* Brazilian tycoons pay $10.6 mln to settle probe
* Lemann, Telles, Sicupira among largest AB-Inbev holders
* Brazil regulator also fines other AmBev executives
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Brazilian financial tycoons Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Herrmann Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira agreed to pay 18.6 million reais ($10.6 million) to settle a five-year old case where they were accused of abuse of power as controlling shareholders of beverage company AmBev AMBV4.SA, the country's securities regulator said on Thursday.
The fines, among the highest ever paid by individuals in a financial lawsuit in Brazil, stemmed from a complaint filed in 2004 by Previ, Latin America’s largest pension fund, against terms of the sale of AmBev to Belgium’s Interbrew and the takeover of Canadian brewer Labatt, the regulator said.
Lemann, a Brazilian billionaire listed by Forbes magazine as the third wealthiest person in the country, Telles and Sicupira each agreed to pay 5 million reais to settle accusations that they wrongfully used a stock options plan to increase their stake in AmBev ABV.N and failed to meet their fiduciary duties, the regulator said in a statement.
Sicupira, the ninth richest Brazilian according to Forbes, also agreed to pay an additional 3.03 million reais to settle an accusation of conflict of interest. The regulator, known as CVM, said he should have abstained from voting in a board meeting that approved terms of the takeover of Labatt by AmBev because he was also a controlling shareholder of the Brazilian company.
Lemann and Telles, the seventh wealthiest Brazilian according to Forbes, also agreed pay each 285,000 reais to settle an accusation that they gave wrong information to the securities regulator regarding the Labatt purchase.
Brazil's securities regulator has stepped up its probe of insider trading and other types of fraud in the country as more individuals choose to put funds in the country's booming stock market. The regulator in October slapped a 19.2 million-real fine, the second-biggest ever in the country, on Credit Suisse CSGN.VX to settle an insider trading case.
Telles, Lemann and Sicupira founded Brazilian investment bank Garantia, which was sold to Credit Suisse in 1998, before making a fortune in the beer industry through a series of mergers and acquisitions that formed Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BR. The three are among the largest individual owners of AB-Inbev.
Brazil’s securities regulator also said six other AmBev executives agreed to pay a total 1.4 million reais to settle accusations they didn’t fulfill their duties in regards to the takeover of Labatt.
Among those executives, Luis Felipe Dutra, AB-Inbev’s current chief financial officer who was AmBev’s director of investor relations at the time, agreed to pay 400,000 reais. ($1=1.753 reais) (Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
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