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Ernst & Young agreed to pay $9.3 million to settle claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission that two former partners in the audit division had personal relationships with clients, violating rules to keep those Ernst & Young employees objective and impartial.

One of the partners, Pamela Hartford, maintained a romantic relationship with Robert Brehl, the ex-chief accountant of Ventas Inc., when the company was being audited, according to the order from the regulator Monday. In a separate case, Greg Bednar, another former partner, became too close to another client, traveling with that company’s chief financial officer and family to sporting events including professional football games, hockey matches and the Masters golf tournament, the SEC said.

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