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Accounting News Roundup: Former SEC Enforcement Chief Predicts More Lawsuits; Morningstar Buys Footnoted; Citi Teams Up with Gazprom | 02.10.10

Former SEC Top Cop Sees More Lawsuits [CFO]
Former head of SEC enforcement Linda Thomsen believes that the Commission will be looking to charge more companies for “aiding and abetting actions,” which means accountants, attorneys and investment banks will find themselves privy to more lawsuits.

Last summer Senator Arlen Spector introduced legislation that would expand the ability of plaintiffs to sue those that indirectly assist the commitment of fraud.

Ms. Thomsen cited the “scheme liability” theory in Enron cases against the likes of Citi, J.P. Morgan, and Merrill Lynch as being the most successful in holding aiding companies responsible for furthering a fraud.

Morningstar acquires footnoted! []
Morningstar, the financial research firm, acquired the blog that digs through SEC filings to find little nuggets of treasure from obscene executive pay packages to shareholders cursing in letters to their board of directors.

Terms were not disclosed on the deal but founder Michelle Leder did state that “While I negotiated mightily for the keys to the Gulfstream, the corporate apartment in Paris, the company yacht, the lifetime consulting contract and, of course, a tax gross up — all crazy perks we’ve written about in various M&A deals — I came up empty handed. That’s because Morningstar doesn’t believe in those sorts of things. Nor do I.”

This was a perfect opportunity for the ultimate ironic moment but alas, it has passed. Congrats to Michelle and the rest of the footnoted team.

Citigroup Courts Gazprom [FINS]
Being in business with a state-owned energy company can’t be a bad thing. Citigroup has been courting the Russian behemoth, Gazprom “to buy energy-intensity credits from three Tianjin heating utilities that had exceeded efficiency targets set by the city. The savings were then bundled into carbon-emissions allowances that could be sold or traded to other buildings that had over-polluted, according to the Journal.

The bank sees that this is an opportunity to get in on the bottom of the cap-and-trade schemes, “The bank and gas giant are effectively laying the framework for carbon trading to take off in Asia,” and teaming with Gazprom will allow that to happen.

Posted in ANR