Standard & Poor agency accused of misleading investors in 2011 and 2012

The U.S. Justice Department sued the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor , a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc., in February 2013, claiming more than $5 billion in losses from S&P-rated securities during the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Finally, the agency, being accused of misleading investors about its rating system in 2011 and 2012, will pay now $77 million settlement with U.S. and state regulators.

S&P also agreed to be barred for one year from rating certain commercial-backed mortgage securities. The investigation found that S&P misled investors by secretly using more aggressive assumptions in its calculations than it publicly disclosed. "The settlements do not affect any outstanding S&P Ratings credit ratings or the manner in which S&P Ratings conducts credit analysis under the relevant criteria," the company said in a statement. According to some sources, S&P is close to an agreement even more important to pay $1.375 billion to settle government lawsuits over mortgage ratings issued in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, a person familiar with the matter said.