Washington (April 15, 2004) -- CPA John Luczycki, the former chief accounting officer and controller of French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal, has settled charges brought against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Without admitting or denying the SEC's claims, Luczycki, 42, who served as Vivendi's CAO and controller from December 2000 to July 2002, agreed to cease and desist from future violations of securities laws and to be barred from appearing or practicing before the commission as an accountant for three years. The SEC noted that Luczycki recently placed his CPA license on inactive status.
According to the commission, Luczycki and other senior executives made improper adjustments to boost Vivendi's reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization during two quarters in 2001 to meet targets. The SEC also said Luczycki "knew or was reckless in not knowing" that Vivendi failed to disclose a side agreement it entered into to purchase an additional stake in Maroc Telecom, a telecommunications company based in Morocco, and participated in Vivendi's failure to disclose facts concerning an additional investment in Telco, a Polish telecom holding company in which it already owned a 49 percent stake.
In December, the commission settled its civil fraud action against Vivendi, its former chief executive, Jean-Marie Messier, and its former chief financial officer, Guillaume Hannezo. The company agreed to pay $50 million in civil penalties. Messier agreed give up a severance package worth nearly $25 million that he negotiated just before he resigned. Messier and Hannezo also agreed to pay disgorgement and civil penalties totaling more than $1 million and were barred from serving as officers or directors of public companies for 10 years and five years, respectively. The funds were put into to escrow to be paid to defrauded investors.
-- WebCPA staff
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