The Securities and Exchange Commission charged three Blackstone Group private equity fund advisers with failing to fully inform investors about revenues recorded for accelerated monitoring fees and discounts on legal fees. Blackstone will pay nearly $39 million to settle the charges and $29 million of the settlement will be returned to affected fund investors. The Blackstone funds failed to sufficiently disclose to investors that managers charged monitoring fees to fund-owned portfolio companies prior to the companies' sale or initial public offering, thereby reducing the value of the companies prior to sale. Fund investors were also not informed that Blackstone was paying much less for outside legal services than it was charging the funds. Blackstone violated its fiduciary duty by failing to properly disclose the fees, the SEC said. Blackstone did not admit or deny the findings.
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