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offered a settlement to government regulators Friday in response to a probe into its accounting practices, and placed its chief financial officer on leave.

The Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor said it offered to pay up to $12 million to the

Securities and Exchange Commission

over an inquiry into the accounting practices of its commuter aircraft business.

The company also said Edward S. Pliner, its senior vice president and chief financial officer, and another non-executive employee were placed on administrative leave related to the investigation. The action came after the SEC staff recommended that the full commission bring action against the two employees.

Biggs C. Porter, Raytheon's vice president and controller, will replace Pliner, and the company will record a $12 million after-tax charge in its 2005 first quarter. It said Pliner and the other employee under scrutiny will have an opportunity to respond to the SEC's allegations in writing.

The company also would consent to a cease-and-desist order concerning accounting violations without admitting any wrongdoing. The settlement must still gain SEC approval. The company disclosed in September 2003 that the SEC had launched a formal probe into the timing of revenue recognition at Raytheon Aircraft from 1997 to 2001.

Separately, Raytheon said it has agreed to pay $39 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit related to the sale of its Washington Group International business.