Jul 5, 2017

Hobby Lobby settles Mesopotamian smuggling case

Hadi Mizban / AP

The Department of Justice announced this afternoon that it had settled a civil action with Hobby Lobby, in which the craft store admitted to smuggling thousands of ancient cuneiform tablets and other Mesopotamian artifacts into the United States via the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

The backstory: Hobby Lobby began assembling "a collection of historically significant items" in 2009, but against the advice of a cultural property lawyer, still chose to import thousands of valuable clay artifacts in 2010 and 2011 in shipments labeled as tile samples.

The punishment: Under its settlement with the government, Hobby Lobby has to forfeit all of the smuggled artifacts, pay a $3 million fine, and institute internal policies and training surrounding the purchase of cultural property.

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SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.

Trump indulges Wall Street with Milken pardon

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Donald Trump loves Wall Street shenanigans. Companies owned by him have declared bankruptcy six different times, and he was once sued alongside Mike Milken for participating in a scheme to artificially inflate junk-bond prices.

Driving the news: Trump pardoned Milken this week, with an official statement positively gushing over Milken's role in developing the wilder side of fixed-income capital markets.