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January 23, 2017

Posted  February 21, 2017

Shipping conglomerate Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG) and its former CFO Myles R. Itkin will pay $5 million and $75,000 respectively for to settle charges that they failed to recognize hundreds of millions in tax liabilities in OSG’s financial statements.  According to the SEC’s order, OSG’s credit agreements from 2000 to the second quarter of 2012 contained a provision making OSG’s controlled foreign subsidiary Overseas International Group Inc. (OIN) and another subsidiary Overseas Bulk Ships (OBS) jointly and severally liable for OSG’s debt.  The provision triggered current income tax liability under Section 956 of the Internal Revenue Service Code which addresses “investments in United States property” for amounts that OSG borrowed, and deferred tax liabilities for amounts not borrowed but available under the credit agreements.  During this period, OSG and Itkin, who participated in the negotiation of the credit agreements and signed them, failed to recognize OSG’s tax liability despite significant indicia that the structure of its credit agreements in effect made OIN a guarantor under the agreements and could trigger tax consequences, including tax memos from outside counsel and communications with the banks during the negotiation phase of the credit agreements.   As a result of the misconduct, OSG materially understated its income tax liabilities by approximately $512 million (17% of its total liabilities).  In November 2012, following discovery of the tax liabilities, OSG filed for bankruptcy protection.  SEC

Tagged in: Accounting Fraud, Misrepresentations, Tax Fraud,