Mark Cuban — the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks —
has been found not guiltyof insider trading by a federal jury, the AP is reporting.
Cuban was accused of selling his shares in an internet company called mamma.com in 2004 based on private information relayed to him from the CEO, avoiding $US750,000 in losses.
The SEC was searching for a civil penalty. The AP described the crux of the case weeks ago:
The SEC’s key piece of evidence is a phone call between Cuban and the CEO of Mamma.com. According to the SEC, the CEO told Cuban he had confidential information to share and Cuban agreed to keep it to himself. When the CEO said the company planned an offering of new stock, the SEC alleges, Cuban became angry because the offering would reduce the value of his 600,000 shares — and there was nothing he could do about it.
“Well now I’m screwed. I can’t sell,” Cuban said, according to the SEC.
But over the following two days, that’s exactly what Cuban did, unloading his shares before the company publicly announced the stock offering.
Cuban had argued that he never agreed to confidentiality, and that insider trading laws did not restrict him from unloading his shares.