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The SEC and the Sun-Times Media Group Inc concluded a civil settlement of $28.7 million with ithe company’s former President and Publisher David Radler relating to claims of backdated stock options and other transgressions in a commercial litigation matter.

The SEC settlement includes a $5 million civil penalty, one of the largest on record against an individual. Radler has already plead guilty to criminal fraud and will testify against the former Chairman of the company. He is precluded from ever serving as an officer or director of a public company in the future.

The SEC alleged Radler conspired with the former Chairman to divert to themselves $85 million that shareholders should have seen from the sale of various newspapers. The Sun-Times had filed suit in the Northern District of Illinois seeking reimbursement of the proceeds of backdated stock options and other transgressions by the defendants. As in other such fraudulent behavior by corporate executives, the shareholders were the big losers.

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