Media giant Time Warner has been fined $300m (£166.6m) by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for posting inaccurate financial results that included overstated sales from online advertising.
The results in question go back to 2000 when Time Warner’s sales from internet subsidiary AOL started to falter as the dot.com boom ran out of steam.
The SEC found that at one point Time Warner did not include the results of a faltering AOL Europe in its group results.
The SEC settlement has led to Time Warner restating all its results from the year ending 31 December 2000 to 31 December 2003.
The $300m fine will be paid into a general Fair Fund set up by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is designed to help compensate investors who claim they have been defrauded by corporate financial wrongdoing.
In recent years the SEC has fined WorldCom $750m, Qwest Communications $250m, and Computer Associates $225m for similar breaches of financial reporting rules.