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Tycoon, investor Mark Cuban fights insider trading charge at trial

If you spend any time watching television, you’ve seen Mark Cuban. He’s brash, opinionated and seemingly everywhere.

Cuban is a billionaire investor who seems to go out of his way to avoid shunning the limelight. He owns a cable network, appears on an investment-related television show called Shark Tank, owns a movie studio and, oh yes, a professional basketball team.

That’s not all that is keeping Cuban before the cameras and on the front pages of newspapers. Cuban emerged front and center last week as a principal player in a white collar crime case featuring allegations of insider trading and illegal profiting.

In fact, Cuban is the defendant, and he sought the trial rather than seeking to avoid it by executing a money settlement with the United States Securities Exchange Commission.

The case arises out of a transaction Cuban concluded back in 2004, when he sold a sizable minority position in an Internet company. Government prosecutors say that he did so only because of a private conversation that he had with the company’s CEO, who passed along confidential information that Cuban knew would adversely affect his holdings. To avoid that happening, say prosecutors, Cuban promptly sold off, saving himself an estimated $750,000 by doing so.

Cuban heartily disputes that allegation, with one of his attorneys saying that he chooses to stand and fight when he “could have settled this case, paid a little money, and gone on with his life.”

The trial is expected to last about three weeks. If found liable by the jury on the civil charges he faces, Cuban could be slapped with a potential fine of several million dollars. He faces no jail time.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Cuban insider-trading trial gets under way," Nathan Koppel, Oct. 1, 2013

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