- - Sunday, June 10, 2012

NEW YORK — The defense attorney for a former Goldman Sachs board member accused of insider trading notified the judge Sunday that his client will not testify at his trial.

Lawyer Gary Naftalis sent a letter to Manhattan federal court Judge Jed Rakoff saying that Rajat Gupta “will not be a witness on his own behalf in the defense case.” The attorney had told the judge Friday that Mr. Gupta was “highly likely” to testify in his defense this week.

Mr. Gupta, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with conspiring to reveal board secrets that enabled one-time billionaire and hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam to make lucrative trades for his $7 billion hedge fund. Rajaratnam was convicted of insider-trading charges at trial last year and is serving an 11-year prison sentence.


Airbus says A380 wing repairs to ‘take weeks’

PARIS — Repairing tiny cracks in the wings of Airbus’ flagship A380 superjumbo will take eight weeks for each aircraft if the work is done in one go, aviation magazine FlightGlobal reported Sunday.

An Airbus spokesman told AFP that the repairs “would take weeks” but declined to confirm the eight-week time frame, equivalent to 30,000 hours labor, reported by FlightGlobal.

The repairs would be equivalent to the “heavy checks” carried out on planes after two, four and six years of flight, the spokesman said.

“It’s up to the customer to decide if they want to do the repairs in one go or in several stops. They choose whatever best fits their operations and needs,” the spokesman said.

Airbus, the main subsidiary of aerospace giant EADS, has said the hairline cracks were found on some wing rib-skin attachments on a limited number of double-decker A380 aircraft.

It said they posed no safety threat and had not damaged the plane’s popularity with travelers.

The European manufacturer is to begin building A380 wings without the defect using a new type of aluminium in 2013, which means aircraft delivered from 2014 onward.

Airbus has said it will cover the cost of the repairs but will not pay any compensation for lost revenue during the work.

The A380, which entered service in 2007, is the world’s biggest passenger jet and a key product in Airbus’s lineup as it battles its main rival U.S. giant Boeing for the top spot in the world civil airliner industry.


Volkswagen to boost production in China

BERLIN — Volkswagen plans to increase its annual production capacity in China to four million vehicles by 2018, a German news magazine quoted the company’s new chief for China as saying Sunday.

“Up to 2018 we will raise our production capacity in the country to four million vehicles,” Focus quoted Jochem Heizmann as saying in its online edition.

Until now, the target had been three million by 2014, it indicated.

Volkswagen, Europe’s leading automotive group, announced on June 2 a shake-up to increase its focus on the Chinese market, unveiling a new group management department for China under Mr. Heizmann’s leadership.

The group delivered some 2.3 million vehicles in the China region in the 2011 fiscal year and reported a pro rata operating profit there of 2.6 billion euros ($3.4 billion), it said at the time.

China is VW’s biggest market, ahead of Germany.


Chavez: Nation concerned about lower oil prices

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his government is concerned some fellow OPEC member countries are violating their quotas by producing too much oil.

Mr. Chavez said Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez will bring up those concerns at this week’s OPEC meeting in Austria.

Mr. Chavez didn’t name any countries he thinks are exceeding production quotas. Saudi Arabia, for one, has been pumping more oil to offset supply losses from Iran.

The price of U.S. benchmark crude ended the week at $84.10 a barrel in New York, near its lowest level since October.

Mr. Chavez said OPEC members should maintain what he calls a “fair level” of oil prices. He says that should be about $100 a barrel.

Mr. Chavez’s socialist government relies heavily on the country’s oil earnings to pay for public programs

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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