Leslie ‘Les’ Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corp.
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Paramount Global and former CBS chief Les Moonves agreed to make additional payments to settle an investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office that on Wednesday revealed further allegations regarding the Los Angeles Police Department’s role in the matter.
The investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that an LAPD commanding officer briefed the former CBS boss and other executives on sexual assault allegations in 2018 before they were made public.
According to a file from James’ office, the LAPD officer left this voice message for CBS executive Ian Metrose: “I know we haven’t spoken in a while. I’m a captain at LAPD Hollywood. Someone went to the station about a couple I made sexual assault allegations against your boss hours ago. It’s confidential as you know but give me a call and I can give you some details and let you know what the allegation is before it goes to the media or gets out. All right, talk to you after a while. Bye.”
The findings also claim that one of the senior executives sold millions of dollars worth of stock based on the information and before they went public. James said CBS allowed executive Gil Schwartz to sell over 160,000 shares, or more than $8 million, six weeks before publishing an article about the allegations against Moonves. Schwartz, who wrote books including Crazy Bosses: Spotting Them, Serving Them, Surviving Them under the pen name Stanley Bing, died in 2020.
James said she has referred the matter to the California Attorney General’s office. A representative of the LAPD declined to comment. CNBC has reached out to Moonves and Metrose, who still works at the company. Paramount declined to comment further on him.
“We are pleased to resolve this matter with the New York Attorney General’s Office regarding the events of 2018 without admitting liability or wrongdoing,” a Paramount spokesman said Wednesday. “The matter concerned alleged misconduct by the former CEO of CBS, who was fired for cause in 2018, and is in no way related to the current company.”
CBS and Viacom merged in 2019 and later changed the company’s name to Paramount Global.
The investigation found text messages between the LAPD captain, senior CBS executives and Moonves that revealed the allegations. The captain also worked with executives for several months to prevent the complaint from becoming public, Wednesday’s attorney general’s press release said.
Moonves left CBS in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct and cultural issues at the company. After his departure, the board hired two law firms to investigate the allegations and found that there were grounds to fire the executive on good cause. Moonves has previously denied the allegations.
As part of filings related to Paramount’s third-quarter results on Wednesday, the company announced that it has agreed to pay $7.25 million to shareholders, while Moonves paid $2.5 million will pay. This is in addition to the $14.25 million previously paid by Paramount as part of the settlement.
“The attempts by CBS and Leslie Moonves to silence victims, lie to the public and mislead investors can only be described as reprehensible,” James said in Wednesday’s statement. “As a public company, CBS has failed in its most fundamental duty to be honest and transparent with the public and investors.”
The settlement also bars Moonves from serving as an officer or director of any company that does business in New York without first obtaining approval from the attorney general’s office.
Paramount said in public filings Wednesday that the company reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Investor Protection Bureau without admitting wrongdoing or liability.