WASHINGTON (AP) The Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay $2.4 billion to settle claims by Chinese investors that the theme park was tainted by bribery and embezzlement.
The $2,947,000 settlement resolves claims that Disney World’s chief executive, Phil DiSanto, and the company’s chairman, Robert Iger, conspired to manipulate hotel prices, the companies said Monday.
Disney’s settlement with the Chinese investors comes amid a larger investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In December, a U.S. District Court judge issued a restraining order against DiSantao, accusing him of stealing $1.2 billion from hotel management companies.
DiSanto and Iger were among a group of defendants who had sued Disney in January.
The Disney case is being heard by U.C.L.A. Judge Barbara L. McQuade.
Disney, which is based in California, has been trying to settle its lawsuits against the Chinese and has been negotiating with Chinese investors since last year.
DisneyWorld, which opened in Florida in 1971, has become a favorite destination for wealthy Chinese tourists to enjoy its theme parks and resorts.
The company has a strong Chinese footprint, with about 40% of the company workforce based in the U.K., according to an SEC filing.
“The allegations in the SEC’s complaint are very serious and represent a significant threat to the financial stability of Disney,” said Disney spokeswoman Mary B. Cascio.
“We will vigorously defend ourselves and will vigorously cooperate with any investigation into the allegations in this matter.”
Justice Department filed a separate lawsuit against DiSabo and IGER last year, accusing them of stealing about $1 billion from management companies, including hotel operators, for their personal gain.
The Chinese investors filed the lawsuit in late May, alleging that Disney was improperly using the hotel business to enrich its chairman, DiSante.
The investors also alleged that DiSanti had used hotel ownership to fund personal spending and travel expenses for his wife, the company said in a statement.
Disney said in December that the hotel fraud case was one of the largest fraud cases the company has ever handled.
In June, DiSabino resigned after he admitted that he accepted bribes from hotel operators in exchange for favorable treatment.