Securities Law

SEC Won't Allow Some Civil Defendants to Settle Without Admitting the Allegations

The Securities and Exchange Commission is changing its policy regarding defendants that settle civil violations without admitting or denying the allegations.

Now defendants will no longer be able to use the “neither admit nor deny” language if they have already been convicted of the same conduct on the criminal side, report the Associated Press, Reuters and the New York Times.

However, civil defendants may still settle cases without admitting wrongdoing when they have not been convicted or admitted to criminal conduct.

The Times spoke to securities experts, who differed over the impact of the change announced on Friday. Some said it will not affect most SEC cases and was just a tweaking of policy. But Duke law professor James Cox said it was important because it is a change in policy addressing concerns recently raised by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff had criticized the “neither admit nor deny” language in November when he refused to approve an SEC settlement with Citigroup. In that case, though, there are no criminal charges and the policy change would not affect the case.

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