The daily business briefing: January 11, 2017

Harold Maass
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VW nears emissions-cheating plea deal with $4.3 billion in fines

Volkswagen said Tuesday that it was in "advanced talks" with U.S. authorities on a settlement in its diesel emissions test cheating scandal. The proposed settlement reportedly would include $4.3 billion in criminal and civil fines. The agreement also would provide for the appointment of an independent monitor to make sure the German automaker complies over the next three years. The company also said it would agree to "a guilty plea" in the criminal elements of the case. VW's supervisory board is meeting Wednesday to approve a draft of the agreement, which also would have to be approved by U.S. courts. VW shares rose by 2 percent early Wednesday. [The Associated Press]


World Bank says Trump tax cuts could help economy, but trade barriers could hurt it

The World Bank said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump's plans on tax cuts and stimulus spending could boost the U.S. economy and increase global growth, although his threats of trade barriers could trigger retaliation that could cancel out the gains. Overall, the World Bank said in its latest update to its global economic outlook, it is too early to assess the impact of Trump's policies. Markets have struggled for footing over the last two days as investors await Trump's Wednesday news conference, when he is expected to face a broad range of questions about his economic plans, as well as his plans for his own businesses during his presidency, and developing reports on Russian attempts to influence the U.S. election. [Bloomberg, MarketWatch]


Samsung leader to be questioned in broadening influence-peddling inquiry

A South Korean special prosecutor's office has summoned Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee for questioning on Thursday in connection with the influence-peddling scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Investigators are looking into whether Samsung's $25 million in payments for a business and foundations backed by Park's friend, Choi Soon-sil, were linked to the national pension fund's decision to back a controversial merger of two group affiliates. [Reuters]


Fox News paid to prevent sexual harassment suit against Bill O'Reilly

21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, paid long-time on-air personality Juliet Huddy a sum in the high six figures in exchange for her agreement not to sue over her allegation that the network's top host, Bill O'Reilly, made unwanted sexual advances and derailed her career when she rebuffed them, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The company and O'Reilly's lawyer said Huddy's claims were false. Huddy's lawyers said in a draft of a letter to Fox News that was obtained by The New York Time that longtime Fox executive Jack Abernethy also had retaliated against Huddy after she indicated she did not want a personal relationship. The letter was sent weeks after former Fox News chief Roger Ailes was ousted over another sexual harassment scandal. [The New York Times]


HarperCollins stops sales of book by Trump communications pick over plagiarism

HarperCollins is pulling the digital edition of conservative columnist Monica Crowley's 2012 book What the (Bleep) Just Happened? after a report that it included passages plagiarized from Wikipedia and newspapers. Crowley recently was named by President-elect Donald Trump to a high-ranking communications job at the National Security Council. "The book, which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material," HarperCollins said Tuesday. [CNN, The New York Times]