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Tuesday business briefs

Citi hacked, Journal reports

The FBI is investigating a hacker attack on Citigroup Inc. that led to the theft of tens of millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The bank strenuously denied the report as false. Citing anonymous government officials, the Journal reported the hackers were connected to a Russian cyber gang. Two other computer systems, at least one of them connected to a U.S. government agency, were also attacked. "There has been no breach and there have been no associated losses," Citi said. Dow Jones & Co. spokesman Robert Christie said the Journal stands by the accuracy of its story. The Journal reported that the attack on Citigroup's Citibank subsidiary was detected over the summer but may have occurred up to one year earlier.

Kentucky suit dismissal upheld

A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit in which Louisville and Lexington officials tried to collect taxes from hundreds of online hotel brokers such as Hotels.com, Orbitz and Travel-ocity. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Kentucky's law governing hotel taxes doesn't cover online travel companies. U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell dismissed the suit in 2008.

U.S. Net security chief named

President Barack Obama Tuesday picked Howard A. Schmidt, a former security executive at eBay Inc. and Microsoft Corp., to become the nation's top official for computer and Internet security. Schmidt will be responsible for developing a plan to protect computer systems of federal departments and agencies.

Lloyds to pay $217M settlement

The Treasury Department says Lloyds TSB Bank Plc has agreed to a $217-million settlement stemming from claims that the bank manipulated money transfers to allow customers to skirt U.S. financial sanctions against Iran and other countries. The department said Tuesday the alleged violations stemmed from the mid-1990s when Lloyds, with the knowledge of its Iranian bank customers, altered or deleted information in wire transfer instructions.

S&P, Nasdaq at new '09 highs

Stocks pushed higher for a third straight day Tuesday after a strong report on housing provided the latest evidence the economy is picking up speed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite index closed at new highs for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 50.79 points, or 0.5 percent, to 10,464.93; the S&P 500, 3.97, or 0.4 percent, to 1,118.02; the Nasdaq, 15.01, or 0.7 percent, to 2,252,67.

From staff and wire reports

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