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Report: Broker's E-Mails Studied in Probe

Feb 27, 2003 | AP

A series of e-mail messages from late 2000 reportedly show Frank Quattrone, a star investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston, was told regulators were investigating the firm shortly before he urged subordinates to clear their files.

The existence of the e-mails has been previously reported. But the text of the messages was first disclosed Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said the e-mails detail a Dec. 3 exchange between Quattrone and David Brodsky, at the time an attorney for CSFB, in which Brodsky alerted the banker that federal and industry regulators were investigating the firm's handling of initial public offerings.

The details and exact timing of the e-mails are important because they could become key evidence for prosecutors looking into whether Quattrone obstructed justice in the investigations.

A spokesman for Quattrone, who was placed on administrative leave by CSFB in early February, declined to comment Thursday. The investment banker's lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment.

The e-mails, exchanged over a period of roughly four hours on the afternoon of Dec. 3, were topped by subject lines reading ``PRIVILEGED AND HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL,'' the Journal story said.

In one message, Brodsky told Quattrone that ``there's been an inquiry going on by both the (Securities and Exchange Commission) and the (National Association of Securities Dealers) in our allocation processes in the IPO market. There have been some recent developments that are of extreme concern that I need to speak with you about as soon as possible,'' according to the Journal.

When Quattrone asked for details, Brodsky replied that the company had ``received a federal grand jury subpoena asking for testimony and documents about the IPO allocation process.''

The exchange came one day before another CSFB banker sent out an e-mail to bankers instructing them to clean out their files, a routine at many firms to guard against future lawsuits. Quattrone sent out an e-mail the next day, Dec. 5, strongly urging his colleagues to follow those instructions, the newspaper said.

In a written statement issued Thursday, CSFB noted that its decision to put Quattrone on leave was based on discovery of the Dec. 3 e-mail exchange.

``The discovery of this e-mail exchange raised serious questions both about whether Mr. Quattrone acted appropriately in sending a December 5, 2000 e-mail to employees regarding document retention and about Mr. Quattrone's response to subsequent questions by the Firm about that e-mail,'' the CSFB statement said.


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