Penthouse International Inc. has settled charges of accounting fraud and financial reporting violations, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced last week.Former Penthouse executive Charles Samel and former shareholder Jason Galanis will both pay $60,000 to settle accounting fraud charges and be barred for five years from serving as officers or directors of any public company, although neither man admitted or denied wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The charges revolved around SEC accusations that the company used an unauthorized electronic signature of Bob Guccione, the magazine's former chief executive, to meet Sarbanes-Oxley certification requirements in its 2003 first-quarter report. Samel and Galanis prepared and filed the misleading report, knowing Guccione had not seen or approved it and Penthouse's auditor had not done a proper review, the SEC said.

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