UPDATE 1-U.S. SEC accuses coal company L&L Energy of fraud
(Adds details from SEC statement)
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused L&L Energy Inc of committing fraud when the coal company and its founder made false disclosures about who was running the company, the agency said on Thursday.
A criminal indictment against the founder, Dickson Lee, was also unsealed in federal court in Seattle, the SEC said in a statement.
L&L Energy, which has all of its operations in China and Taiwan, "created the false appearance that the company had a professional management team in place when in reality Dickson Lee was single-handedly controlling the company's operations," the SEC said.
L&L Energy and Lee also misrepresented that they had an acting chief financial officer and submitted false certifications ostensibly signed by the company's CFO, the SEC said.
Public companies' CFOs are required by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act to certify to the accuracy of financial statements.
The SEC said it also issued a settled cease and desist order against L&L Energy's former audit committee chair Shirley Kiang, finding that she played a role in the company's reporting violations by signing an annual report with a false Sarbanes-Oxley certification.
Kiang neither admitted nor denied the charges. Under the order, Kiang must permanently refrain from signing any public filing with the SEC containing Sarbanes-Oxley certifications.
Lawyers for Dickson and Kiang could not immediately be reached for comment. A lawyer for the company did not have an immediate comment. (Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Additional reporting by Dena Aubin; Editing by Andre Grenon and Lisa Shumaker)