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by Mike Caswell
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has asked a federal judge in New York to freeze scores of bank and brokerage accounts connected to Vancouver promoter Steve Bajic, recently charged for helping with the illegal sales of shares in at least 45 companies. The SEC says that it has identified $42-million in illicit trading proceeds from the scheme. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) Most of the related accounts are overseas, but a handful are in the U.S. and Canada.
The request from the SEC comes just days after it filed charges against Mr. Bajic and others. Over a four-year period, he helped insiders unload $35-million worth of stock, the SEC said. Among other things, he and others provided a "layer of disguise," allowing insiders to sell secretly sell their shares, according to the SEC. Mr. Bajic's co-defendants include two other Canadians: Rajesh Taneja and Christopher McKnight.
The proposed asset freeze is contained in a motion and several associated documents that the SEC filed on Jan. 6, 2020. The SEC says that its case against Mr. Bajic and the others is strong, and that it will likely obtain judgments in the tens of millions of dollars. Based on that, an interim order restraining any of the banks and brokerages that hold proceeds from the scheme is appropriate, the SEC contends.
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