The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened a formal investigation into OfficeMax Inc.'s accounting for vendor income, the company disclosed.

OfficeMax said Tuesday that the formal SEC probe arose from the office supply company's own internal investigation into its accounting for vendor income, which began in December 2004, when OfficeMax said that it received warnings from a vendor to its retail business that some employees acted inappropriately in requesting promotional payments and in falsifying supporting documentation.

The internal investigation, conducted by the company's audit committee, was completed in March. In connection with the probe, the company fired six employees and said that it overstated its cumulative net operating income in the first three fiscal quarters of 2004 by $4.3 million.

OfficeMax said that it intends to cooperate fully with the SEC.

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