DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

Mark Cuban Charged With Insider Trading

SEC: Dallas maverick improperly dumped 600,000 shares of tech stock

View Document

Mark Cuban Charged With Insider Trading

NOVEMBER 17--Mark Cuban, the controversial owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, was charged today with insider trading in connection with the sale of his entire stake in an Internet search engine firm.

Cuban was named in a U.S. District Court civil complaint filed today by the Securities and Exchange Commission. A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.

According to the SEC, in June 2004 Cuban dumped his shares in immediately after learning of an impending stock offering that would have diluted the value of his holdings. By selling his 600,000 shares, the 50-year-old billionaire avoided a loss in excess of $750,000, according to government investigators.

Cuban, who was then's 'largest known shareholder,' learned of the future stock offering from the web firm's CEO, and agreed to 'keep the information confidential,' the SEC contends. Though an 'upset and angry' Cuban reportedly told the unnamed CEO, 'Well, now I'm screwed. I can't sell,' the SEC alleges that he, in fact, moved quickly to unload his shares.

Within hours of learning of the stock offering, Cuban allegedly directed his broker to 'sell what you can tonight and just get me out the next day.' The SEC charges that by 'selling his shares prior to the public announcement' of the stock offering, 'Cuban avoided losses in excess of $750,000.'

The SEC lawsuit seeks a court judgment 'finding that Cuban violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws,' a disgorgement of the losses he avoided, and the payment of a civil monetary penalty.

Cuban, who last year appeared as a contestant on ABC's 'Dancing With the Stars,' is currently vying to purchase the Chicago Cubs, having reportedly bid more than $1 billion for the baseball team. (9 pages)