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GE settles bond probe for $70 million; Company blames 3 former traders

Part of the finance arm of General Electric Co. will pay $70 million to resolve complaints about the company's role in anti-competitive activity in the municipal bond investments market.

The Justice Department on Friday announced that GE Funding Capital Market Services Inc. also acknowledged illegal, anti-competitive conduct by its former traders.

The company acknowledged that from 1999 through 2004, certain former GE Funding traders manipulated the bidding process on municipal investment and related contracts. Those contracts were used to invest the proceeds of, or manage the risks associated with, bond issuances by municipalities and other public entities.

GE Funding will pay restitution and promised to cooperate fully with the Justice Department's Antitrust Division in its ongoing investigation into anti-competitive conduct in the municipal bond derivatives industry.

GE said the investigation dealt with three traders who are no longer employed by the company. "The settlement reflects GE's commitment to act in the best interests of our shareholders by bringing this matter to a close on a mutually acceptable basis with the regulators," the GE statement said.

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