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US Corporate Responsibility Official Heads Company Accused Of Fraud

WASHINGTON (voa) – President Bush’s top official on corporate crime and responsibility was a director of a credit card company that paid more than $400 million to settle allegations of consumer and securities fraud.

The news about deputy attorney general Larry Thompson, who heads a new multi-agency corporate-crime task force, first appeared in Saturday’s Washington Post newspaper.

The report said Mr. Thompson’s service as board member and chief audit officer for Providian Financial Corporation coincided with the time regulators said the company may have been engaged in fraudulent conduct. Providian settled all the complaints without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

Mr. Thompson’s spokesman Mark Corallo said the deputy attorney general only became aware of issues of fraud when regulators began to make inquiries.

Providian ran into financial trouble last year after settling charges that it inflated its financial results by charging excessive credit card fees and engaging in other practices that state and federal regulators say broke consumer-protection rules.

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