunn has resigned with immediate effect amid allegations of illegal spying by the US computer firm.

Chief executive Mark Hurd said he had accepted the offer from Ms Dunn, who had earlier indicated she would leave in January over the scandal.

Mr Hurd described methods used by HP to try and identify who was behind boardroom leaks as “very disturbing”

Microsoft accused over Vista row

European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has accused Microsoft of orchestrating a “co-ordinated campaign” to discredit her.

Ms Kroes’ comments have come as her department and the US software giant continue to clash over Microsoft’s forthcoming Vista operating system.

In an open letter to the Financial Times, Ms Kroes insisted she was not running a “vendetta” against the firm

Sweden Blacklists Wal-Mart Stock Over Ethics

The world’s largest company is suffering yet another blow to its global reputation as Sweden follows Norway in blacklisting Wal-Mart stock from the portfolio of a national pension fund, citing persistent human rights violations.

Sweden blacklists “Mall-Wart” stock

The Swedish Second National Pension Fund has announced that it has sold its SEK 300m (USD 40.7m) stake in Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Mexico