Business news briefs: Swiss account frozen over trades in Heinz shares

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Swiss account frozen over trades in Heinz shares

A federal judge permanently froze a Swiss account the Securities and Exchange Commission says was used to carry out suspicious trades in H.J. Heinz Co. shares shortly before the takeover of the ketchup maker was announced. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff agreed to freeze the Goldman Sachs account until the case is resolved. The SEC on Feb. 15 sued the "unknown" traders over suspicious purchases of Heinz options through the account, and got an order temporarily freezing the account. The trades at issue came a day before Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital Inc. announced the $23 billion takeover of Pittsburgh-based Heinz. The unidentified traders' unrealized profit was more than $1.7 million, according to the SEC.

Pa. PACE program to receive $6.9M after settlement

Approximately $6.9 million will go to support the state's PACE program, which helps low-income seniors buy prescription drugs, under a settlement announced Friday between Merck and the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. The state had alleged that Merck failed to disclose studies it did showing that the prescription painkiller Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. In its complaint, the commonwealth stated it would not have purchased the quantities of Vioxx that it did had Merck properly disclosed the health risks.

Fracking air emissions will be more closely monitored

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to more closely study air emissions from hydraulic fracturing after the agency's auditor concluded its current data are insufficient to make policy decisions. The EPA has already begun an interagency study of methane, air toxins and other pollutants released when oil and gas are tapped using the process, called fracking, Gina McCarthy, the head of the agency's air office, said in a letter to the Inspector General's office that was released Thursday.

Under Armour sues Nike over 'I will' catchphrase

Under Armour Inc. wants to protect its "I will" catchphrase. The athletic clothing maker, based in Baltimore, has filed a trademark infringement suit against Nike Inc., claiming its rival has inappropriately used variations of the phrase in its marketing. Nike, based in Portland, Ore., has an advertising campaign using phrases like "I will protect my home court," and "I will finish what I started."

Probe targets J&J efforts to market hip replacements

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson says it's under investigation by federal prosecutors over the company's practices in marketing a line of hip replacements recalled two years ago because many failed and had to be replaced within five years. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts and the Civil Division of the U.S. Justice Department last August sent a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary an informal request for information about its ASR XL hip replacements. J&J recalled the DePuy ASR artificial hips in August 2010.

Mislabeled horse meat found in Irish slaughterhouse

An Irish slaughterhouse has been caught labeling horse meat as beef and shipping it to a company in the Czech Republic, Ireland's government announced Friday in the most clear-cut finding by any country since the Europeanwide scandal began a month ago. Until now, companies found selling meat products containing hidden amounts of horse have insisted they were duped by others, while suspected slaughterhouses have insisted they either did not handle horses or labeled all horse-meat exports correctly.

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