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Countrywide founder is formally charged by SEC

ANGELO Mozilo, co-founder of what was once the largest mortgage broker in the US, Countrywide Financial, has been charged by regulators for misleading investors, along with two of his former executives.<br /><br />US financial regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a civil lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court against Mozilo, former Countrywide president David Sambol and chief financial officer Eric Sieracki.<br /><br />The watchdog alleges they duped investors over credit risks being taken on by the group to build and maintain its market share. It also accused Mozilo of realising nearly $140m (&pound;87m) in profit through insider trading.<br /><br />Lawyers for Mozilo said last week he did &ldquo;nothing improper&rdquo;.<br /><br />The case against Mozilo constitutes the highest-profile civil case stemming from the US housing collapse.<br /><br />A solicitor for Sambol described the civil suit as &ldquo;baseless&rdquo; and said the agency &ldquo;has no case&rdquo;. He said: &ldquo;The SEC wrongly asserts that Countrywide&rsquo;s disclosures to its investors regarding its lending criteria should have been more extensive.&rdquo;