Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Monday, February 11, 2002

Microsoft hearings may include Gates' testimony

WASHINGTON >> Microsoft Corp. Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates and other top executives at the company may testify in upcoming court hearings in an effort to convince a federal judge to reject any stricter sanctions against the software giant, the company said yesterday.

Microsoft named Gates, along with Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and 10 other company officials, as possible witnesses for the hearings on sanctions, which are scheduled to start March 11.

Gates and the other officials will make the case before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that the judge should not impose any sanctions beyond those that the company agreed to in November in a settlement deal with the Justice Department and nine of the state attorneys general in the case.

In particular, they will be trying to fend off more severe remedies that have been proposed by nine other states, which have refused to sign on to the settlement and are continuing to press the case in court.

Gates will tell the judge that the stricter sanctions would hobble collaboration in the computer industry and thus be bad for the business and consumers, Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said yesterday.

Irish bank taps American to oversee internal probe

DUBLIN, Ireland >> Allied Irish Banks PLC appointed a senior American banker yesterday to oversee an internal probe into $750 million in allegedly fraudulent losses at its U.S. subsidiary, Allfirst Bank of Baltimore.

Allied Irish said Eugene A. Ludwig -- a veteran federal regulator who served as the Treasury Department's comptroller of the currency during the Clinton administration -- would publish a report into the losses, which the bank has blamed on foreign-exchange trader John Rusnak, within 30 days.

Singapore's premier predicts renewed growth

SINGAPORE >> Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong raised his economic forecast to growth of at least 1 percent, from a possible second year of contraction, as computer chip factories report rising orders from the United States.

In a Chinese New Year Eve message yesterday, Goh forecast growth of between 1 percent and 3 percent, compared with last year's estimated 2.2 percent contraction, the biggest since 1964. He earlier forecast that the economy could shrink as much as 2 percent or expand by up to 2 percent.

Japanese markets closed

TOKYO >> Japanese stock, foreign exchange and other markets are closed today for the National Foundation Day holiday. Trading will resume for a full-day session tomorrow.

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