Mark Cuban has been cleared by a Dallas federal jury on insider trading charges for alleged stock dumping.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused the billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star of selling $7.9 million in stock after he learned confidential news that would bring the stock price of search engine Mamma.com down in 2004. A pending stock deal would have devalued the shares and Mark Cuban owned six percent, more than anyone else at the time. In the two-week trial, the feds were going after Cuban for up to $2 million in fines for alleged insider trading. Reportedly Cuban avoided a $750,000 loss in the transaction.
Cuban previously refused to settle the case with the government. The nine-member jury ruled in Cuban’s favor after four hours of deliberations.
According to CNN, “Cuban argued in court that while he was prohibited from disclosing the plans for a stock sale by the company, he was not prohibited from selling his shares on the information.” Added Reuters, “Cuban testified during the two-week trial that there were many reasons for selling his shares, including the private placement and Mamma.com’s possible association with a known stock swindler.”
Conflicting evidence from the Mamma.com CEO who testified on taped video rather than in person in the courtroom was apparently an issue in the case. According to the New York Times, “And during his initial interview with the SEC., Mr. Fauré did not mention that Mr. Cuban immediately agreed to keep the information confidential. It was not until his second interview with the SEC. that Mr. Fauré recounted how Mr. Cuban said ‘something to the effect’ of ‘um hum, go ahead’ in response to hearing that Mamma had ‘confidential information’ to share.He changed his story at a curious time — about two weeks after learning that the S.E.C. dropped an unrelated investigation into Mamma.com.”
The phone call in question was not recorded, and Cuban said he didn’t remember it.
Reacting to the jury verdict outside of the courtroom, Cuban criticized the lead federal prosecutor in the case against him. “Jan Folena, who represents the United States of America, stood up there and lied… I’m the luckiest guy in the world and I’m glad I could stand up to them.”