Jurors in Quattrone trial fail to reach verdict

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The Independent Online

A federal judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the trial of Frank Quattrone, one of the leading technology bankers in the US during the Internet boom.

The decision by US District Judge Richard Owen came after jurors said they were deadlocked on all three charges against the former financial star - two counts of obstruction and one of witness tampering.

The mistrial sets the stage for a possible second trial. Federal prosecutors, speaking hypothetically earlier in the trial in a session with the judge, said they might try the case again.

Mr Quattrone, 48, showed no reaction as the mistrial was declared.

He was the head of Credit Suisse First Boston's technology group in 2000.

The case centred on an e-mail written by a subordinate and forwarded by Quattrone to his staff on 5 December, 2000, that encouraged employees to "catch up on file clean-up" by destroying some documents.

Mr Quattrone added a brief endorsement that concluded: "I strongly advise you to follow these procedures."

Federal prosecutors contended that Quattrone was aware at the time that regulators and a federal grand jury were conducting an extensive investigation of CSFB and that he was trying to block it.

The charges carried a potential sentence of 25 years in prison - although Quattrone would have received a much lighter term under federal sentencing guidelines if convicted.

The mistrial came on the sixth day of jury deliberations. Jurors had reported to the judge after just two days that they were sharply divided.

Securities regulators and a federal grand jury were looking into whether CSFB clients paid the bank illegal kickbacks so they could get in on hot new stocks. The investigation was closed in 2001 with no criminal charges filed, and the bank paid $100m to settle related civil charges without admitting wrongdoing.