SEC orders former Argo CEO Mark Watson to pay $450,000 – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Former Argo CEO Mark Watson settles with SEC, pays $450,000

Mark Watson, former CEO of Argo Group (File photograph)

Undisclosed benefits associated with the use of a corporate aircraft, helicopter trips and tickets and transportation to sporting, fashion and other entertainment events, have resulted in a $450,000 civil penalty for Mark Watson, the former CEO of Argo Group International Holding.

Mr Watson, who was president, CEO and a director of Bermudian-based Argo from 2000 until last year, was facing proceedings by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

It found that definitive proxy statements by Argo had, between 2014 and through 2018, failed to disclose more than $5.3 million worth of additional perquisites and personal benefits provided to Mr Watson.

According to the SEC, items that Argo paid for on Mr Watson’s behalf included expenses associated with use of a corporate aircraft, rent and other housing costs, use of corporate vehicles, helicopter trips and tickets and transportation to sporting, fashion and other entertainment events.

Ahead of cease-and-desist proceedings by the SEC, Mr Watson submitted an offer of settlement to the Commission, without admitting or denying the findings.

Mr Watson resigned as president and CEO of Argo in November 2019, and as a member of its board of directors on December 30 last year.

Argo was required to pay a $900,000 penalty in June to settle similar complaints against the company.

The SEC imposed the sanctions agreed to in Mr Watson’s settlement offer, and on Thursday ordered that he “cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations”, and pay a civil penalty of $450,000 to the SEC.