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Wednesday business briefs

Credit Suisse to pay $536M

for violating sanctions on Iran

Credit Suisse Group has agreed to pay $536 million to settle a Justice Department probe and admit to violating U.S. economic sanctions by hiding the booming illegal business it was doing for Iranian banks. The Justice Department announced the settlement Wednesday, saying it was the biggest forfeiture ever against a company for violations of that type. "Credit Suisse's decades-long scheme to flout the rules that govern our financial institutions robbed our system of the legitimacy that is fundamental to its success," Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference at department headquarters. "We cannot let this stand, and today's settlement sends a strong message that we will not let it stand." The $536 million Credit Suisse is forfeiting will go to the U.S. government and the district attorney's office in Manhattan. The bank, one of Switzerland's largest, has been under criminal investigation for years over business it did with countries subject to U.S. economic sanctions. The settlement papers maintain the bank had a practice of helping Iranian banks evade the sanctions by hiding the identity of their Iranian customers in international money transactions. Stocks stall as Fed signals

easing of supports in 2010

The stock market stalled after an early advance yesterday as the Federal Reserve reminded investors it would start to wean the economy from an array of emergency supports next year. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 10.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 10,441.12. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.25, or 0.1 percent, to 1,109.18. The Nasdaq composite index rose 5.86, or 0.3 percent, to 2,206.91. Bond prices mostly fell, pushing yields higher, following the Fed's more upbeat assessment of the economy.Griffon selling $100M

in notes due in 2017

Griffon Corp., a Jericho-based holding company, will sell $100 million in convertible subordinated notes due in 2017 to institutional buyers, the company said Tuesday. Griffon owns Telephonics Corp. in Farmingdale, one of Long Island's largest defense-electronics contractors with about 1,100 employees. The communications and electronic information, building products and specialty plastics business expects to grant the initial purchasers of the $100-million notes a 30-day option to buy another $15 million in debt. It will add the proceeds to the $321 million in cash it had on Sept. 30. Griffon will use those funds for general corporate purposes. - Joseph Mallia

From staff and wire reports

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