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FTC hits Comcast CEO Brian Roberts with $500,000 fine

December 16, 2011 | 12:44 pm

Brian Roberts was fined by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has fined Comcast Corp. Chief Executive Brian Roberts $500,000 to settle antitrust charges.

The fine arises from Roberts' violation of a merger notification requirements in the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Act relating to the cable giant's pruchase of AT&T's cable systems in 2002.

Specifically, Roberts was allowed to acquire shares in Comcast up until 2007. After that, he was required to give notice anytime he received more company stock. However, he continued to receive Comcast securities after that date without notifying the agency. In August 2009, Comcast caught the misstep and notified the FTC of the violation.

The FTC said the violation was "inadvertent and technical" and "apparently due to faulty advice from outside counsel." Roberts did not gain financially from the violation of the company's agreement, the FTC said.

“Comcast and Mr. Roberts appreciate the acknowledgement by the Federal Trade Commission that this was a technical and inadvertent violation that was self-reported, promptly corrected, and did not involve any financial gain to the Company or to Mr. Roberts," Comcast said in a statement, adding that the company has "put in place additional safeguards to ensure that an inadvertent violation does not occur in the future.” 


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-- Joe Flint

Photo: Brian Roberts. Credit: George Widman/Associated Press