A federal judge dismissed a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint accusing the former chief financial officer at Halliburton Co.
The SEC had said Gary Morris aided a company effort to suppress news of a 1998 accounting change involving cost overruns on construction projects, which raised Halliburton's earnings. According to the charges, the oil services and logistics company failed to disclose a material change in its accounting policies to investors for more than a year.
A U.S. District Court judge ruled that the SEC complaint didn't show that Morris knew of any wrongdoing at the company. Halliburton settled similar charges in August 2004 without admitting guilt, although the SEC later said the company failed to fully cooperate in the investigation and fined Halliburton $7.5 million.
Morris still faces a negligence charge for allowing financial statements to be released without the full accounting disclosure.
Former company treasurer Robert Muchmore was also charged by the SEC, but paid a $50,000 fine without admitting guilt as part of a settlement. Morris chose to fight the charges and his case is scheduled to go to trial in May.
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