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ATHENS Greece said on Wednesday it was seeking an additional 1.29 billion euros in funding from foreign lenders so it could accept all of the 31.9 billion euros of debt offered in a bond buyback scheme. The scheme, intended to put Greece’s mountainous debt on sustainable footing and unlock cash to avoid bankruptcy, had a maximum budget of 10 billion euros to buy back the bonds, which trade at a huge discount to face value. But Athens said it would need 11.29 billion euros in funding to be able to buy back all the bonds investors offered. It plans to [...]

Berlusconi’s scandal-filled career When he resigned in November 2011, Berlusconi said he did not intend to run for office when elections were held again. But the 76-year-old’s intention to return to frontline politics has been rumored in the months since. In October, a Milan court sentenced Berlusconi to four years in prison for tax evasion. However, under the Italian legal system, he and his fellow defendants have the right to  [ Read More ]

Dear Driving for Dollars, My car was repossessed, and now the lender is coming after me for the balance of my contract. The lender is threatening to sue me. I don’t understand why. It has my car.  — Javalus Dear Javalus, You probably owe money to your lender for several reasons. First, if your repossessed car was sold at auction for less than you owed (which is usually the case), then your lender is entitled to the difference. There are also numerous fees associated with the repossession process, such as attorney’s fees, towing fees and storage fees, which you are [...]

NEW YORK American Airlines’ bankrupt parent has asked a judge to extend by six weeks, through March 11, the period in which it has the exclusive right to propose a plan to exit bankruptcy. The request, made jointly with its creditors’ committee, was filed on Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The current exclusive window is set to end on January 28. AMR Corp filed for bankruptcy a year ago in hopes of reducing labor costs and returning to profitability. Its smaller competitor, US Airways Group Inc , is making a push to acquire it out of bankruptcy. AMR [...]

LONDON Britain will demand changes to the European Union’s regional development funds in budget talks this month, including stripping wealthier nations of access to money intended to help poorer areas, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government suffered an embarrassing defeat in parliament this week when anti-EU members of his Conservative party teamed up with the opposition to demand a cut in the EU budget. But Cameron, aware that a real-terms cut could be hard to win in Brussels, is instead pushing for a real-terms freeze in the budget, which would allow it to rise in line with [...]

DETROIT Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC, said he wants to achieve “unification” of the two automakers by 2015. “The objective has always been to try and bring unification by 2014 or 2015,” Marchionne said on a conference call on Tuesday. “I’d still like to see that done.” How that comes about “has yet to be determined given the fact that our primary objective right now is that of fixing the European environment.” Marchionne made his comments as he addressed Fiat’s plan to purchase the remaining 41.5 percent of Chrysler that it does not [...]

The U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve need to stop using the benchmark interest rate known as Libor in financial rescue programs, as it might not be reliable and could put taxpayer dollars at risk, a federal watchdog said on Thursday. The special inspector-general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bailout vehicle launched during the financial crisis, recommended that the Treasury and the Fed change some initiatives to ensure participating U.S. firms use alternatives to the London inter-bank offered rate in pricing billions of dollars in loans. Libor is intended to measure the rate at which banks lend to [...]

American Airlines is blaming its recent spate of flight cancellations and delays on a labor dispute with its pilots. Broken coffee pots and reading lights, torn seat pockets could be delaying flightsMore than 1,000 American flights have been canceled and 12,000 delayed in the past monthSome travel agents have started directing their customers away from American Airlines American Airlines is making Karen O’Laughlin a little nervous.O’Laughlin, a longtime fan of the airline, already bought her American plane ticket to fly from St. Louis to New York to visit her grandsons next month.”I choose American because it’s a straight flight, no [...]

Best Buy’s (BBY) new chief executive, Hubert Joly, will spend much of his first week on the job wearing a blue shirt and working the floor as a salesman at the chain’s stores in Minnesota as the restructuring expert tackles criticism that he lacks retail experience. Just like any other new employee, Joly will be trained to serve customers, stock items, accept returns and go on calls with Geek Squad agents. “The last time I worked in a store was in 1975,” Joly, 53, said in an interview with Reuters on Monday, one day before officially taking charge as CEO [...]

FRANKFURT German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday said she wants Greece to remain in the euro zone, but repeated that she wants to see a report from the country’s troika of international lenders next month before European leaders decide whether to give Greece more time to implement austerity measures and reforms in return for its bailout. Merkel, in a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras after a meeting in Berlin, said she was convinced Samaras’s new government is committed to solving Greece’s woes. Samaras repeated that Greece isn’t seeking more money but needs “breathing space” to implement measures while aiming to restore growth to the recession-wracked country.

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