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SEC fines Royal Dutch/Shell $120 million in reserves case, but continues probe of individuals' role

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SEC fines Royal Dutch/Shell $120 million in reserves case, but continues probe of individuals' role

By MARCY GORDON

AP Business Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A $120 million fine levied on Royal Dutch/Shell Group by the Securities and Exchange Commission resolves the company's part in the SEC inquiry into the overstatement of oil and gas reserves, but the role of individuals is still under investigation, regulators said Tuesday.

The SEC and the oil giant announced that the settlement, which the company agreed to in principle last month, has been made formal. Under the accord, the world's third-largest publicly traded oil company also agreed to spend $5 million on an internal compliance program.

The $120 million civil fine is the third-largest imposed by the SEC for alleged accounting fraud, behind WorldCom Inc.'s agreement to pay investors $500 million in May 2003, and $150 million in a fine and restitution by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. announced earlier this month.

Royal Dutch/Shell neither admitted to nor denied wrongdoing in the settlement but did agree to refrain from future violations of securities laws.

The company still faces an investigation by the Justice Department.


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