CBL & Associates Says SEC Is Probing Four of Mall Owner’s Loans

CBL & Associates Properties Inc., a U.S. shopping-mall owner, said the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an investigation of four of the company’s loans originated in 2011 and 2012.

The review is to ensure that information provided to lenders on leasing reports, revenue and projected revenue “did not materially vary” from CBL’s financial statements, the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based real estate investment trust said in a statement Monday. CBL hired Ernst & Young to conduct an independent investigation, the findings of which will be presented to the SEC.

“We are confident that this will bring a positive resolution to this matter,” the company said in the statement.

After a May 24 article in the Wall Street Journal that said CBL was under investigation by federal law-enforcement officials for alleged accounting fraud, the REIT released a statement denying the allegations. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lebovitz said last week at an industry conference in New York that CBL wasn’t aware of any investigation and the company was “determined to clear our name.”

CBL owns, holds stakes in or manages more than 147 properties in 31 states. Its shares slipped 2 percent to $10.08 at 10:40 a.m. New York time. They fell 8.4 percent, the most since August 2011, the day after the Wall Street Journal story.

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