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Citi takes profit hit, cites fraud

Citigroup said a fraud at its Mexican banking unit will slice $235 million from last year’s net income.

The bank said on Friday that Mexican oil services company Oceanografia SA de CV apparently submitted falsified invoices to get loans it wasn’t entitled to. The invoices were supposed to back $585 million in loans, but Citi could only verify the backing for $185 million.

Citi’s large Mexican bank, Banco Nacional de Mexico, had been lending money to OSA to cover work that OSA was doing for Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.

Citi said it learned of the problem on Feb. 11 after OSA was suspended from getting more Mexican government contracts.

Housing contracts stay flat in January

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes was essentially flat in January, a possible sign of a softening real estate market.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index inched up 0.1 last month to 95. The index has fallen 9 percent over the past 12 months as sales momentum has faded.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases: A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Apple CEO vows edge, reassures shareholders

Apple CEO Tim Cook is still trying to convince shareholders that the iPhone-maker remains a step ahead in the race to innovate, even though recent performance of the company’s stock lags behind those of other technology trendsetters.

In making his case Friday, Cook struck a familiar refrain during Apple’s annual shareholder meeting.

Cook promised that Apple Inc. is working on new gadgets that will expand the company’s product lineup beyond smartphones, tablets, music players and personal computers without divulging any details.

He cited the company’s nearly $4.5 billion investment in research and development during the last fiscal year and the completion of 23 acquisitions in the past 16 months as a precursor of the big things to come.

Casino customers hit by data breach

Computer hackers stole some Las Vegas Sands customers’ Social Security and driver’s license numbers during a data breach last month, the casino company said Friday.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. said in a statement that the information about some patrons at its Bethlehem, Pa., hotel-casino was compromised during the Feb. 10 attack. It was unclear whether credit card information was also taken.

Sands said it was still working to determine whether customer information from other properties was breached.

Woods tourney in line for new event sponsor

The PGA Tour is closing on a deal for Detroit-based Quicken Loans to become title sponsor of Tiger Woods’ tournament at Congressional, The Associated Press has learned.

Two people who have been told about the deal said Quicken Loans could begin its sponsorship before the next tournament, to be played June 26 to 29.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not completed and has not been announced.