Cuban’s lawyers attack credibility of key witness

DALLAS (AP) — Lawyers for Mark Cuban attacked the credibility of the government’s key witness in the insider-trading lawsuit against the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

Jurors saw video testimony Wednesday from the CEO of Canadian search-engine company Mamma.com Inc. about a key 2004 phone call with Cuban.

The CEO, Guy Faure, said Cuban acknowledged that they would be discussing confidential information, and Faure then described a stock offering that would reduce the value of Cuban’s stake in the company. Cuban, the company’s biggest shareholder, became angry.

“Now I’m screwed. I can’t sell,” Cuban said, according to Faure.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says the comment is a key admission that Cuban knew he couldn’t trade on inside information. But he went ahead and unloaded his 600,000 shares anyway, before the company publicly announced the stock offering. The SEC says Cuban avoided $750,000 in losses, and it wants him to pay the money back plus a penalty.

Cuban’s lawyers used other portions of Faure’s testimony to attempt to undermine the CEO’s credibility. In those excerpts, Faure admitted not swearing other investors to confidentiality, and he was often unable to recall conversations with them.

“I don’t recall exact words of all my phone conversations seven years ago,” Faure said in the video, which was recorded in November 2011 — seven years after the call from Cuban.

Cuban says he never promised not to trade on information he learned from the company, and never uttered the “Now I’m screwed” comment. Cuban was expected to testify, although it was unclear whether that would occur on Wednesday.

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