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CBS and former Les Moonves CEO to pay $30.5 million for hiding sexual assault allegations

CBS and former CEO Les Moonves are set to pay $30.5 million to resolve allegations that they hid sexual assault allegations against the executive and for alleged insider trading.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said an investigation by her office found the media company and its top executives were aware of multiple allegations against Mr Moonves.

And Ms James said in a statement on Wednesday that they had “intentionally withheld these allegations from regulators, shareholders and the public for months”.

Investigators also discovered that a senior CBS executive, former communications director Gil Schwartz, had sold millions of dollars worth of CBS stock just weeks before the claims went public.

Ms. James’s office said they discovered that a Los Angeles Police Department captain had tipped off CBS executives about a confidential sexual assault complaint against Mr. Moonves and secretly provided them with information while throughout their attempt at management.

Mr Moonves, a top CBS executive since 2006, resigned in September 2018 when the allegations became public.

Six women told the New Yorker magazine of incidents of assault and harassment by Mr Moonves which allegedly took place between the 1980s and the early 2000s.

In his resignation statement, Mr Moonves called them “false allegations from decades ago now being made against me that do not fit who I am”.

“CBS and Leslie Moonves’ attempts to silence victims, lie to the public and mislead investors can only be described as reprehensible,” Ms James said.

Mr. Moonves must pay back $2.5 million to CBS shareholders, while CBS must pay $28 million. Of the CBS money, $22 million will go to shareholders and $6 million will be used to improve the company’s mechanisms for reporting sexual harassment and assault.

And he cannot be an officer or director of a public company doing business in New York for the next five years without written approval from the attorney general’s office.

“As a publicly traded company, CBS failed in its most basic duty to be honest and transparent with the public and investors,” Ms. James said.

“After attempting to bury the truth to protect their fortunes, CBS and Leslie Moonves are today paying millions of dollars for their misdeeds. Today’s action should send a strong message to New York businesses: pull Profiting from injustice will not be tolerated and those who break the law will be held accountable.


The Independent Gt

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