Capital One CEO settles charges of violating antitrust laws

Capital One CEO settles charges of violating antitrust laws
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Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank will settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission of violating antitrust laws, the agency announced.

The FTC accused Fairbank of not reporting over 100,000 shares in the company in 2018, violating the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act. The shares increased his holdings to $168 million.

Fairbank will pay a $637,950 civil penalty to settle the accusations.

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In a statement to The Hill, a Capital One spokesperson said Fairbank's personal law firm will pay the full amount of the fine.

“For many years, Mr. Fairbank has been advised on his personal disclosure responsibilities by a well-respected international law firm. Due to administrative errors by the firm, the 2018 filing obligation was missed,” the spokesperson said.

“As soon as his counsel identified the firm’s error, as noted in the FTC's published order, Mr. Fairbank promptly self-reported to the FTC and submitted a corrective HSR filing. His personal law firm has agreed to pay the full amount of the fine as a result of its mistake,” the statement continued.

The HSR act requires companies and individuals to report large transactions over a certain threshold so the FTC and Justice Department can investigate before the deals close.

In a court filing, the FTC says that Fairbank acquired 101,148 shares in the company, but failed to report them despite being required to by law. He later reported the shares in December 2019 after learning that he was obligated to do so.

The agency said it fined Fairbank below the maximum penalty because he self-reported the violation after discovery, and was willing to resolve the matter without prolonged litigation.

Fairbank previously violated the HSR Act in 1999 and 2004, when he failed to disclose to the FTC that he was acquiring shares in the company.

Holly Vedova, acting director of the Bureau of Competition, said in a statement that Fairbanks “repeatedly broke the law,” adding, “There is no exemption for Wall Street bankers and powerful CEOs when it comes to complying with our country’s antitrust laws.”