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Prosecutors knock down Frank’s pals

Oct
9
2003

Editor’s Note:This post originally appeared as a news story in The New York Post.

It was the first day of defense arguments, but government prosecutors — not attorneys for disgraced banking star Frank Quattrone — carried the day.

In questioning two witness called by Quattrone’s attorneys, U.S. Attorney Scott Anders got both men to concede key parts of the government’s argument that Quattrone obstructed justice when he urged his employees to “clean out” their files in December 2000.

Former Credit Suisse First Boston banker Richard Char was reduced to a series of increasingly quiet “yes” agreements with Anders as he was cross-examined yesterday morning.

His former colleague, John Hodge, head of the bank’s corporate finance department also had a tough time on the stand and at one point had to be prompted by Judge Richard Owen on the proper way to respond to questions.

Both men said, under questioning, that they did not need to rely on others to tell them how to follow the policy; that CSFB’s written documents relied on individual bankers to police themselves.

Both men’s names were the first to appear on the now famous “time to clean out those files” e-mail sent to CSFB tech group employees on Dec. 4, 2000, days before news of various investigations against the bank became public.

An endorsement by Quattrone of that first e-mail message became public in January and led to Quattrone’s suspension from the bank and his eventually indictment on obstruction-of-justice charges.

Char said he drafted the note because he was worried about the liability the bank might have if it were sued. Char also said he was not joking when, at the end of a draft e-mail message, he warned of the consequences of not following the bank’s document policy.

“Today, it’s administrative housekeeping,”Char wrote. “In January, it could be improper destruction of evidence.”

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