- The Washington Times - Friday, April 16, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — Former investment banking star Frank Quattrone did not intend to impede regulatory investigators when he instructed employees to clean out their files, his lawyer told jurors yesterday on the first day of his retrial on obstruction charges.

A dozen new jurors listened attentively as defense attorney Jan Little cast her bespectacled client in a soft light, introducing the man with the bushy black mustache and saying he had committed no crime.

The retrial follows another jury’s deadlock on the same charges last fall. In opening statements yesterday, lawyers on both sides reiterated many of the same themes as the first time around.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Peikin accused the “powerful and influential” Mr. Quattrone of trying to persuade hundreds of subordinates at Credit Suisse First Boston to destroy files and records as investigators closed in.

“This case is about one man’s effort to obstruct justice and destroy evidence,” Mr. Peikin said. “This case is about document destruction.”

He said Mr. Quattrone, 48, was aware that investigators were scrutinizing the activities of the company’s Global Technology Group, which he led when he urged hundreds of CSFB employees to “clean out their files.”

He was referring to an e-mail Mr. Quattrone sent on Dec. 5, 2000, urging employees to destroy letters, memos, contracts and notes related to deals the company had worked on.

The e-mail was a reminder of a policy the company had to rid itself of unnecessary paperwork after investment deals were completed.

But the prosecutor said employees, especially “a very senior and important executive” such as Mr. Quattrone, knew that the documents should never be destroyed if an investigation was underway or the company was subject to a lawsuit.

By December 2000, Mr. Peikin said, the company was being investigated by the National Association of Securities Dealers — a private securities industry watchdog group — as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a federal grand jury.

The probes did not result in criminal charges, except for two counts of obstruction of justice and a count of witness tampering brought against Mr. Quattrone.

Mr. Peikin said Mr. Quattrone was motivated by a knowledge that the technology group he headed was dependent on lucrative launches of new companies in the stock market and that his salary was dependent on those deals continuing.

On Mr. Quattrone’s behalf, Miss Little narrowed the evidence to what she said “this trial is about” — a one-sentence e-mail Mr. Quattrone sent to employees as a reply to an e-mail from a subordinate suggesting everyone clean out files to comply with bank policies.

She said Mr. Quattrone was kept in the dark about the various investigations and was led to believe they dealt with other CSFB departments, except for requests related to banking deals his unit had worked on. Those records were preserved, she said.

She said that regardless what lawyers or others at the company knew about the probes, “what Mr. Quattrone knew was not the same thing and indeed was much less.”

She accused CSFB lawyers of withholding information from her client.

After the jury deadlocked on Mr. Quattrone’s innocence last fall, some jurors said they were leaning toward conviction on the three counts against him.

In that trial, Mr. Quattrone said the e-mail urging subordinates to “catch up on file cleaning” for the holidays was merely following bank policy requiring some destruction of documents as a normal part of business.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide