(Reuters) – Accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP, a partner and two former employees agreed to pay over $ 10 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fees as they violated the auditor's independent rules, the firm said Monday. .
Ernst & Young, partners James Herring and former partners James Young and Curt Fochtmann disrupted a public company's choice of auditor and threatened their ability to remain objective and impartial as auditors, the SEC said.
The Office brought related charges against William Stiehl, the company's former chief accountant, whom the SEC did not name, for its role in the misconduct.
Attorneys for Ernst & Young and the individuals, who did not acknowledge or deny the SEC's findings, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Sealed Air Corp, where Stiehl had been CFO, said in 201
"The independence of auditors is not only an obstacle to overcome, it is the bedrock that supports the integrity, transparency and reliability of financial reporting," SEC official Charles Cain said in a statement.
The auditing firm agreed to pay $ 10 million to settle civil charges. Herring, Mr. Young and Fochtmann agreed to pay $ 50,000, $ 25,000 and $ 15,000, respectively, as well as temporary suspensions. Mr Stiehl agreed to a fine of $ 51,000.