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Time Warner settles AOL SEC fraud investigation

Coughs up $300m

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Time Warner has finally settled a long running investigation by the US' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) amid claims that AOL inflated its ad earning revenue in the early part of the decade.

Details of the settlement for Time Warner's AOL internet division had already been trailed in December. Yesterday's announcement by the SEC draws a line under the affair and should enable media giant Time Warner to leave this part of its recent history behind.

In a statement the SEC said: "The Commission today charged Time Warner Inc. with securities fraud for materially overstating online advertising revenue and the number of its Internet subscribers and aiding and abetting three other securities frauds.

"Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Time Warner consented to the entry of a judgement that, among other things, orders it to pay $300m in civil penalties," it said.

Some industry watchers reckon the settlement could pave the way for Time Warner to flog AOL. ®

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