Even More Odds & Ends

US banking regulators say that they have uncovered 'deficiencies' at the New York office of BNP Paribas. The concerns are said to relate to certain funds released by the bank in connection with the United Nations' oil-for-food programme. US congressional investigators are currently looking into the matter.

Linda Lay, the wife of former Enron CEO Kenneth, is said to be under the microscope for possible insider trading. US federal prosecutors are thought to be looking into the sale of 500,000 Enron shares, worth $1.2m, just days ahead of the company filing for bankruptcy in late 2001.

And talking of Enron, the company last week moved to cancel its almost now worthless stock, three years after it went into bankruptcy. The failed energy giant was once the seventh-largest business in the US.

The New York Federal Reserve last week expressed some concern that certain unnamed investment banks are lowing their margin requirements in a bid to obtain more lucrative hedge fund business. Worries are growing that limits are being established without due regard to underlying risk. Surely not ?

Lazard has now said that the much-talked-about firm IPO will not take place now until April next year at the earliest.

A NASD arbitration panel has ordered Morgan Stanley to cough-up $452,034, as a firm broker is said to have engaged in a series of unauthorized margin trades for a client between February 1999 and November 2000. The client, 52 year-old Joacy Silva, said that her portfolio fell from a peak of almost $500,000 to around $30,000 in a 9 month period due to the actions of the broker.

And finally, Glen Barrentine, the chief regulator at The American Stock Exchange, is said to have been relieved of his position last week after he became the focus of a regulatory probe in connection with suspicious options trading.

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