CBS and Les Moonves settle $30.5 million with New York attorney general over allegations of sexual misconduct, defrauding investors and insider trading

CBS and the company’s former CEO and president Leslie Moonves on Wednesday reached a $30.5 million settlement with the New York State Attorney General to investigate allegations the company has filed against Moonves for concealing sexual misconduct, misleading investors and engaging in insider trading. terminated.

Attorney General Letitia James’ office concluded that CBS and some senior executives were aware of multiple sexual assault allegations against Moonves and “deliberately concealed those allegations from regulators, shareholders and the public for months,” from James’ office. According to a press release.

According to James’ office, investigators obtained text messages between an unnamed Los Angeles Police Department captain, Moonves, and another CBS executive, which allegedly contained confidential information related to a sexual assault complaint by the police captain and “the LAPD investigation.” Status update”.

“He assured CBS officials that he had spoken to his contacts within the LAPD and implemented controls to prevent reports of police reports from leaking out of the LAPD,” ​​the office wrote in its press release.

Investigators also concluded that one executive, Gil Schwartz, sold more than $8 million in CBS stock “weeks before the allegations were made public.” The office said the sale is evidence of insider trading.

“As a result, CBS and Mr. Moonves will have to pay $30.5 million, most of which will be returned to CBS shareholders,” the office said in its press release. including reporting and training around sexual harassment, and providing biennial reports to the OAG.”

The company did not accept wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

les moonves
Les Moonves attends an event at Lincoln Center on February 1, 2017 in New York City.

Andrew Toth/FilmMagic via Getty Images

In a statement, Paramount Global, now a parent company of CBS, said: “We are pleased to resolve this matter relating to the events of 2018 with the New York Attorney General’s office without accepting any liability or wrongdoing.” The case involved alleged misconduct. The former CEO of CBS, who was terminated for cause in 2018, and is not related in any way to the current company.”

According to the press release, Moonves will have to pay $2.5 million that will go to CBS shareholders. A lawyer for Moonves did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“CBS and Leslie Moonves’s efforts to silence the victims, lie to the public, and mislead investors can only be described as reprehensible,” James said. “As a publicly traded company, CBS failed in its most basic duty of being honest and transparent with the public and investors.”

Moonves left the company In September 2018 amid allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. The company later hired two outside law firms to investigate allegations against Moonves, as well as other reports of sexual harassment and an unfair culture at CBS and the CBS News division. The findings were not released to the public.

In 2021, ViacomCBS settled an arbitration claim filed by Moonves, with company is keeping $120 million In December 2018, it withdrew from Moonves in severance after the company announced that it had been fired for the cause.

In addition, Moonves must obtain written approval from the New York Attorney General’s office before accepting an executive or officer position in any public company doing business in New York for the next five years.

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