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Leniency sought for banker convicted of insider trading

May 27, 2008|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — A former Credit Suisse investment banker convicted in a multimillion-dollar insider trading plot should receive minimal jail time at sentencing this week rather than the "extremely severe" eight years or more recommended by a probation officer, his lawyers say.

Hafiz Muhammad Zubair Naseem, 37, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday for his conviction on one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and 28 counts of insider trading.

In court papers submitted late Friday, lawyers for the Pakistan native complained that a probation officer had recommended a prison sentence of 8 to 10 years for the man held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York since his February conviction.

The lawyers asked Judge Robert P. Patterson to "impose a fairer sentence than the extremely severe one suggested by the Probation Office."

The papers said a sentence of eight years or more "would be unduly harsh in a case where the defendant received no financial gain and where his prolonged absence would devastate a family."

Naseem was charged last year when authorities said his tips to Ajaz Rahim, who was the head of investment banking at Faysal Bank in Pakistan, enabled Rahim to make more than $7 million in profit.

Rahim has been charged with acting on inside information from Naseem, but he remains a fugitive in the case.

Prosecutors say Naseem, of Rye Brook, N.Y., gave Rahim tips while he worked in the Global Energy Group at the New York offices of Credit Suisse Securities USA.

Naseem's lawyers urged leniency in part because Naseem was needed to care for a daughter with cerebral palsy and a mother with epilepsy, they said.

"Mr. Naseem's remarkable ability to stay outwardly strong in the face of adversity has caused his wife, his children and, to varying degrees, his parents and other relatives, to rely on him for some or all of their emotional and financial well-being," the lawyers wrote.

Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, had no comment.

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