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MGM MIRAGE FINED $5 MILLION LAS VEGAS (AP) -- MGM MIRAGE HAS AGREED TO PAY $5 MILLION IN
FINES AFTER ONE OF ITS CASINOS FAILED TO FILE THOUSANDS OF FEDERALLY REQUIRED REPORTS DESIGNED TO PREVENT MONEY LAUNDERING.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- MGM Mirage has agreed to pay $5 million in fines after one of its casinos failed to file thousands of federally required reports designed to prevent money laundering.

The fine, which state and casino officials said was the largest ever against a Nevada casino, would settle a 92-count complaint filed against MGM by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

An employee at The Mirage casino in Las Vegas failed to send nearly 15,000 required reports from 2001-2002, state regulators said.

The reports on large cash transactions, which are submitted to the Treasury Department, are designed to prevent money laundering.

Bobby Siller, a member of the gaming board, said the fine could have totaled $23 million if the company was found guilty on all counts.

State officials charged Christopher Morishita, a former employee at The Mirage, with four felony counts of failing to maintain money laundering records.

MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said that besides Morishita, eight other people resigned or were fired as a result of the investigation.

Levi's countersues ex-tax executives

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Levi Strauss & Co. has countersued two former tax executives who claimed in a lawsuit they were fired for refusing to conceal accounting irregularities and unlawful tax practices by the company.

The San Francisco-based jeans maker accused the fired employees of a "conspiracy" to make "false, misleading and defamatory statements" about the company.

In a lawsuit filed April 14, former employees Robert Schmidt and Thomas Walsh claimed the company booked hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable deductions and income, and mischaracterized offshore profits.

They also claimed they were fired the same day they refused to conceal financial information from the Internal Revenue Service and outside auditors Levi Strauss hired.

In the Levi suit, filed Friday in Superior Court, the company also accused them of breaking confidentiality agreements which prevented them from disclosing internal financial information.

In documents filed with its suit, Levi's said Schmidt and Walsh were fired in December for "good cause," which the company described as including a history of incompetence and repeated failures in carrying out their job responsibilities.

Cooper Tire to halt output for week

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) -- Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will shut down production at its U.S. tire plants for a week to reduce its inventory.

Plants in Findlay; Albany, Ga.; Tupelo, Miss.; and Texarkana, Ark., will be idled this week.

Spokesman Roger Hendriksen blamed weak demand for tires. Cooper reported that first-quarter sales for its tire operations fell to $396 million from $433 million in 2002.

Production is scheduled to resume June 2.

Chrysler Group delays merit raises

DETROIT (AP) -- DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group will postpone merit raises for its salaried employees as the automaker continues its efforts to cut costs, a spokesman said.

Although the raises typically are awarded July 1, the company will not consider them until October, Chrysler spokesman David Barnas said.

The automaker also is increasing some white-collar workers' out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs, Barnas said.

This week in business

Here are the major business and economic events scheduled for this week:

Today -- Memorial Day, federal holiday. U.S. financial markets closed.

Tuesday -- The National Association of Realtors will release its report on existing home sales for April; the Commerce Department will issue data on new home sales for April, and the Conference Board's report on consumer confidence in May will be released.

Wednesday -- The Commerce Department will report on durable goods orders for April.

Thursday -- Freddie Mac will announce changes in mortgage rates; the Commerce Department will release its report on gross domestic product for the first quarter, and the Labor Department will issue its report on weekly jobless claims.

Friday -- The Commerce Department will release its reports on personal income and spending for April.

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