Wednesday, 7 July 2010

SEC Agrees to Pay Former Lawyer $755,000 to Settle Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

It's not every day that Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers see the country's premier securities watchdog agency settling a lawsuit. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has agreed to pay $755,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by an enforcement lawyer. The plaintiff Gary Aguirre, claimed that he was fired by the securities watchdog agency for “aggressively pursuing” an insider trading case that involved hedge fund Pequot Capital Management, and its founder Arthur Samberg.

Aguirre began investigating Pequot and Samberg in 2004, but was fired a year later after disagreements with his superiors about how the case should proceed. According to the Wall Street Journal, Aguirre was terminated from his services after he asked for permission to interview John Mack in connection with the probe. Mack was a senior Wall Street executive who later went on to become CEO of Morgan Stanley. According to Aguirre, Mack received preferential treatment, not just because of his powerful position, but also because of his lawyer.

Aguirre complained to his superior about his inability to interview Mack, and was fired soon after. The investigation into Pequot’s insider trading ended in 2006, without any case being filed.

Aguirre went on to accuse his superiors of misconduct. The agency denied any wrongdoing in the matter, and its investigation arm conducted a thorough probe into the matter. However in May, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an insider trading case against Arthur Samberg and Pequot. Arthur Samberg agreed to pay $28 million to settle allegations that he had engaged in insider trading of Microsoft stock.

The $755,000 that the SEC has now agreed to pay reflect Aguirre‘s pay for the four years and 10 months since was wrongfully terminated. However, the SEC does not admit any wrongdoing through this settlement.

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