Mixed verdict in SEC case against Delphi ex-CEO

DETROIT, Jan 13 (Reuters) - A federal jury on Thursday cleared the former chief executive of Delphi Corp of four serious civil fraud charges involving a $237 million payment to ex-parent General Motors GM.N but ruled he violated accounting rules.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had accused J.T. Battenberg, the former CEO of parts supplier Delphi, and former company accountant Paul Free of hiding Delphi’s financial problems prior to the company’s 2005 bankruptcy.

Delphi emerged from bankruptcy in October 2009 a much smaller, privately held business under the name Delphi Automotive LLP.

Battenberg and Free were found liable for not maintaining accurate books and records and making misrepresentations to accountants related to the $237 million payment for parts warranties made to GM in 2000, the year after Delphi was spun off by the automaker.

Battenberg was cleared of four serious fraud accusations, and found guilty on three charges related to keeping accurate books and making misrepresentations to accountants.

The jury, which had been deliberating since Jan. 5, also found Free guilty of violating rules in relation to a smaller bank transaction involving Delphi. (Reporting by Ruchi Naresh; Writing by Andrew Stern; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)