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Mark Cuban Found Not Guilty of Insider Trading

Michelle Toh |
October 16, 2013 | 2:34 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Mark Cuban had been accused of insider trading on his stock of Mamma.com nine years ago. (JD Lasica/SocialMedia.biz)
Mark Cuban had been accused of insider trading on his stock of Mamma.com nine years ago. (JD Lasica/SocialMedia.biz)
Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team Mark Cuban was acquitted of insider trading by a Texas jury Wednesday.

Cuban had been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of insider trading in the sale of his 600,000 shares in Internet search company Mamma.com in 2004, managing to avoid a $750,000 loss. He was facing an approximate $2 million fine, according to the New York Times

Prosecutors had argued that Cuban had sold his stock after learning from Mamma.com's CEO Guy Fauré that the firm was planning a private stock offering that would significantly dilute his holdings.

During the two-week civil trial, however, Cuban gave a number of reasons for selling his stock of the company, including the possibility that the company was associated with a stock swindler.

His lawyers were able to cast reasonable doubt on the validity of Fauré's claims, who testified that Cuban had agreed to keep the information private in their call. There were no recordings of the call and Cuban said he did not remember the nine-year-old conversation.

In his closing argument, one of Cuban's lawyers, Thomas M. Melsheimer, said that the prosecutor could repeat Fauré's testimony "until the cows come home... but that doesn't make it true."

Cuban, known as a reality television personality and estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $2.5 billion, was one of the few celebrities brought to trial by the SEC, which recently celebrated its victory against Fabrice Tourre, a Goldman Sachs trader who was found guilty of securities fraud in August.

SEC lawyers swiftly left the courtroom after the verdict was read, according to Reuters. "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," spokesman John Nester said.

The jury concluded that Cuban was not guilty after only four hours of deliberation.

Reach Executive Producer Michelle Toh here.



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