Judge drops obstruction charges against Quattrone

Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:00pm EDT

(Adds Quattrone's comments)

NEW YORK Aug 30 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has ordered obstruction charges dropped against Frank Quattrone, a one-time star investment banker whose 2004 criminal conviction was overturned on appeal.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan ordered the charges dropped following the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement the former investment banker and the government entered into a year ago. The order was signed Monday and made public on Wednesday.

Quattrone underwrote some of the biggest initial public offerings during the late-1990s technology stock boom while he was at what was then Credit Suisse First Boston.

In April 2003, federal prosecutors accused him of obstruction of justice, saying he forwarded an e-mail to colleagues in December 2000 suggesting it was "time to clean up those files."

Quattrone said that description of the e-mail was a mischaracterization.

"Quattrone never instructed his team to 'destroy documents,' 'delete e-mails' or 'clean up those files,'" his statement read. "(He) simply encouraged his team to follow a proper company policy that they were already required to follow and that he was required to uphold as a company executive." His first trial ended with a hung jury. He was convicted in a second trial, but an appeals court overturned the conviction. The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan decided not to pursue a third trial, instead entering into the deferred prosecution pact.

As part of the agreement, Quattrone did not admit to any wrongdoing. In a statement, he said the deal also contained no restrictions on his career and no financial or other penalties.

"For more than four years, I fought to clear my name and prove that the accusations against me were without merit," Quattrone said in a statement. "Today, the legal system has rendered its final verdict: I am innocent."

Quattrone said he had not yet made any decisions about the next phase of his career, but remained "very interested in helping companies in the technology sector."

In May, Quattrone was named chairman of the board of the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia declined to comment.

(Reporting by Paritosh Bansal and Martha Graybow)

((Editing by Lisa Von Ahn/Jeffrey Benkoe; 212-393-9461; paritosh.bansal@reuters.com)) Keywords: QUATTRONE CHARGES/

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