Leslie ‘Les’ Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corp.
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Paramount Global And former CBS chief Les Moonves has agreed to pay more to settle an investigation by the New York state attorney general’s office, which on Wednesday unveiled additional charges related to the Los Angeles Police Department’s role in the case.
The investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James confirmed that the LAPD’s commanding officer informed the former CBS CEO and other executives about sexual assault allegations in 2018 before they were made public.
According to a filing from James’ office, the LAPD officer left this voicemail for CBS executive Ian Metros: “I know we haven’t spoken in a while. I am the LAPD Hollywood Captain. A man walked through the station about a couple. Hours ago and you filed a sexual assault charge against your boss, it’s confidential as you know, but call me and I can give you some details and let you know what the charge is before it goes to the media or goes out. .so ok talk to you after some time.
The findings allege that one senior executive sold millions of dollars worth of stock before the information was made public. James said CBS allowed executive Gil Schwartz to sell more than 160,000 shares, or more than $8 million worth, six weeks before the article about the lawsuit against Monves was published. Schwartz, who wrote books under the pen name Stanley Bing, including “Crazy Bosses: Spotting Them, Serving Them, Surviving,” died in 2020.
James said she has referred the case to the California Attorney General’s Office. An LAPD representative declined to comment. CNBC reached out to representatives of Monves and Metroce who still work at the company. Paramount declined to comment further on it.
“We are pleased to resolve this matter with the New York Attorney General’s Office regarding the events that occurred in 2018 without any liability or wrongdoing,” a Paramount spokesperson said Wednesday. “The case involves alleged misconduct by a former CEO of CBS who was terminated for cause in 2018 and has nothing to do with the current company.”
CBS and Viacom merged in 2019, later changing the company’s name to Paramount Global.
The investigation uncovered text messages between an LAPD captain, high-level CBS executives and Moonves that revealed the allegations. According to information released Wednesday by the attorney general, the captain worked with executives for months to keep the complaint from going public.
Moonves left CBS in 2018 after alleging sexual misconduct and cultural issues at the company. Following his resignation, the board hired two law firms to investigate the allegations, confirming that there was a case for dismissing the executive for cause. Moonves has previously denied the allegations.
As part of Paramount’s third-quarter earnings filing, the company reported that it agreed to pay shareholders $7.25 million, while Moonves will pay $2.5 million. This is in addition to the $14.25 million previously paid by Paramount in a settlement.
“CBS and Leslie Moonves’ attempts to silence victims, lie to the public and mislead investors can be described as reprehensible,” James said in Wednesday’s press release. “As a publicly traded company, CBS has failed in its most fundamental duty to be honest and transparent with the public and investors.”
The settlement bars Moonves from serving as an officer or director of a company doing business in New York without obtaining approval from the attorney general’s office.
Paramount said in public filings Wednesday that the company has reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office of Investor Protection without admitting wrongdoing or liability.