Billionaire Mark Cuban heads to insider trading trial in the US

 
City A.M. Reporter
MARK Cuban, the billionaire who regularly sits courtside to cheer on his Dallas Mavericks basketball team, is heading to a court of a different kind today.

The showdown in US district judge Sidney Fitzwater’s courtroom in Dallas is expected to last eight to 10 days.

Once there, Cuban hopes to convince a federal jury that a civil insider trading case brought against him by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should fail.

The case stems from Cuban’s June 2004 sale of 600,000 shares of Mamma.com, soon after he had supposedly learned of an equity offering that could depress the Montreal-based Internet search company’s stock price.

The SEC said the sale let Cuban avoid a roughly $750,000 loss on his 6.3 per cent stake. It seeks to recoup illegal gains, impose a fine, and win a permanent ban against similar conduct. Cuban, who might have tried to settle with the SEC for a fairly small sum, has been battling the regulator for nearly five years.

“We look forward to a fair trial,” Christopher Clark, a partner at Latham & Watkins in New York, who is one of Cuban’s lawyers, said.

A spokeswoman for the SEC declined to comment.

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