BUSINESS
09/30/2011 02:32 pm ET Updated Nov 30, 2011

Mark Cuban charges versus SEC unfounded: SEC watchdog

(Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's inspector general has concluded that Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, was not targeted inappropriately by agency staff in its insider trading probe against him.

The SEC had sued Cuban in 2008, accusing him of selling his 6.3 percent stake in Mamma.com Inc in June 2004 after learning that the Montreal-based search engine company was planning a stock offering that could dilute his stake. It believes the sale helped Cuban avoid more than $750,000 of losses.

In his report, SEC Inspector General David Kotz said there was "insufficient evidence" that SEC enforcement staff engaged in misconduct conducting a probe. He also said there was not enough evidence to suggest the probe was motivated by politics, or that Cuban was targeted because he is high-profile.

"We look forward to presenting our insider trading case against Mr. Cuban in court," SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami said in a Friday statement accompanying the public release of Kotz's report, which is dated August 22.

Lyle Roberts, a lawyer for Cuban, declined immediate comment, saying he had yet to review the report. News of Kotz's conclusions was earlier reported by Reuters.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington, D.C. and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)