Regulators drop final charges against

Wall Street regulators have dropped their last remaining charges against Frank Quattrone, the investment banker whose deal-making helped fuel the 1990s dot.com boom but who was accused of corruption by favouring some clients in technology flotations.

The decision means that the former star technology specialist at CSFB has prevailed in each of the three cases brought by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Earlier this year, Mr Quattrone also had his federal conviction for obstruction of justice overturned, and a lifetime ban barring his return to Wall Street was lifted in March.

"Throughout my 23-year career, I have upheld high standards of integrity and professional conduct in my work and complied with the rules and regulations," Mr Quattrone said yesterday. "I am pleased that justice has been done."

The NASD withdrew charges related to "spinning", giving blocks of promising IPO shares to executives in the hope of winning or keeping their companies' banking business.

Mr Quattrone had argued that no NASD rules prohibited the conduct in question at the time. NASD rules governing research analysts' compensation and interactions with bankers and corporate clients were only adopted in May 2002. That was after the dot.com boom turned to bust and after a public outcry over Wall Street's behaviour at the top of the market.

Mr Quattrone said he was concentrating on charitable work rather than plotting a return to banking. He is yet to hear whether he faces another re-trial on federal charges that he obstructed justice by telling employees it was "time to clean up" their files. The offending e-mail - not written by Mr Quattrone, but forwarded by him - came as a grand jury investigated allegations of spinning by CSFB and other banks.

Mr Quattrone was tried twice on two charges of obstruction of justice and one of witness tampering. The first trial in 2003 ended with the jury deadlocked; he was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted on re-trial but jury instructions were flawed and his conviction was thrown out on appeal.

Mr Quattrone's successful flotations included Amazon.com. He earned $120m (£70m) in 2000, when he was seen as an oracle with an eye for the hottest new technology companies.

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