Altice USA said it’s reviewing some supplier and vendor relationships and will pause some capital spending until an internal investigation linked to suspected fraud at its European counterpart is complete.
(Bloomberg) — Altice USA said it’s reviewing some supplier and vendor relationships and will pause some capital spending until an internal investigation linked to suspected fraud at its European counterpart is complete.
“We are committed to conducting our business with the highest integrity and will continue to move forward, operating with the best interest of our shareholders, customers and employees,” Chief Executive Officer Dennis Mathew said on a conference call with analysts to discuss quarterly results.
Altice co-founder Armando Pereira was detained in Portugal on July 13 as part of a criminal investigation into alleged corruption, tax fraud and money laundering. Since then, the company has suspended contracts with about 60 suppliers, launched internal audits, and has put its US procurement chief, Yossi Benchetrit — Pereira’s son-in-law — on leave. Alexandre Fonseca, chairman of Altice USA, has also been suspended, along with about 10 other employees.
Mathew said Altice USA, which has opened its own internal investigation, has named Jennifer Yohe, a 25-year procurement veteran, to replace Benchetrit.
Earlier Wednesday, Altice France suspended Tatiana Agova-Bregou, the head of content, acquisitions and partnerships. So far, she is the first Altice France employee to be placed on leave.
Altice USA, which provides TV, internet and phone service under the Optimum brand in 21 states, was spun off from the European business in 2018. Former Morgan Stanley banker Dexter Goei ran the US unit as CEO until he was replaced in October by Mathew. Goei served as chairman of the US business until Fonseca took that title in March. Goei is still a director on the board. Mathew replaced Fonseca last month, adding chairman to his role.
(Corrects to remove references to Altice Europe; clarifies year of Altice USA spin off)
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