A former star investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston was arrested yesterday on charges of witness tampering and obstructing investigations by a federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Frank Quattrone is alleged to have “unlawfully, wilfully and knowingly corruptly influenced, obstructed and impeded the due administration of justice.”
Authorities said Quattrone was in custody.
U.S. attorney James Comey planned an afternoon news conference.
“Frank Quattrone is innocent,” his lawyer, John Keker, said in a statement. “He never obstructed justice.”
Quattrone resigned from CSFB in early March. During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, he was one of the highest-paid figures on Wall St., earning almost $100 million a year and wielding enormous influence at the helm of CSFB’s technology unit.
He presided over lucrative initial public offerings of such companies as Amazon.com and Netscape Communications.
When the tech bubble burst in 2000, regulators began taking a closer look at the firm’s practices.
CSFB paid $100 million in late 2001 to settle accusations that it had charged inflated commissions to some clients in exchange for giving their executives preferential access to shares in initial public offerings.
In late 2002, CSFB agreed to pay another $200 million as part of an industry-wide settlement over conflicts of interest between stock research and banking.
The National Association of Securities Dealers notified Quattrone in January that he faced separate action for his alleged involvement in research conflicts and questionable IPO practices.
Soon thereafter, a series of e-mails surfaced, including a Dec. 5, 2000, message in which he urged staff to “clean up those files” two days after he had been told the company was being investigated.
Quattrone has maintained he did nothing wrong.