Insiders say that Bear Stearns Cos.
has struck a settlement deal with regulators.
A report published by Bloomberg
on Tuesday cites unnamed sources who claim the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
and the New York Stock Exchange
last week reached a $250 million settlement with the company. Bear Stearns, the third-largest broker to hedge funds, stands accused of helping hedge fund customers participate in illegal mutual fund trading.
The wave of mutual fund trading scandals set off by the investigations of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has so far elicited more than $3.5 billion in penalties, collected from over two dozen companies. The $250 million figure -- which Bear Stearns announced it had offered three months ago -- would represent one of the largest single settlements. It includes a fine and payment for ill-gotten profits, but Bloomberg's sources say that under the terms of the agreement, Bear Stearns neither admits nor denies any wrongdoing.
Spokespersons for the SEC, the NYSE, and Bear Stearns all declined to comment.
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