Business & Finance

The board of embattled Freddie Mac ousted chief executive Gregory Parseghian and general counsel Maud Mater Friday, under pressure from federal regulators looking into accounting practices and stock trades at the home-mortgage giant. Parseghian was promoted from chief investment officer in June, when three top executives were removed following the company's disclosure that it understated earnings by as much as $4.5 billion over three years.

Pharmaceuticals giant Schering-Plough will cut 1,000 jobs, slash its dividend 68 percent, and eliminate executive bonuses under a restructuring plan announced late Thursday. Chief executive Fred Hassan warned that more layoffs are likely after profits fell sharply over the past year. Schering-Plough, based in Kenilworth, N.J., faces federal regulatory inquiries into its manufacturing and marketing practices, and stiff competition for top products.

DaimlerChrysler AG agreed to pay $300 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by shareholders who claimed they were misled in the 1998 merger between Germany's Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corp. of Detroit. The world's third-largest automaker said Friday it thought the suit, and a similar pending action by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, was groundless, but wanted to avoid a potentially risky jury trial.

The founder of Internet startup InfoSpace was ordered to pay $247 million to the Seattle-area firm for violating securities laws. A federal judge said Friday that ex-chief executive Naveen Jain profited by $202.6 million on insider stock trades between 1998 and 1999. He was fired in December. The award, which is subject to appeal, is believed to be one of the largest ever ordered under the Securities and Exchange Act's rule against "short-swing" trades, in which company insiders trade shares within six months of buying or selling them.

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