- - Monday, January 23, 2012


Google’s quarterly lobbying bill triples to $3.76 million

SAN FRANCISCO — Google’s U.S. lobbying bill more than tripled to $3.76 million in the fourth quarter.

The dramatic increase came as the Internet search leader fought proposed changes to online piracy laws and sought to influence a wide range of other issues that could affect its fortunes.

The amount Google Inc. spent making its political points from October through December is by far the company’s highest lobbying tab for any three-month period since its Washington office opened in 2005. The total compares with a lobbying budget of $1.24 million during the final three months of 2010.

For all of 2011, Google spent $9.7 million on political persuasion, nearly doubling from $5.2 million in 2010.

The fourth-quarter lobbying figures were filed late Friday with the U.S. House clerk’s office.


Jury selection begins in Stanford fraud trial

HOUSTON — Jury selection began Monday in the oft-delayed trial of jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is accused of bilking investors out of $7 billion in a vast Ponzi scheme.

Opening arguments are expected to start Tuesday.

Mr. Stanford’s attorneys have said they expect him to testify.

Mr. Stanford was indicted more than 2 1/2 years ago but his trial was delayed while he was treated at a prison hospital for an addiction to an anti-anxiety drug.

Prosecutors say Mr. Stanford funded a lavish lifestyle with the money of depositors. His financial empire stretched from the U.S. to Latin American and the Caribbean.

He denies wrongdoing.


Canadian man gets 18 years for fraud

FARGO — He was unemployed and receiving welfare, but Adekunle Adetiloye was somehow still living lavishly, complete with a Range Rover SUV, extended trips to England and an expensive condominium.

That alone piqued authorities’ interest, but then there were two credit cards tucked away in his wallet that seemed to confirm suspicions that the Canadian man was up to something nefarious. The pieces of plastic each bore different names - Donald Douglas and Vincent Andriole - and helped authorities prosecute a case they describe as one of the largest high-tech bank robberies in U.S. history.

Adetiloye was sentenced Monday to nearly 18 years in prison on fraud charges. During the hearing in North Dakota, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Chase said he had an “insatiable hunger for other people’s money.”

Authorities believe Adetiloye, 40, masterminded a scheme to open nearly 600 fraudulent bank accounts and bilk 22 major banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson handed down a 214-month prison term and scheduled a Feb. 15 hearing to discuss returning the nearly $1.5 million in losses to credit card companies and banks.

“Characterizing this fraud scheme as massive, if anything, is an understatement,” Mr. Chase said in court documents.


Kodak names new officer to oversee restructuring

NEW YORK — Kodak named a new chief restructuring officer just days after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The iconic company said Monday that James Mesterharm, managing director of AlixPartners LLP, will lead it through its court reorganization. Last week, it said Dominic DiNapoli, vice president of FTI Consulting, would lead the effort.

The 132-year-old company is not saying why it made the change. It added that the move “does not reflect any disagreement or difference of opinion.”

Kodak says Mr. Mesterharm has worked through many other major Chapter 11 cases, including General Growth Properties, Zenith Electronics Corp. and Silicon Graphics Inc.

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday. It expects to complete its U.S.-based restructuring next year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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