(Adds comment from Mexican banking regulator in paragraph 7)
WASHINGTON, March 3 Mexico-based home builder
Desarrolladora Homex SAB de CV has agreed to settle
charges it reported fake sales to boost revenues in what U.S.
authorities said on Friday was a $3.3 billion accounting fraud.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a
statement that it used satellite imagery to show that Homex, one
of Mexico's largest homebuilders at the time, "had not even
broken ground on many of the homes for which it reported
revenues" over a three-year period.
Homex agreed to the settlement, which must still win court
approval, without admitting or denying the charges, the SEC
"The company will abide by the SEC resolution and continue
to collaborate with the Commission and will provide any
information requested by the authority relating to third
parties," Homex said in a statement.
Shares of Homex have been suspended until March 17, the SEC
said separately, citing "a lack of adequate and accurate
information" in the company's annual reports. On Thursday, its
shares closed down at less than 1 peso per share.
Homex said that for a period of five years it will not
participate in the U.S. stock market and will not publish any
financial or business information in English on its website or
any other electronic information distribution service.
Mexico's National Bank and Securities Commission said it
worked with the SEC during its investigation and slapped a 12
million peso ($613,977) fine on Homex in October 2015 for
improperly preparing its financial statements.
The settlement follows the SEC probe announced last year
against Homex, which filed for bankruptcy in 2014.
The homebuilder had been saddled with mounting debts and
struggled with a shift in government policy over subsidies.
In 2015, the company emerged from bankruptcy and
top officers were placed on leave.
"Homex has since undertaken significant remedial efforts and
cooperated with the SEC’s investigation," the agency said on
Friday, adding that its settlement reflected the cooperation of
the new company leadership.
($1 = 19.575 Mexican pesos)
(Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Alexander Alper
and Anthony Esposito in Mexico City; editing by Dan Grebler and