Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was cleared by a Texas jury of insider trading on Oct. 16. Cuban was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission using a private tip to avoid a big loss on his 2004 sale of Mamma.com shares.
The jury in federal district court in Dallas found that the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to prove several key elements of its case, including that Cuban traded on nonpublic information.
The nine-member jury deliberated for about four hours. The trial spanned three weeks.
The SEC accused Cuban of using inside information to sell $7.9 million of stock in Mamma.com Inc. after he learned confidentially of a stock offering that would send the share price down. The agency wanted Cuban to repay $750,000 in losses that he avoided, plus pay a penalty. It was a civil lawsuit, so the basketball team owner and regular on the ABC reality show ``Shark Tank'' didn't face criminal charges.
Cuban, 55, testified that he never agreed to keep information about the stock deal private and told the company that he would sell his shares.
The SEC sued Cuban in 2008, more than four years after he sold his stake in Mamma.com, a search engine company that was based in Canada. The company's CEO testified by video that Cuban agreed not to disclose information the CEO told him in 2004 about a pending stock offering that would lessen the value of Cuban's 6 percent stake in the company.
The CEO said that Cuban, the company's largest shareholder, acknowledged that he couldn't sell his shares on the news. He sold them a few hours later, however, before the company announced the stock offering to the public.
Following the verdict, Cuban lashed out at the U.S. government and lead prosecutor Jan Folena after the verdict, saying the government had tried to bully him.
"Jan Folena, who represents the United States of America, stood up there and lied," an angry Cuban told reporters after the nine-member jury read its decision.
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world and I'm glad I could stand up to them," he said.