Skip to comments.Ex-banker Quattrone arrested, faces criminal charges
Posted on 04/23/2003 7:55:43 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- Former Credit Suisse First Boston star banker Frank Quattrone surrendered to federal authorities Wednesday morning and will face criminal charges, prosecutors said.
James Comey, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, will unveil the charges at a 1 p.m. ET press conference.
Quattrone, a former star banker for CSFB, allegedly advised his colleagues in late 2000 to destroy documents while regulators were investigating the ways Wall Street investment banks were doling out shares of lucrative initial public offerings.
The former banker is charged in a three-count criminal complaint with obstruction of justice, document destruction and witneess tampering, prosecutors said.
"Frank Quattrone is innocent," his attorney John Keker said in a statement. "He never obstructed justice."
CSFB, the investment bank of Credit Suisse Group (CSR: news, chart, profile), placed Quattrone on administrative leave on Feb. 3 amid questions over whether he authorized the destruction of documents connected with the government's probe of IPOs. He resigned on March 4. See full story.
The charges from federal prosecutors come just days before regulators, led by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, are expected to unveil a final $1.4 billion settlement with 10 investment banks, including Goldman Sachs (GS: news, chart, profile) and Citigroup (C: news, chart, profile), over the ways Wall Street research may have misled investors.
At issue in the Quattrone case are his actions May 2000 to December 2000, when he held dual responsibilities at CSFB for overseeing analysts as well as heading technology banking. The two are normally separate positions.
One of Quattrone's deputies told staff in an e-mail on Dec. 4, 2000, to clean out their files regarding IPOs. The message included a reply from Quattrone endorsing the action.
But two days later, CSFB told staff to disregard the e-mail.
Keker said he would ask for a jury trial as soon as possible.
"Only prosecutors who see the world through dirty windows would take a one-sentence email supporting company policy and try to turn it into a federal criminal case," Quattrone's attorney said. "These accusations are wrong and unfair."
Luisa Beltran is a reporter for CBS.MarketWatch.com in New York.
These IPO/banker guys flouted pretty much every conflict of interest reg I learned.
The compliance dept in the 80s would've hung these bastards out to dry long before the govt got involved.
Federal prosecutors today charged former star technology banker Frank Quattrone with criminal obstruction of justice and tampering with witnesses related to investigations in late 2000 into how his firm allocated shares of hot initial public stock offerings.
The three-count complaint, unveiled by U.S. Attorney James Comey in New York, relates to a December 2000 e-mail in which Palo Alto banker Quattrone helped encouraged his colleagues at Credit Suisse First Boston to ``clean up'' documents. That e-mail was sent out two days after Quattrone had learned that Credit Suisse had received subpoenas from a federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission into IPO practices.
The complaint charges that Quattrone ``unlawfully, willfully and knowingly corruptly influenced, obstructed and impeded ... the due administration of justice'' with his e-mail instructions, which prosecutors said did result in the destruction of pertinent documents.
Quattrone's attorney, John Keker, said his client is innocent and plans to fight the charges including requesting a speedy trial date once a formal indictment is filed, probably by May 13.
``Frank Quattrone is innocent. He never obstructed justice,'' said Keker in a statement. ``Only prosecutors who see the world through dirty windows would take a one-sentence e-mail supporting company policy and try to turn it into a federal criminal case. These accusations are wrong and unfair.''
Quattrone surrendered to the Federal Bureau of Investigations this morning to answer the charges. A federal judge released Quattrone on his own recognizance, but required Quattrone to surrender his passport and return to court May 13.
Legal experts said Quattrone's actions, if they prove to have been criminally motivated, represent the classic way prosecutors nail white-collar offenders these days: rather than focusing on the underlying allegations of fraud or securities violations, prosecutors nab the offenders for their behavior once they know they are under investigation, such as destroying documents, tampering with witnesses or lying to prosecutors.
``Most white-collar criminals are not prosecuted for what they were originally suspected of having done, but for how they conducted themselves when they learned that the federal government was investigating them,'' said John Coffee, a professor of law at Columbia University.
Until Quattrone resigned in March, he ran the technology investment banking group at Credit Suisse First Boston, a New York-based firm, from offices in Palo Alto. He was one of Silicon Valley's highest profile investment insiders during the technology boom.
Quattrone was known for putting together some of the Internet and technology boom's biggest deals, including the IPOs of such heavyweights as Cisco Systems, Amazon.com and Netscape.