Bid-rigging settlement costs Bank of America $137 million

Bank of America has agreed to pay $137 million to resolve allegations that it paid for information that helped rig the bidding process and win business from cities and towns in 20 states.

Federal and state officials announced the settlements Tuesday with the nation’s largest bank.

Bank of America has neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in its settlements with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve and attorneys general for 20 states.

Justice said Bank of America came forward and disclosed that a division of the bank that handles securities and investments paid for information that helped the bank gain an advantage with local governments that were looking to invest their proceeds from municipal bond sales.

The disclosure led federal officials to launch a widespread investigation into the business of reinvesting municipal bond proceeds. It also allowed the company to qualify for the department’s antitrust corporate leniency program. It was granted amnesty in 2007 and avoided criminal charges and fines.


Taxpayers made $12 billion on Citi bailout, Treasury says

The U.S. Treasury said late Monday that its $45 billion bailout of banking giant Citigroup Inc. produced a $12 billion profit for taxpayers.

The Treasury said it sold the last of its Citi stock – 2.4 billion shares – to private investors at $4.35 apiece, raising $10.5 billion.

Combined with proceeds from previous Citi stock sales as well as dividend and interest income paid to Treasury by the bank over the last two years, the government said it took in a total of $57 billion.

Citi and Bank of America Corp. were the two biggest bank recipients of government aid. Each bank got $45 billion.


Irish lawmakers narrowly pass tax hikes, to PM’s relief

Lawmakers narrowly approved tax hikes as part of Ireland’s most brutal budget in history, an $8 billion slash-and-tax plan imposed as a key condition of the nation’s international bailout.

Rejection following Tuesday’s publication of the 2011 budget would have forced Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s resignation and snap elections — and raised doubts about whether Ireland could tap $90 billion from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

But Cowen survived thanks to an 82-77 vote in favor of hikes in taxes on vehicle fuel. The complex budget faces several more parliamentary tests between now and February.


Chrome Web browser units won’t be here for Christmas

It’s taking longer than Google Inc. anticipated to deliver a new operating system designed to make computers run faster.

After more than a year building a much-anticipated system around its Chrome Web browser, Google announced Tuesday that the first laptops powered by the new software won’t hit the stores until the middle of 2011.

The revised timetable is about six months behind Google’s goal of having the Chrome OS completed in time for it to debut during the current holiday season.

Google’s engineers decided they needed more time to fix bugs.