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Lawyer: Bahrain court postpones activist's appeal
Politics & Legal | 2012/10/22 14:53
A defense lawyer in Bahrain says a court has prolonged the appeal of
an imprisoned human rights activist by ordering another hearing next
month.

Nabeel Rajab is challenging his three-year prison sentence for
allegedly encouraging illegal protests and violence in the
strife-wracked Gulf nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet.

He is among the most high-profile prisoners in Bahrain's crackdowns.
The country has been hit by near-daily unrest since February 2011,
when its Shiite majority began an uprising demanding a greater
political voice in the Sunni-ruled nation.

Attorney Mohammed al-Jishi says the court on Tuesday set Rajab's next
hearing for Nov. 8.

Also Tuesday, authorities detained another rights campaigner, Mohammed
al-Maskati, the president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human
Rights.



Court lets stand telecom immunity in wiretap case
Politics & Legal | 2012/10/10 13:03
The Supreme Court is leaving in place a federal law that gives telecommunications companies legal immunity for helping the government with its email and telephone eavesdropping program.

The justices said Tuesday they will not review a court ruling that upheld the 2008 law against challenges brought by privacy and civil liberties advocates on behalf of the companies' customers. The companies include AT&T, Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

Lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation accused the companies of violating the law and customers' privacy through collaboration with the National Security Agency on intelligence gathering.

The case stemmed from surveillance rules passed by Congress that included protection from legal liability for telecommunications companies that allegedly helped the U.S. spy on Americans without warrants.



Federal agency charged with enforcing consumer finance laws
Politics & Legal | 2012/09/12 11:18
The new federal agency charged with enforcing consumer finance laws is emerging as an ambitious sheriff, taking on companies for deceptive fees and marketing and unmoved by protests that its tactics go too far.

In the 14 months it has existed, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched dozens of enforcement probes and issued more than 100 subpoenas demanding data, testimony and marketing materials -- sometimes amounting to millions of pages -- from companies that include credit card lenders, for-profit colleges and mortgage servicers.

More than two dozen interviews with agency officials and industry executives offered sweeping insight into the new agency's behind-the-scenes efforts, which have taken the financial industry off guard and have been far more aggressive than previously known.

The number of subpoenas and probes was confirmed by agency, industry and trade group officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the subpoenas bar both sides from discussing them.

The bureau's actions have many banks, payday lenders and credit card companies racing to adjust. They're tightening their record-keeping and budgeting for defense lawyers, according to attorneys and trade group executives who work with them. The companies themselves are reluctant to discuss the bureau because they don't want to be seen as criticizing a regulator that is still choosing its battles.


N.Y. probing equity firms, including Bain
Politics & Legal | 2012/09/07 15:37
New York's attorney general is investigating tax strategies of some of the nation's largest private equity firms, including Bain Capital, founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, an official familiar with the probe said Sunday.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is examining whether the firms have abused a tax strategy to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe. The practice involves converting some fees collected for managing accounts into fund investments, resulting in a lower tax rate.

Some tax experts who spoke to The New York Times, which first reported the investigation Sunday, believed the strategy was potentially illegal, though other experts said it was commonplace and proper.

The Democratic attorney general sent subpoenas to more than a dozen firms, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, TPG Capital, Sun Capital Partners, Apollo Global Management, Silver Lake Partners and Bain Capital, according to the official.


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