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BP in $8B stock swap

with Russia-based Rosneft

British oil company BP announced Friday that Russia's state-owned oil firm Rosneft will take 5 percent of BP's ordinary voting shares in a major stock swap. In exchange, Rosneft will give BP about 9.5 percent of its shares, BP said. Rosneft chairman and Russian deputy prime minister Igor Sechin said the deal was worth about $8 billion. BP has been selling off many of its assets to raise money to pay for billions of dollars of liability stemming from last year's Gulf oil spill.

SEC opens sweeping probe

of financial firms' payments

The Securities and Exchange Commission has started a broad investigation involving several financial firms to determine whether they made improper payments to secure investments from sovereign wealth funds, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. The sweep in part focuses on whether banks, hedge funds and private equity firms paid placement agents to win access to the state-owned money.

AIG repays $47B in bailout

funds it owed NY Fed

The government says it has completed a restructuring plan allowing American International Group Inc. to repay bailout funds it received at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008. The Treasury Department said Friday that a previously announced set of transactions with the insurance company and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York were carried out as planned. AIG repaid the Fed $47 billion.

New rules by IRS make it

easier for whistle-blowers

The Internal Revenue Service is making it easier for whistle-blowers to collect rewards for turning in businesses or individuals trying to avoid paying $2 million or more in taxes. The new rules would qualify them for rewards if their tips prevent claims for illegitimate tax refunds. Whistle-blowers could also benefit if their information results in a company getting fewer tax credits, an important distinction because many corporations claim so many credits, deductions and exemptions that they end up getting tax refunds instead of tax bills.

From wire reports

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