Business & Finance

Deutsche Bank confirmed published reports that the probe of improper mutual-fund trading in the US has spread to its operations. But a spokesman for the German financial services giant said it is "cooperating fully" and noted that at least 88 mutual-fund companies and 34 brokerages have been asked to supply detailed information to regulators. Citing a source familiar with the matter, the Associated Press reported Tuesday that Deutsche Bank is suspected of helping investors to make after-market trades in mutual funds and of market timing, a practice that seeks to turn a profit from rapid trading in and out of such funds. Deutsche Bank, based in Frankfurt, owns Scudder Investments Inc. of New York and is in an alliance with INVESCO Funds Group of Denver.

Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay, and dairy products giant Dean Foods Co. are on notice that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering legal action against them, the companies said Wednesday. Federal regulators allege that the vendors helped grocery distributor Fleming Cos. misstate revenues. Fleming, of Lewisville, Texas, was the longtime food supplier to Kmart stores. It filed for bankruptcy in April and pledged to restate 2000-2003 financial results, but has missed several SEC filing deadlines. Dean Foods, which is based in Dallas, markets its products under such brand names as Borden, Meadow Gold, Pet, and Country Fresh.

Microsoft established a $5 million "bounty" fund to pay rewards for information leading to the capture of hackers who unleash damaging computer viruses and worms. The world's No. 1 maker of software offered $250,000 payouts for its current most-wanted: the authors of the "Blaster" and "Sobig" attacks earlier this year.

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