SEC fines Lucent, charging non-cooperation with probe

Lucent Technologies will pay a US$25 million fine as part of a proposed settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), the company said Wednesday.

Lucent in February last year came to an agreement with the SEC to end an investigation into its accounting practices. At the time, Lucent did not have to pay any fines, but the SEC has changed its mind and now intends to impose a $25 million penalty, the Murray Hill, New Jersey-based telecommunications equipment maker said in a statement.

The SEC is not penalizing Lucent because of any additional violations of law, but because of what it considered Lucent's lack of cooperation during the investigation and certain actions by the company subsequent to the settlement agreement, Lucent said.

Though it is disappointed by the SEC's position, Lucent said it would pay the penalty to put the issue behind it. The company is not admitting or denying any liability, according to the statement.

Other terms of the earlier agreement will remain in place. As part of the proposed settlement, Lucent would not be required to make any financial restatements, the company said. Any settlement remains subject to final approval by the SEC, Lucent said.

In November and December 2000, Lucent announced it had found accounting problems and adjusted downward its revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2000, ended Sept. 30. The SEC subsequently began an investigation of the company.

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