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Former CSFB banker given 18 months in prison

Frank Quattrone is now contemplating the prospect of 18 months behind bars

(Keystone Archive)

The former star technology banker at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), Frank Quattrone, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison by a court in the United States.

He was also fined $90,000 (SFr113,000) for obstructing a federal investigation into the Swiss investment bank.

US District Judge Richard Owen handed down the sentence to Quattrone, who had stood accused of encouraging CSFB employees to destroy documents before investigators could get to them.

He was convicted in May after being found guilty on two counts of obstruction of justice and one of witness tampering.

Wednesday’s sentencing marks a spectacular fall from grace for the 48-year-old, who was once described as one of the most powerful bankers on Wall Street.

Quattrone, who earned up to $100 million per year at the height of his career, helped manage some of the biggest stock offerings of the dotcom era, including Amazon and Netscape.

The charges against him arose during investigations by US federal authorities into whether the Zurich-based banking group received kickbacks through inflated commissions from hedge funds in exchange for allocations of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).

Email evidence

At issue in Quattrone's trial was whether he hampered the investigations when he endorsed a subordinate's email advising staff that it was "time to clean up those files".

Prosecutors charged that he had urged employees to get rid of old files after being told the bank was under investigation by a grand jury.

Lawyers for Quattrone tried in vain to convince the jury that the banker had been absorbed with personal and company matters when he forwarded the email, and did not realise its significance to the investigation.

The charges were first filed against Quattrone in spring 2003, shortly after he left the bank.

Although it did not admit to any wrongdoing, CSFB paid $100 million in early 2002 to settle federal charges that its brokers engaged in a scheme to share customer profits improperly on profitable IPOs.

Quattrone has made it clear that he intends to appeal against the verdict.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Wednesday's sentencing came four months after Frank Quattrone was found guilty on two counts of obstruction of justice and one of witness tampering.

The former technology banker helped make CSFB one of the world’s leading dealmakers on technology stocks and Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).

Quattrone has vowed to appeal against the sentence.

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