Watchdog: Ex-SEC lawyer Becker should face criminal probe

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 20, 2011 11:48 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Securities and Exchange Commission General Counsel David Becker had a conflict of interest when he handled Bernard Madoff legal matters for the SEC and should be criminally investigated, the agency's watchdog said on Tuesday.

In a scathing new report, SEC Inspector General H. David Kotz said that Becker "participated personally and substantially" in matters that could have "directly impacted his financial position." His report states that he is referring the matter to the U.S. Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.

Kotz's report comes several months after news broke that Becker previously received an inheritance from his mother that included Madoff funds. An SEC ethics counsel cleared him to work on Madoff legal matters including a recommendation on how Madoff's victims should be compensated. Becker left the SEC earlier this year and returned to work for law firm Cleary Gottlieb.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)