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SEC Nails Falcone But Allows His Work at LightSquared to Continue

Tue, 08/20/2013 - 11:10am
Ben Munson

The SEC has banned hedge fund billionaire Philip Falcone from the securities industry for five years. Falcone and his Harbinger Capital were slapped with a hefty $18 million penalty as well.

The punishment stems from Falcone’s improper use of $113 million in client funds.

“Falcone and Harbinger engaged in serious misconduct that harmed investors, and their admissions leave no doubt that they violated the federal securities laws,” said Andrew Ceresney, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, in a statement.

Despite the smackdown, Falcone told CNN he intends to continue working on LightSquared and the SEC will reportedly allow it.

Falcone had intended LightSquared to build out a nationwide LTE network, one that could challenge the likes of AT&T and Verizon. But the FCC shut down LightSquared’s deployment plans, citing possible interference with GPS signals.

LightSquared, now in bankruptcy, has filed suit against Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen alleging he is secretly amassing LightSquared’s debt in order to take over the company and nab its wireless spectrum.

Falcone’s SEC troubles loomed heavily in the background of his fight to keep LightSquared alive. As he told CNN, he is happy to “get this behind me.” With his SEC issues settled, Falcone could indeed be able to place more focus on LightSquared and make it difficult for Dish and Ergen to snap it up.

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