Lucent Settles SEC Complaint

Lucent Technologies has settled long-standing charges of improperly booking revenue and income during the telecom boom, as it looks to eliminate distractions in an improving climate for network equipment sales.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had alleged that the Murray Hill, N.J., company violated securities laws. Nine current and former Lucent executives and employees, and one former Winstar Communications officer, were also hit with charges.

Lucent agreed to pay a $25 million penalty for its “lack of cooperation” during the investigation, the SEC said. Under the agreement, Lucent is not required to admit or deny the allegations.

“Companies whose actions delay, hinder or undermine SEC investigations will not succeed,” Paul Berger, the SEC’s associate director of enforcement, said in a statement. “Stiff sanctions and exposure of their conduct will serve as a reminder to companies that only genuine cooperation serves the best interests of investors.”

Three of the nine individuals cited by the SEC also settled, paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines and agreeing not to violate anti-fraud regulations in the future. The SEC will would continue to press cases against the others.

“We are closing this chapter in our history, putting it behind us and focusing on moving our business forward,” Patricia Russo, Lucent’s chairman and CEO said in a statement.

The Lucent settlement comes just weeks after rival Nortel Networks fired its CEO over accounting questions. Nortel’s announcements followed an independent review begun by its audit committee on the circumstances that forced the company to restate financial statements for 2000, 2001, 2002 and the first and second quarters of 2003.

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