U.S.-Quattrone deal reported

August 19, 2006|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK --Frank P. Quattrone, the Silicon Valley banker who helped drive the 1990s boom in technology, has reached a deal with federal prosecutors that will allow him to avoid a third criminal trial on obstruction charges and resume a career in finance, people briefed on the negotiations said yesterday.

Quattrone will enter into a deferred prosecution agreement that will impose no penalty if he does not violate any laws in the next several years, said these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because a court has not yet formally approved the settlement. There is no admission of wrongdoing by Quattrone in the settlement, they said.

For federal prosecutors who had once sought to portray Quattrone as a symbol of Wall Street greed and manipulation, the settlement is a significant retreat. The case had been the most prominent prosecution of a Wall Street figure since that of Michael R. Milken's conviction on securities charges in 1990.

The agreement is expected to be submitted to the Manhattan federal court Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Manhattan declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Quattrone.

Quattrone, who as an investment banker led the initial public offerings of companies such as Amazon.com and Cisco Systems, was convicted in May 2004 of obstruction of justice as a result of endorsing a colleague's e-mail message in December 2000 that urged his staff to "clean up those files." An earlier trial on the same charges resulted in a deadlocked jury and was declared a mistrial.

But in March, a federal appeals court overturned the 2004 conviction. A few days later, the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked its lifetime ban on Quattrone from the securities industry. And in June, NASD, the brokerage industry's regulator, dropped its charges against him.

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