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Sep 12, 2016

DealBook | Today's Morning News - September 9, 2016: A.I.G.’s Ex-Chief on Trial, Apple Taxes, Driverless Update.

The New York Times
 By Amie Tsang

Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chief executive of American International Group, goes to trial this week — a mere 11 years after charges were filed.
Mr. Greenberg, who is known as Hank, and A.I.G.’s former chief financial officer, Howard I. Smith, are accused of:
• Engineering bogus reinsurance transactions to bolster reserves, and
• Orchestrating other transactions to allow the company to convert insurance losses into investment losses.
It’s no accident that it has taken this long to go to trial.
“The words ‘give up’ don’t exist in Hank Greenberg’s vocabulary,” notes Kenneth G. Langone, a Wall Street executive who helped found Home Depot.
And, as David Schiff, a former insurance analyst, observes, “this is his legacy, his reputation.”
Ireland Doesn’t Want Apple’s Taxes. Or Does It?
The Irish government is appealing Europe’s ruling over Apple’s taxes. That’s not surprising: After all, it does not want to scare off other multinationals looking to invest.
But it actually could do with the money, some say.
Left-wing lawmakers, government workers and even fans of Apple have criticized the move. Can it really give up such a big payday? It amounts to about $21.3 billion, including interest, according to calculations by European officials.
There is plenty Ireland could do with that tidy sum, especially after the government imposed austerity measures six years ago.
The case highlights the country's identity crisis since the downturn. It has managed to attract international companies and the jobs that come with them, but much of the growth in the economy is related to financial maneuvering, rather than improvements in the domestic economy.
“The Irish government never did do as much for us as they are now doing for Apple,” one government employee notes.
Tesla Updates Autopilot
Tesla Motors is preparing updates to its Autopilot system. The changes could have prevented an accident in May that took the life of an Ohio man, according to Elon Musk, the chief executive.
The improvements mean that drivers will have to refrain from taking their hands off the steering wheel for long periods. A more precise use of radar should also recognize more potential obstacles.
However, as Mr. Musk pointed out, “Perfect safety is really an impossible goal.”
“There won’t ever be zero fatalities,” he added.
For its part, Uber is looking to introduce a fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, but with relatively little fanfare.
But just because it is being low key does not mean there has not been a fuss over it.
Critics argue that the city’s hands-off approach to Uber’s experiment means it is basically handing over control to a company that has a reputation for running roughshod over regulators and municipalities.
Coming Up
• Business Roundtable publishes its latest C.E.O. Economic Outlook Survey.
• Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, will speak at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, in Toronto.
• Lael Brainard, a Fed governor, will discuss monetary policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
• Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, will speak at the Economic Club of Washington.
Contact amie.tsang@nytimes.com

Deals
The headquarters of Linde in Munich. News that merger talks had ended sent Linde’s shares down more than 8 percent in early trading in Frankfurt.
Linde of Germany Ends Merger Discussions With Praxair
By CHAD BRAY
The German industrial-gas supplier said that it had been unable to reach a mutual understanding on governance and other details of the tie-up with its American rival.
HarbourVest Partners Offers to Buy SVG Capital for $1.35 Billion
By CHAD BRAY
The private equity firm said that it had support for the all-cash deal from investors holding about 43 percent of its smaller British rival’s shares.
HP Buys Samsung Printer Business
By BLOOMBERG
HP, which split from Hewlett Packard Enterprise last year to focus on personal computers and hardware, will pay $1.05 billion for the Samsung Electronics printer business.
 
Banking
Woes at Italy’s Biggest Bank Reverberate Across Europe
By THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Troubles at UniCredit, which has a vast business in Germany and Eastern Europe, could threaten not only Italy’s ailing economy but also the Continent’s already fragile financial stability.
 
Hedge Funds
Bridgewater Opens Up to New Money
By THE FINANCIAL TIMES
The world’s largest hedge fund has attracted $22.5 billion after taking the unexpected step of opening its active funds to new money for the first time in seven years.
Starboard Value Takes 4.6% Stake in Perrigo
By THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Starboard Value has built a 4.6 percent stake in Perrigo, worth nearly $600 million, and it is urging the drug company to refocus on its core business.
 
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Legal and Regulatory
1MDB Scandal Puts Prime Minister’s Wife in Spotlight
By THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Documents show that Rosmah Mansor racked up at least $6 million in credit card charges in recent years, despite having no known source of income beyond her husband’s salary.
 
Business
Wu Jingjing, 29, at a Beijing theater. Ms. Wu, who is single and works at an internet company, says young people no longer just want someone to marry, they want a relationship based on love.
Marriage Falls in China, Transforming Finances and Families
By AMIE TSANG AND ZHANG TIANTIAN
The drop in marriage stems in part from China’s aging population, but also reflects that women who once were pushed to wed are exploring new options.
Eddie Antar, center, founder of the Crazy Eddie electronics store chain, after being extradited from Israel in 1993. He later pleaded guilty to a single charge of racketeering conspiracy.
Eddie Antar, Retailer and Felon Who Created Crazy Eddie, Dies at 68
By NIRAJ CHOKSHI
Mr. Antar expanded his business from a single Brooklyn store, founded in 1969, into the largest consumer electronics chain in the New York metropolitan area.
A city block in Newport, Vt., was supposed to undergo redevelopment, but after a fraud case involving the use of foreign investors’ money, the project’s future is uncertain.
Visa Program Up for Renewal Amid Allegations of Fraud
By RON NIXON
The merits of the EB-5 program, which allows foreign investors to gain citizenship by putting money into economic development projects, are being debated again.
A couple walked along the Eastside Trail of the BeltLine in Atlanta. The project plans to convert 22 miles of mostly disused railway beds circling the city’s urban core into a biking and pedestrian loop, and, with it, an ambitious engine of urban revitalization.
A Glorified Sidewalk, and the Path to Transform Atlanta
By RICHARD FAUSSET
The Atlanta BeltLine project, which would circle the city’s urban core with a biking and pedestrian loop, aims to rejuvenate an area known for suburban sprawl.
A classroom at Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport, Conn., where 1,100 students make do with crumbling walls and peeling paint. The school’s graduation rate is a dismal 54 percent.
In Connecticut, a Wealth Gap Divides Neighboring Schools
By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS AND KRISTIN HUSSEY
Fairfield and Bridgeport sit side by side and spend more per student than the national average, but the quality of the education they offer is worlds apart.
Luke Hemmings of the band 5 Seconds of Summer at the Pandora Summer Crush concert last month in Los Angeles.
Amazon and Pandora to Gauge Music’s Value in the Internet Age
By BEN SISARIO
The companies are planning to charge as little as $5 a month for new streaming music services, half the cost of the current pricing model.
For now, Rob Pardo, Bonfire Studios’ chief, says he is focused entirely on hiring people to begin generating ideas and making game prototypes.
A New Phase for World of Warcraft’s Lead Designer: His Own Start-Up
By NICK WINGFIELD
Rob Pardo, a gaming idol, is taking his reputation, experience and some of his former colleagues to his newest venture, Bonfire Studios.