Citigroup - Turning Japanese ( I Don't Think So )

Citigroup CEO Charles Prince is still trying to woo the Japanese. He has already apologized for his private banking unit's shenanigans in Toyko, but that didn't prevent Prince from indulging in more sackcloth and ashes when speaking to the Japanese Society in New York last week. Prince said that 'our actions were wrong, laws were flouted and regulatory rules were ignored'. Whether all this will wash with the Japanese remains to be seen.

Prince also said in an interview last week that 'the people on the ground in Japan, based on what I've read, I think they were pretty conscious over a long period of time about doing things that were simply violative of the rules.....We've been kicked out of the private banking business in Japan because the regulator has said we're not fit to run that kind of busines.....It's embarrassing. That's a big deal; that's a really big deal'.

In other news, Citigroup is being sued by Globalvest, a US Virgin Islands-based investment management company, which alleges that the world's largest financial institution acted with another party to launch spurious lawsuits against the firm 'in a calculated effort to coerce the plaintiffs and other minority shareholders....to sell their shares (in certain Brazilian telecoms companies) to....Citibank entities at a price well below market value'. A spokesperson for Citigroup has said that the lawsuit was without merit.

Finally, a US federal judge last week approved Citigroup's $2.6bn settlement with WorldCom investors.

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