Originally created 03/18/03

Business briefs



BRIEFLY

SEC charges

Merrill Lynch execs

WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged four former senior Merrill Lynch executives with helping Enron inflate profit and mislead investors with two financing deals. The SEC also approved a settlement in which Merrill will pay $80 million to resolve the case.

The SEC and the nation's biggest brokerage firm last month reached a tentative agreement regarding the 1999 transactions, which now has been approved by the SEC commissioners. The firm neither admits to nor denies wrongdoing in the settlement, which it says ends the SEC's investigation into its dealings with Enron.

"This action is a message to all who would help a ... company commit fraud: We will bring the full weight of our enforcement arsenal against you," SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson said.