CBS and its former president Leslie Moonves will pay $30.5 million (£26.8 million) to compensate the network’s shareholders as part of an insider trading investigation and for covering up allegations of sexual assault, as part of a deal with New York Attorneys against Mr Moonves.
The broadcasting giant has to pay $22m (£19.3m) to shareholders and another $6m (£5.2m) for sexual harassment and assault programmes.
Mr Moonves will have to pay $2.5million (£2.2million), all to benefit shareholders who, according to the New York Attorney General, have been kept in the dark about the allegations because network executives withheld the information.
As a public company, CBS has failed in its most fundamental duty to be honest and transparent with the public and investorsAttorney General Letitia James
At least one of those executives — one of the few privy to an internal investigation — sold millions of dollars worth of stock before the allegations against Mr. Moonves became public.
“As a public company, CBS has failed in its most fundamental duty to be honest and transparent with the public and investors. Today, after trying to bury the truth to protect their fortunes, CBS and Leslie Moonves are paying millions of dollars for their wrongdoing,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement, calling attempts to mislead investors ” reprehensible”.
A spokesman for Paramount Global, which owns CBS, said it was “pleased to resolve this matter regarding the events of 2018 with the New York Attorney General’s Office without admission of liability or wrongdoing,” adding that the “matter alleged wrongdoing by CBS”. Former CEO who left for good cause in 2018 and is in no way associated with the current company.”
Mr. Moonves resigned from CBS on September 9, 2018.
In a document outlining the findings of its investigation, the attorney general’s office also outlined an alleged plan by a Los Angeles police captain to try to cover up the allegations against Mr Moonves.
The police captain, who was not named in the report, told CBS that a woman in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood branch had filed a complaint against Mr. Moonves.
The captain then met in person with Mr. Moonves and another CBS executive and gave them confidential information about the investigation. The captain also instructed the police officers investigating the complaint to “admonish” the woman not to go public with her allegations, according to the attorney general’s office.
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When the allegations eventually became public anyway and Mr. Moonves resigned, the captain sent a note to a CBS contact saying, “We worked so hard to try to avoid that day.”
He also wrote a note to Mr Moonves, saying: “I am deeply sorry that this has happened. I will always be with you and pledge my allegiance to you.”
The attorney general’s office said it uncovered text messages between the police captain, CBS executives and Mr. Moonves that showed efforts to prevent the complaint from becoming public.
Withholding that information from shareholders, officials said, constitutes insider trading and violates state laws protecting investors.
CBS is also required under the deal with the attorney general’s office to reform its staffing practices regarding sexual harassment.
Mr Moonves has denied assaulting anyone, saying in a statement at the time that “untrue allegations from decades ago are now being leveled at me”.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/cbs-and-its-former-president-must-pay-305-million-dollars-for-insider-trading-42114687.html CBS and its former president have to pay $30.5 million for insider trading