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Former Star Banker Indicted On Obstruction Charges

May 13, 2003 | AP A former technology banker who became an industry star during the dot-com boom was indicted Monday on charges that he directed employees to destroy documents sought by investigators.

Frank Quattrone, 47, who was highly influential at Credit Suisse First Boston during the tech bubble, is accused of approving a December 2000 e-mail that urged CSFB workers to "catch up on file cleaning" for the holidays.

A federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission were looking into how the company allocated shares of initial public stock offerings. The investigation was closed without charges in 2001.

The indictment, handed up in Manhattan federal court, charges Quattrone with obstructing the grand jury and SEC investigations, plus witness tampering - charges that carry penalties of up to 25 years in prison.

Quattrone lawyer John W. Keker said his client is innocent.

"He is charged with a crime that he did not commit," Keker said. "We will request a speedy trial and we are confident the jury verdict will establish Frank's innocence and reaffirm his honesty and integrity."

On April 23, when prosecutors filed a criminal complaint making the same charges against Quattrone, Keker told reporters the government's evidence was "pretty thin gruel."

At CSFB, Quattrone presided over initial public offerings for companies including Amazon.com and Netscape Communications Corp. He earned nearly $100 million per year in the late 1990s.

But when the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and technology stock prices began to fall, investigators began looking into how IPO shares had been doled out. Quattrone resigned from CSFB earlier this year.

The indictment quotes a Dec. 5, 2000, e-mail from Quattrone to hundreds of workers in CSFB's technology group: "We strongly suggest that before you leave for the holidays, you should catch up on file cleaning."

According to the indictment, another CSFB executive had suggested the language the day before, adding in a note to Quattrone: "Today, it's administrative housekeeping. Tomorrow, it could be improper destruction of evidence."

Prosecutors also said Monday that U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who was to oversee the Quattrone matter, has recused herself from the case. No explanation was given, and no new judge had been assigned.

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