Dell settles SEC investigation for $100 million
A federal judge has approved Dell’s proposed $100 million settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Dell executives, including Michael Dell, promised US District Judge Richard Leon that the company would change its accounting and disclosure practices, and that Michael Dell would pay a $4 million fine out of his own pocket.
Investors had originally accused Dell of failing to disclose its relationship with Intel—they said the company was accepting up to $1 billion per year in payments from Intel in exchange for exclusive placement in Dell’s laptops, desktops, and servers. Not only was the company allegedly reporting inflated financial results due to the undisclosed kickback scheme, investors also accused Michael Dell and other officers of insider trading and illegally back-dating stock options.
The SEC eventually opened an investigation into the matter, alleging that Dell had violated both SEC rules and federal securities laws between 2001 and 2006. Dell and the SEC made an agreement to settle the case in July of this year, however—Dell admitted no fault, but still agreed to a permanent injunction against future violations of securities laws. The company also said that it would hire an independent consultant to ensure its disclosure practices were up to par.
Dell told Judge Leon during a hearing on Wednesday that he was “fully committed” to making sure the company follows through with the reforms outlined in July’s settlement agreement. “We’ve continued to make a wide variety of improvements,” he said, according to the AP. “We will certainly live up to all the commitments in the settlement.”
Under the agreement, Michael Dell gets to remain CEO of the company, and the company still admits no fault. Still, SEC attorney John Worland told Bloomberg that the settlement was appropriate, and that it “represents a strong example of regulatory enforcement.”