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Three Plead Guilty In Computer Associates Case

THE NEW YORK TIMES

As three former executives of Computer Associates pleaded guilty to securities fraud on Thursday, the federal prosecutors investigating the company’s accounting practices left little doubt that they are zeroing in on Sanjay Kumar, the company’s chairman and chief executive.

Kumar was the second-ranking executive at Computer Associates throughout the late 1990s, a period when current and former employees say the company used accounting tricks to overstate its sales and profits.

Charles B. Wang, the company’s founder and its top executive during that period, retired in 2002; Kumar remains at Computer Associates. In 1998, Wang, Kumar and a third executive received a $1.1 billion bonus tied to the performance of the company’s stock.

The three men who pleaded guilty Thursday are all cooperating with federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y. They include Ira H. Zar, the company’s former chief financial officer, who noted in his plea that he reported directly to Kumar. Prosecutors rarely offer defendants shorter sentences in return for their cooperation unless they believe the defendants have information that may be valuable in targeting higher-ranking executives.

FCC To Fine Clear Channel $495,000 Over Stern Show

THE NEW YORK TIMES

The Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday that it intended to fine the radio giant Clear Channel Communications $495,000 for statements about anal sex and other sexual activities that were broadcast on Howard Stern’s radio show last April. The fine prompted Clear Channel to permanently remove the program from its six stations that carried it.

The FCC also said Thursday that it had directed its enforcement bureau to begin investigating the possibility of levying fines on the Infinity Broadcasting Corp., the Viacom unit that distributes Stern’s program and broadcasts it on 18 of its stations.

Because the initial complaint about Stern’s program - specifically, several minutes of a show last April -- was made by a listener who had heard it on a Clear Channel station in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the commission had focused its initial investigation on the company and its subsidiaries, commission officials said.

It was unclear whether the FCC would eventually expand its investigation to other radio companies that also carry Stern’s program.

Clear Channel, which announced the temporary suspension of Stern’s program from its stations earlier this year after the commission began its investigation, has 30 days to respond to the proposed fine.

In a statement, John Hogan, the president and chief executive of Clear Channel Radio, did not comment directly on the commission’s findings but was sharply critical of Stern.