SeaWorld could face punishment from the SEC, company discloses

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PHOTO BY ABI SKIPP VIA FLICKR
  • Photo by Abi Skipp via Flickr
On Thursday, SeaWorld Entertainment reportedly disclosed in a filing that they had been alerted that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission staff recommends the company face a civil punishment or administrative hearings for violating federal securities law.

The SEC and U.S. Department of Justice have been investigating the company for comments made by executives in August 2014 about the impact from the Blackfish documentary, an anti-captivity film, and trading in the company’s securities, the company admitted in a June SEC filing. At the time, the company’s executives were accused of misleading shareholders about how the anti-captivity film hurt SeaWorld’s business and attendance at the theme parks.



A fine is one the punishments SEC staff could recommend. SeaWorld executives plan to tell the SEC why it doesn’t deserve to face any penalties, the company said in the filing.
SeaWorld received a Wells notice last week – what the SEC sends to a person or entity to explain proposed charges and to give them a chance to explain themselves in return, the SEC’s website states.

The company is also facing a lawsuit from investors and a criminal investigation currently being conducted by the Department of Justice.



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