Wednesday, March 12, 2003

ImClone's Waksal agrees to fine, ban

By Erin McClam
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Samuel Waksal, the ImClone Systems founder at the center of an insider-trading scandal, has agreed to an $800,000 fine and a lifetime ban on leading a public company.

The deal announced Tuesday is a partial settlement of civil charges filed against Waksal by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said it is still investigating the former biotechnology executive.

Waksal still faces jail time and fines from criminal charges - from his guilty plea to securities fraud charge involving ImClone stock trading and his admission to dodging $1.2 million in sales tax on fine art. His criminal sentencing is May 29.

The SEC claims Waksal was tipped off before the government announced a disappointing decision on ImClone's cancer drug Erbitux, then tried to sell 80,000 shares of the company and told his daughter to sell all of her ImClone stock.

Home-decorating maven Martha Stewart, a Waksal friend, is under investigation for her sale of almost 4,000 ImClone shares Dec. 27, 2001 - the day before the FDA made its announcement, and the day after the SEC says Waksal was tipped.

Stewart has maintained that she had a standing order to sell the stock if it dropped below $60.

The deal with securities regulators bars Waksal from ever serving as an officer or director of any public company.

His $804,367 fine from the SEC covers his profits from ImClone options trading after the tip and the losses his daughter avoided when she sold before ImClone shares dropped in value. The settlement is subject to a judge's approval.

The SEC could impose additional penalties later.

Still, Waksal's attorneys portrayed the settlement in a positive light - as one fewer legal headache for the 55-year-old former ImClone chief.

" The SEC said the settlement amounted to neither an admission nor a denial by Waksal of the charges filed by regulators.

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