Comcast CEO Brian Roberts to Pay $500,000 Fine in Justice Department Deal

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Brian Roberts

The fine in a proposed settlement, which must be approved by a court, is for violating notification rules on stock acquisitions.

NEW YORK – Comcast Corp. chairman and CEO Brian Roberts will pay a $500,000 civil penalty to settle Department of Justice charges that he violated reporting requirements when he acquired Comcast voting shares in 2007.

The Justice Department said Friday that its antitrust division filed a civil lawsuit against Roberts for violating pre-merger notification requirements and the proposed settlement, which must be approved by a court.

According to the complaint, Roberts acquired voting stock as part of his compensation as chairman and CEO beginning in Oct. 2007. In Aug. 2009, he made a corrective filing on those shares, according to the Justice Department.

"Although this is the first time Roberts has been charged with [such a] violation, previously he had twice made corrective filings regarding transactions that he acknowledged were reportable," although he said the failures were inadvertent, the Department said in a statement.

“Comcast and Mr. Roberts appreciate the acknowledgement ... that this was a technical and inadvertent violation that was self-reported, promptly corrected, and did not involve any financial gain to the company or to Mr. Roberts," Comcast said in a statement. "We take very seriously our obligations to comply with all aspects of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and working with our lawyerswe have put in place additional safeguards to ensure that an inadvertent violation does not occur in the future.”

The so-called Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976 imposes notification and waiting period requirements on individuals and companies before they can acquire stock or assets above a certain value, which was $59.8 million in 2007 and is currently $66 million.