WASHINGTON, June 14 /U.S. Newswire/ — Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today reacted to the upholding of billionaire George Soros’ conviction of insider stock trading by France’s highest court, meaning Soros has no further appeals.
Flaherty said, “This affirmation of Soros’ criminal conviction adds to the doubts about his credibility and business ethics.”
During October 2004, Soros undertook an anti-Bush media and speaking tour to swing states. In Harrisburg, Pa., on Oct. 19, Flaherty asked Soros how he could come to Pennsylvania, “where corporate scandals have cost people their jobs,” to tell working people how to vote in light of his conviction. Soros denied that he was convicted, and instead attacked NLPC as “Orwellian.” Flaherty followed up by asking why Soros had been fined $2 million, if he had not been convicted. Soros claimed he had not been fined. ( For transcript, go to http://www.nlpc.org/view.asp?action=viewArticle&aid=691 )
Soros apparently misled the media and the audience of 200 people. Numerous news organizations in the U.S. and Europe had reported that Soros was convicted of insider trading in December 2002 and fined $2.2 million. Furthermore, Soros had previously admitted that he was convicted. In a Sept. 12, 2003 interview on the PBS show “Now With Bill Moyers,” Soros told reporter David Brancaccio, “I was found guilty.”
Soros’ contention in Harrisburg that he had not been convicted was apparently based on the fact that the case was under appeal. In France, a suspect is technically considered innocent until appeals are exhausted. Flaherty added, “For Soros, there are no more appeals. There are no more fig leaves to hide behind. His conviction stands.”
Soros apparently failed to report significant expenditures related to his anti-Bush tour, as required. On Jan. 18, 2005, NLPC filed a formal Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), alleging extensive apparent violations by Soros of the Federal Election Campaign Act. ( http://www.nlpc.org/pdfs/SorosFEC1-18-05.PDF ). The Complaint is pending.
NLPC promotes ethics in public life through research, education and legal action. The group sponsors the Government Integrity Project.