Briefcase

Italy seizes $30 million in probe of Vatican bank

Italian authorities seized $30 million from a Vatican bank account Tuesday and said they have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe.

The Vatican said it was “perplexed and surprised” by the investigation.

Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank’s director general and its chairman under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy’s anti-laundering laws, news reports said.

The investigation is not the first trouble for the bank – formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion. In the 1980s, it was involved in a major scandal that resulted in a banker, dubbed “God’s Banker” because of his close ties to the Vatican, being found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.

Clorox will sell division for $780 million in cash

Clorox Co. will sell the division that makes car-care brands such as Armor All and STP to a private equity firm for $780 million in cash.

The company announced the deal Tuesday with Avista Capital Partners. The private equity firm will get the well-known brands, sold primarily in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Europe.

Clorox announced in May it was exploring options for the business, which had $300 million in sales last year – about 5 percent of total revenue.

Cessna Aircraft will idle another 700 employees

Cessna Aircraft announced Tuesday it will cut another 700 jobs, saying it has not seen the recovery that it expected this year.

Cessna CEO Jack Pelton told workers in an e-mail that the company’s performance mirrored the “lackluster economy.”

The latest round of layoffs comes on top of 8,000 jobs Cessna has shed since late 2008 as it cut its work force by half, Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver said. Most of the layoffs have been at the firm’s Wichita facilities, where 6,200 people now work compared to 12,400 in late 2008.

Former Disney secretary admits guilt in fraud case

A former assistant to a top executive at Walt Disney Co. pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud charges, admitting her role in the quest to sell secrets about the company’s finances to financial companies before the information was made public.

Bonnie Hoxie, 34, formerly the secretary to Disney’s head of corporate communications, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in a plea deal with the government.

The written plea agreement said federal sentencing guidelines call for a term of between four and 10 months in prison. Sentencing was set for Dec. 21.

Hoxie was charged along with her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, after both were arrested in May in California. Sebbag, 30, a citizen of Morocco, has already pleaded guilty to the same charges in a deal that recommends he serve between two and three years in prison.