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Former Tech Investment Star Pleads Not Guilty

Frank Quattrone, who headed a CSFB unit, is accused of obstruction and witness tampering.

May 28, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Frank Quattrone, the former Silicon Valley investment banking star, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

Quattrone, who headed Credit Suisse First Boston's Global Technology Group and once reported $100 million in annual compensation, was indicted this month.

Federal prosecutors allege that he directed employees to destroy documents subpoenaed by a federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC was investigating how CSFB allocated shares of hot initial public stock offerings in the late 1990s.

The 47-year-old Quattrone could face a maximum prison term of 25 years and fines totaling $750,000 if convicted of all charges. He is the first Wall Street figure to face criminal charges in the scandals that have erupted since the tech bubble burst three years ago.

Quattrone appeared relaxed through the proceeding in the federal courtroom in Lower Manhattan. Quattrone stood before Judge Richard Owen, saying he understood the charges, and then entered a plea of not guilty on all counts.

Owen set a tentative trial date of Sept. 29.

Quattrone declined to comment after the hearing.

The government alleges that Quattrone on Dec. 4, 2000 -- a day after learning that a federal grand jury had issued subpoenas seeking documents and testimony from CSFB -- authorized a colleague to send an e-mail to members of the technology group instructing them to "catch up on file cleaning" by destroying documents related to the IPOs.

The next day, Quattrone followed up with an e-mail reminder, according to the indictment.

Defense lawyers have said there is no evidence that Quattrone had seen subpoenas related to the IPO investigation when he sent the e-mail.

Quattrone, of Menlo Park, Calif., led one of the most lucrative operations in the history of Wall Street and was at the center of CSFB's technology stock underwriting business. The man known for his bushy mustache and tastes for jazz and karaoke once generated so much revenue and buzz for CSFB that he had his own press team.

Quattrone first became a banking star at Morgan Stanley, helping bring such firms as Cisco Systems Inc. and AOL Time Warner Inc. unit Netscape Communications Corp. to market. He moved to Deutsche Bank in 1996 and then to CSFB in 1998.

He resigned from CSFB on March 4 under intense pressure.

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