- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2010


U.S. to sell Citigroup shares

NEW YORK | The Treasury Department said Monday it will begin selling the stake it owns in Citigroup Inc., which could result in a profit to the government of $7.5 billion.

The government received 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup in exchange for $25 billion it gave the bank during the 2008 credit crisis. It said it will sell the shares over the course of this year, depending on market conditions.

Like any investor, the government will likely hold on to its shares if prices fall steeply. However, Citi shares have steadily been rising with the broader market in recent months, which means the Treasury Department stands to pocket a hefty profit.

The government has been trying to unravel the investments it made in banks under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that came in at the height of the financial crisis. Citi, one of the hardest-hit banks during the credit crisis and recession, received a total of $45 billion in bailout money, one of the largest rescues in the program. Of the sum, $25 billion was converted to the government’s ownership stake in the bank.

The Treasury paid $3.25 a share for its stake.


Pa. man arrested in video threat

PHILADELPHIA | Authorities say a Philadelphia man is facing federal charges after allegedly posting a YouTube video in which he threatened to kill a Virginia congressman.

The FBI said in an affidavit that 38-year-old Norman Leboon posted a video last week threatening to kill Republican Rep. Eric Cantor. He faces a detention hearing Monday in Philadelphia.

In the video, the FBI said, Mr. Leboon calls himself the “son of the god of Enoch” and calls Mr. Cantor “pure evil.”

Investigators say they used law enforcement databases to determine that the man in the video was Mr. Leboon.

The suspect was arrested at his home Saturday. It was not immediately known whether he had an attorney.


Probe faults Deal in ethics violations

ATLANTA | A congressional probe accuses Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal of six violations of House and government ethics rules stemming from a no-bid contract between his auto salvage business and the state.

The nonpartisan board of the Office of Congressional Ethics released the report Monday.

There was no immediate comment from Mr. Deal’s campaign.

Mr. Deal resigned from Congress March 21 after casting a vote against the health overhaul bill. Because he is no longer in the U.S. House, he faces no penalty from the probe.

Congressional investigators found that Mr. Deal made at least $75,000 in 2008 in outside income, well over the limit of $25,830.


$600 million goes for state relief

The Treasury Department plans to unveil $600 million in financial aid for five more states with high unemployment that have been slammed by the housing bust, two people briefed on the plan said.

The announcement of funding for North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Rhode Island was expected Monday. The people declined to be identified because the announcement was not yet public.

It comes on top of the $1.5 billion in funding announced last month by the Obama administration for Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada, which all have deeply depressed home prices.

The new money is going to housing finance agencies in states with the most people in counties with unemployment rates above 12 percent.


Barbara Bush gets tests in hospital

HOUSTON | Former first lady Barbara Bush is still in a Houston hospital after a series of routine tests over the weekend.

Family spokeswoman Jean Becker said Monday that the Bushes are hoping she can come home later in the day, but no timetable has been set.

Miss Becker said the 84-year-old Mrs. Bush has not been diagnosed with anything and doctors aren’t looking for anything specific.

Former President George H.W. Bush drove his wife to Methodist Hospital on Saturday morning. Ms. Becker said earlier that the former first lady hadn’t been feeling well for about a week.

Mrs. Bush had heart surgery in March 2009 for a severe narrowing of the main heart valve. She also was hospitalized in November 2008, when she underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer.


Jewish leader shuns Carter’s apology

ATLANTA | A prominent Jewish leader said Monday he doubts the sincerity of former President Jimmy Carter’s recent apology to the Jewish community after Mr. Carter said in a speech this month that the U.S. government has “yielded excessively” to Israel.

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in December he was encouraged when Mr. Carter sent an open letter to the Jewish community offering an al het - a prayer said on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

But he said Monday that the comments Mr. Carter made at a conference on U.S.-Arab relations, in which he encouraged President Obama to take a more “balanced” position in relations with Israel, “leave little doubt of the insincerity of his apology.”

Mr. Carter could not be reached for comment.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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