United States

The United States on Wednesday announced that it would transfer $3.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets into a new Swiss-based trust fund that will be shielded from the Taliban and used to help stabilize Afghanistan's collapsed economy, Reuters reported. The Afghan Fund, managed by a board of trustees, could pay for critical imports like electricity, cover debt payments to international financial institutions, protecting Afghanistan's eligibility for development aid, and fund the printing of new currency.
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Bankruptcy Judge Michael Wiles on Friday approved a $700 million financing package for SAS AB from Apollo Global Management, though he said features of the deal concern him, Bloomberg News reported. The financing, divided into two $350 million draws, will allow Apollo to convert the debt into stock in the bankrupt airline or participate in an equity raise tied to SAS’s eventual exit from chapter 11 protection under certain circumstances. Judge Wiles called the financing “unusual” and questioned whether it was legally viable.
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Cineworld Group Plc filed for bankruptcy in Texas in an effort to tame its $5 billion debt pile, Bloomberg News reported. The UK-based movie theater chain, which draws most of its revenues from the U.S. after the acquisition of Regal Cinemas in 2018, yesterday filed for chapter 11 protection. Cineworld has commitments for $1.94 billion of bankruptcy financing lined up from existing secured lenders, the company said in a statement. The company’s management and board of directors will remain in control of the business.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission is telling American audit firms to be cautious about taking on as new clients Chinese firms that trade in New York, Bloomberg News reported. The warning on Tuesday follows several businesses switching to U.S. auditors amid an ongoing dispute between regulators in Washington and Beijing over access to audit work papers that could lead to about 200 companies being kicked off American stock exchanges.
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A unit of Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund 1MDB -- which has spurred investigations around the world into deal-making and political patronage under former Prime Minister Najib Razak -- is seeking bankruptcy protection in the U.S., Bloomberg News reported. Brazen Sky Ltd., which is fully owned by 1Malaysia Development Bhd., filed for chapter 15 in Southern District of Florida court, according to a filing. The document listed voluntary liquidation pending in the British Virgin Islands, where Brazen Sky is incorporated.
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LATAM Airlines yesterday turned back two challenges to its bankruptcy reorganization plan, putting the carrier a step closer to emerging from chapter 11 after seeking protection from creditors in the early months of the pandemic, Reuters reported. LATAM said in a statement it was pleased by a U.S. bankruptcy court's decision confirming its reorganization plan in which two groups of creditors lost their appeals. LATAM, which filed for bankruptcy in 2020, won court approval to exit chapter 11 in June.
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There was much relief for investors in U.S.-listed Chinese firms after Beijing and Washington struck a long-pending audit deal, but legal experts and China watchers warn the two sides could still clash over how the accord is interpreted and implemented, Reuters reported. U.S. regulators have for more than a decade demanded access to audit papers of U.S.-listed Chinese companies, but Beijing has been reluctant to let U.S. regulators inspect its accounting firms, citing national security concerns.
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A U.S. judge on Friday recommended that victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks not be allowed to seize billions of dollars of assets belonging to Afghanistan's central bank to satisfy court judgments they obtained against the Taliban, Reuters reported. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan said Da Afghanistan Bank was immune from jurisdiction, and that allowing the seizures would effectively acknowledge the Islamist militant group as the Afghan government, something only the U.S. president can do.
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Cineworld Group Plc, the owner of Regal Cinemas, is preparing to file for bankruptcy within weeks after struggling to rebuild attendance from pandemic lows, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. The British cinema company has engaged lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and consultants from AlixPartners to advise on the bankruptcy process, these people said. Cineworld is expected to file a chapter 11 petition in the U.S. and is considering filing an insolvency proceeding in the U.K., they said.
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