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Amazon stockholders nix warehouse audit

Amazon shareholders have voted against a proposal calling for an independent audit of working conditions at the company's warehouses.

The e-commerce company opposed the proposal and the 14 others presented Wednesday at its annual shareholders meeting. Citing preliminary voting results, the Seattle-based company said all the resolutions were voted down by a majority of shareholders.

Many of them focused on worker's rights, and issues such as further disclosure of the company's lobbying and taxes. The resolutions are non binding, but they usually pressure corporate boards to take action.

Shareholders also voted to approve compensation packages for Amazon's top executives.

 

VW faces huge order backlog

Executives with German automaker Volkswagen say at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos that supply chain problems exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war are easing but they're dealing with a huge backlog of orders.

Audi board member Hildegard Wortmann says the VW-owned brand has its "highest level of orders at the moment," but customers are facing wait times of about year or more.

Chairman Herbert Diess says Volkswagen is seeing a "clear improvement through summer" on the supply of microchips it needs for its vehicles.

Diess says the automaker has no plans to pull out of China's Xinjiang region, where it has for years operated a factory and showrooms, despite repeated reports of abuses against ethnic Muslim groups there.

He says that while the company's Xinjiang operations are a negligible part of its overall China business, "we think that we would worsen the situation for the people working in this plant and most importantly for the entire region if we would pull out."

Diess says being present in Xinjiang means VW's standards are respected and it can control the situation.

 

Russia to pay its debt in rubles after US ban

Russia says it will pay dollar-denominated foreign debt in rubles, a move that is likely to be seen by foreign investors as a default.

The U.S. Treasury Department allowed a license to expire Wednesday that permitted Russia to keep paying its debtholders through American banks. The Russian Finance Ministry said it will pay in rubles and offer "the opportunity for subsequent conversion into the original currency."

The ministry didn't give a timeframe for that to happen. Russia has not defaulted on its international debts since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, when the Russian Empire collapsed and the Soviet Union was created.

 

Glencore pays $1.5 billion to end corruption claims

BERLIN — Commodities firm Glencore says it has reached deals with authorities in the United States, Britain and Brazil to resolve corruption allegations in return for penalties totaling up to $1.5 billion.

The Anglo-Swiss company said late Tuesday that it will pay $700 million to resolve a U.S. bribery probe and a further $486 million in connection with allegations of market manipulation. Glencore said that about $166 million in fines agreed with the U.S. authorities will be credited to a parallel investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office, where it has indicated that it will plead guilty to bribery at a hearing next month.

Separately, the company is paying $40 million to resolve a bribery probe in Brazil. U.S. officials called the scale of the bribery "staggering."

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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