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

CBS and Leslie Moonves, the company’s former CEO and president, reached a $30.5 million settlement Wednesday with the New York State attorney general, ending an investigation into allegations the company hid sexual misconduct allegations towards Moonves, misled investors and engaged in insider trading.

The office of Attorney General Letitia James concluded that CBS and some senior executives had been conscious of a number of sexual assault allegations towards Moonves and “intentionally concealed those allegations from regulators, shareholders, and the public for months,” in line with a press launch from James’ office.

Investigators obtained textual content messages between an unnamed Los Angeles Police Department captain, Moonves and one other CBS government allegedly exhibiting the police captain shared confidential info associated to a sexual assault criticism and “status updates on the LAPD’s investigation,” in line with James’ office.

“He assured CBS executives that he had spoken to his contacts within the LAPD and implemented controls to prevent news of the police report from leaking to the press from the LAPD,” the office wrote in its press launch.

Investigators additionally concluded that an government, Gil Schwartz, bought greater than $8 million in CBS stock “weeks before the allegations became public.” The office stated the sale constituted proof of insider trading.

“As a result, CBS and Mr. Moonves are required to pay $30.5 million, the majority of which will be returned to CBS shareholders,” the office stated in its press launch, including that the company “is also required to reform its HR practices around sexual harassment, including reporting and training, and provide biannual reports to OAG.”

The company didn’t admit wrongdoing as half of the settlement.

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

Andrew Toth/FilmMagic by way of Getty Images


In a press release, Paramount Global, now the father or mother company of CBS, stated: “We are pleased to resolve this matter concerning events from 2018 with the New York Attorney General’s office, without any admission of liability or wrongdoing. The matter involved alleged misconduct by CBS’s former CEO, who was terminated for cause in 2018, and does not relate in any way to the current company.” 

According to the press launch, Moonves is required to pay $2.5 million which is able to go to CBS shareholders.  An attorney for Moonves didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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

Moonves left the company in September 2018 amid allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. The company subsequently employed two exterior legislation corporations to research the allegations towards Moonves, in addition to different studies of sexual harassment and an inappropriate tradition all through CBS and the CBS News division. The findings weren’t launched to the general public.

In 2021, ViacomCBS settled an arbitration declare filed by Moonves, with the company protecting the $120 million in severance that it withheld from Moonves after the company introduced in December 2018 that he was fired for trigger.

In addition, Moonves should get hold of written approval from the New York Attorney General’s Office earlier than accepting an government or officer position at any public company doing business in New York for the subsequent 5 years.

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