Bank settles tax shelter case

Deutsche Bank admitted criminal wrongdoing and agreed to pay more than $550 million in connection with its participation in tax shelters that enabled the rich to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes, authorities announced yesterday. Federal authorities said the $533,633,153 payment will include taxes and interest the Internal Revenue Service was unable to collect from taxpayers from 1996 to 2002 because of the misconduct. It also includes a civil penalty of more than $149 million.

Ex-Madoff aide told to surrender

Bernard Madoff's former secretary was ordered yesterday to surrender in Florida by a judge who revoked her $5 million bail, saying her access to large amounts of money created "a very real potential" she could flee. Annette Bongiorno, 62, was arrested last month on conspiracy, securities fraud and falsifying records charges. Authorities said she helped Madoff cover up a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Federal checks to go electronic

The Treasury Department yesterday issued a final rule to extend the safety and convenience of electronic payments to all Americans receiving federal benefit and non-tax payments. Anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will receive their payments electronically, while those already receiving paper checks will need to switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013. Benefit recipients have the option of direct deposit or a prepaid Direct Express card issued by Comerica Bank, the financial agent of the U.S. Treasury.

Bank deal lifts major indexes

Financial companies led stock indexes to new two-year highs yesterday after another big banking deal raised hopes that more acquisitions could be on the way. Canada-based Toronto-Dominion Bank said it is buying Chrysler Financial, the automaker's old lending arm, from Cerberus Capital Management Lp for $6.3 billion. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.03 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 11,533.16. The index is at its highest since Aug. 29, 2008. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.52, or 0.6 percent, to close at 1,254.60. The Nasdaq composite rose 18.05, or 0.7 percent, to 2,667.61.

AA won't sell tickets on Orbitz

American Airlines says it will no longer sell tickets on the Orbitz travel website, effective immediately. The announcement by the nation's third-largest airline came yesterday after a judge in Chicago said he would not block American from pulling its flight information off Orbitz. The airline said its tickets sold previously on Orbitz are still valid. And American Airlines tickets can still be bought at the airline's own website as well as other travel websites. American is a unit of AMR Corp. Orbitz is run by Orbitz Worldwide Inc. American also said it would not sell tickets through the Orbitz for Business website.From wire reports

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