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SEC chases former Veritas execs over cursed AOL contract

Watchdog still bugged by year 2000 deal

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The SEC is suing five former execs at Veritas over alleged securities fraud back in 2000.

The agency alleges that the five “inflated and/or intentionally manipulated and distorted Veritas' reported financial results and misled Veritas' independent auditors” leading the firm to file false and misleading financial statements from 2000 through 2002.

The case centres on an allegedly improper “round trip” transaction with America Online Inc in those glory glory days of 2000. The actual suit is right here.

Two of the five have already settled, and are coughing up $287,000 to the stock market regulator.

The remaining three, former chairman and CEO Mark Leslie, former CFO Kenneth Lonchar and former head of sales, Paul Sallaberry are toughing it out.

If the Leslie camp’s reaction is anything to go by, the holdouts are coming out all guns blazing.

Leslie’s lawyers accuse the SEC’s enforcement division of being “over zealous” and of casting “an overly broad net only to ensnare an entirely innocent individual.”

More concretely, they say the transaction in question had been fully disclosed by Leslie, and “reviewed and approved numerous times by internal and external accounting professionals.”

If the case goes the distance, the lawyers say, “We are confident a trial will vindicate Mr Leslie’s conduct and reflect his 40 years of constructive devotion to the technology industry and the Silicon Valley community.”

That’d be a trial indeed. We assumed the government just wanted to ascertain who knew what and when.

The saga has dogged Veritas for years. Back in February, the firm, part of Symantec since 2005, coughed up $30m to settle its outstanding issues with the SEC.®

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