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Diamond Foods to pay $5 mln to settle SEC accounting fraud case

Jan 9 (Reuters) - San Francisco-based snack food company Diamond Foods Inc will pay $5 million to settle civil charges that the company and two former top executives misled investors by lying about walnut costs to boost earnings, U.S. regulators said Thursday.

In addition to the settlement with the company, Diamond's former Chief Executive Officer Michael Mendes also agreed to pay a $125,000 penalty and settle without admitting or denying the charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

The company's former Chief Financial Officer, Steven Neil, is still fighting the SEC's charges.