Mark Cuban Cleared Of Charges Of Insider Trading After 5 Year Battle With The S.E.C.
Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was cleared of charges of insider trading brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.).
A jury found Cuban not guilty of insider training Wednesday, bringing the five-year dispute to a close. The case concerned a 2004 exchange in which Cuban traded in his stock in a search engine company, Mamma.com, in a last minute sale that kept him from losing approximately $750,000. The SEC filed a complaint in 2008, and the case had already been dismissed in 2009 by a judge before being brought back on appeal and finally going to trial Oct. 1.
Cuban has not been quiet about his outrage at the charges, and insists that the S.E.C. was simply trying to go after him as a power play.
“It’s personal. When you take all these years of my life and try to make a point, it’s personal… It’s just wrong the way this went down,” Cuban said at a press conference after the verdict.
Cuban is trying to promote his case as proof that the SEC is a failing system, a message made clear by his attorney Stephen Best.
“It took somebody with Mr. Cuban’s resources to stand up, do what’s right and take this to the end. This should be a wake-up call for the SEC to filter their cases,” Best told USA Today.
After the verdict was announced, Cuban held a small press conference outside the courthouse, and he held nothing back when criticizing the SEC and how they handled his case. Cuban noted that he spent much more on his legal team to fight the SEC than he would have had he been found guilty and fined $2 million as proof that he had done nothing wrong and wanted to take on the SEC to expose their malpractices.
“Hopefully… people will start to pay attention to how the SEC does business… I’m the luckiest guy in the world, I’m glad this happened to me. I’m glad I’m able to be the person who can afford to stand up to them. I’m glad, I don’t need anything from them, I don’t want anything from the SEC, except them to act like American citizens that treat other American citizens the way they are supposed to be treated because this is a horrific example of how a government does work,” Cuban told reporters.
Meanwhile, the SEC is trying to paint the loss as an almost inevitable conclusion due to Cuban’s home court advantage. The trial took place in Dallas, where Cuban is a bit of an icon.
“Mark Cuban is not going to be found guilty of insider trading in Dallas, Tex., because he’s a hero down there. The SEC had an uphill climb from the very beginning,” Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago securities attorney explained.
A spokesperson for the SEC, John Nester, noted that, though their loss against Cuban was unfortunate, they remain committed to enforcing securities laws.
“While the verdict in this particular case is not the one we sought, it will not deter us from bringing and trying cases where we believe defendants have violated the federal securities laws,” Nester wrote in a statement.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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