- - Thursday, April 26, 2012

CALIFORNIA

SAN FRANCISCO — Google is firing back at the Federal Communications Commission after an investigation led to a $25,000 fine against the Internet search leader.

In a letter sent Thursday, Google Inc. disputed the reason for the fine. The FCC contends Google impeded an agency investigation into whether the company had violated U.S. laws by collecting personal information transmitted over unsecured Wi-Fi networks while photographing neighborhoods from 2007 to 2010 for the Street View feature on its mapping service.

Google blames the FCC for dragging out an investigation that lasted 17 months. In its letter, Google said it regularly responded to the FCC’s requests but sometimes didn’t hear back from the agency for seven to 12 weeks.

Despite its misgivings, Google says it decided to pay the fine to close the case.

EUROPE

EU, IMF say Ireland on track with deficit cuts

DUBLIN — Ireland is successfully cutting its deficits, bolstering its banks and pursuing job-creation strategies, its international bailout creditors said Thursday as they signaled support for a further round of loans.

Ireland welcomed the verdict from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund following the organizations’ latest 10-day review of Irish efforts to rein in runaway debts as part of the country’s 2010 bailout agreement.

Ireland already has spent more than two-thirds of the $90 billion credit line designed to finance the country until 2013 when, all sides hope, it will resume borrowing on bond markets at affordable rates.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he hoped that rising confidence in Ireland would permit its treasury to resume market-testing bond sales as soon as this summer, though he conceded “we don’t have a fixed timetable.”

BANKING

Feds probing insider trading by Goldman Sachs exec

An attorney for Goldman Sachs investment banker Matthew Korenberg says his client is the subject of a long-running probe by federal prosecutors in California.

Attorney John Hueston says the probe of his client has been a “2 1/2-year fishing expedition that has led to nothing.” He says the probe is unrelated to high-profile insider-trading prosecutions in New York centered on the defunct Galleon Group hedge fund.

Another person familiar with the investigation says that the probe of Mr. Korenberg involves allegations of insider trading related to an acquisition in the health care industry. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak about it publicly.

Mr. Korenberg’s identity was reported earlier Thursday by the New York Times.

OKLAHOMA

Chesapeake Energy to end CEO investment program

OKLAHOMA CITY — Chesapeake Energy says it is ending a program that allowed CEO Aubrey McClendon to take personal stakes in the wells it drills as part of his compensation package.

Its board also will review financing arrangements between Mr. McClendon and any outside groups that may have done business with Chesapeake in the past.

Mr. McClendon’s arrangement with the board allows him to purchase up to a 2.5 percent interest in every well Chesapeake drills for his own investment portfolio.

In order to pay for stakes in new wells, Mr. McClendon borrowed money - using his stakes in existing wells as collateral - from a group to which Chesapeake was trying to sell assets.

Investors complained that the arrangement raised a conflict of interest. They worried that Chesapeake might have sold its assets to the company because the company agreed to lend Mr. McClendon money, and not because the terms of the deal were the best Chesapeake could have received.

The arrangement was not previously disclosed to shareholders.

The existence of the loans was first reported last month in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Company shares plunges last week after Reuters reported Mr. McClendon borrowed as much as $1.1 billion from the company.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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