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Monday business briefs

Ninth defendant pleads guilty

in Intel insider trading case

A former Intel executive pleaded guilty Monday to charges he fed confidential information about the computer-chip maker to wealthy hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, his old friend and the central figure in a massive insider trading case. "I gave Raj Rajaratnam the information because of my friendship with him," Rajiv Goel told a judge in federal court in Manhattan. "I cannot express how sorry I am." Goel, 51, of Los Altos, Calif., became the ninth defendant to plead guilty out of 21 charged so far in the case. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing on May 28.

Decision promised next week

on Bank of America, SEC deal

A judge promised Monday to decide by the end of next week whether to approve a $150-million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America over civil charges alleging the bank misled shareholders when it acquired Merrill Lynch. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff last year rejected a $33-million settlement stemming from the early 2009 acquisition, calling it a breach of "justice and morality" that was "done at the expense, not only of the shareholders, but also of the truth."

Chinese economic spy gets

15 years for stealing space info

A Chinese-born engineer convicted in the United States' first economic espionage trial was sentenced Monday to more than 15 years in prison for stealing sensitive information on the U.S. space program to pass it to China. Dongfan "Greg" Chung, a Boeing stress analyst with high-level security clearance, was convicted in July of six counts of economic espionage and other federal charges for storing 300,000 pages of sensitive papers in his Southern California home. Prosecutors alleged the papers included information about the space shuttle, a booster rocket and military troop transports.Pillow and blanket will cost you

$8 in coach on American

American Airlines will charge $8 for a pillow and blanket in coach class for domestic trips and some international flights longer than two hours, beginning May 1. The international flights are to and from Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Central America. A spokeswoman said Monday blankets will remain free in premium-class cabins and in all cabins for other international flights. JetBlue and US Airways charge $7 for a blanket and pillow set; US Airways adds eye shades and earplugs.

Madoff 'piggy bank' relatives

agree to freeze on assets

Bernard Madoff's brother, sons and a niece, accused in a lawsuit of using the family finance business like a "piggy bank," have agreed to an asset freeze, according to court documents. The deal with court-appointed trustee Irving Picard was described in a document filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Picard sued the family members in November seeking nearly $200 million that he said had enabled the family members to live lavishly at the expense of Madoff investors. The asset freeze affects Madoff's sons, Mark and Andrew, brother Peter of Old Westbury, and a niece, Shana Madoff. The consent order requires them to seek permission from Picard to spend more than $1,000 unless the expense results from a list of exemptions such as legal or medical fees. It also requires them to provide a monthly listing of all expenses. From wire reports

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