SEC

SEC asks companies to detail ties to Iran, Syria

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2011 3:23 PM
SEC asks companies to detail ties to Iran, Syria

The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked several companies to explain how much business they do in Iran, Syria, and Sudan; all countries that have been identified as state sponsors of terrorism.

Companies that got SEC letters this year include Sony Corp., American Express Co., and Veolia Environment SA.

Countries labeled as sponsors of terror are subject to sanctions and other limits on who can do business there. Foreign companies such as Sony that have U.S. ties can do business there under some conditions.

The letters appear to focus on whether the companies should have told investors about business risks from those countries. The SEC has sent similar letters in previous years.

Sony's June 3 response said it had $325 million in sales in Iran during the year that ended March 31. The sales were through local dealers and traders. Sony, based in Japan, said it distributes its movies to movie theaters and retailers in Iran and Syria through third-party licensers. Sony also said that Iran, Syria and Sudan combined were less than a half-percent of its sales.

American Express spokeswoman Susan Korchak said the company has a joint venture in Syria that serves existing cardmembers and merchants. They're not signing up new customers there, she said.

The letters were first reported by the Financial Times.