NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for a Wall Street firm founder arrested on securities fraud charges said Tuesday he's not sure his client can get a fair trial in New York after publicity about a sexual harassment trial.
Attorney David Siegal told a Manhattan judge that lawyers might request a change of venue in the securities fraud case announced last week against Benjamin Wey. Earlier this year, a jury found Wey should pay $18 million to a Swedish woman he once employed.
Siegal said "media attention" might make it impossible for Wey, 43, of Manhattan, to be viewed objectively by jurors.
New York tabloids and others produced numerous accounts of the harassment trial that resulted in the married financier being ordered to pay millions of dollars to 25-year-old Hanna Bouveng, of Vetlanda, Sweden.
Bouveng had accused Wey of using his power as a Wall Street executive to coerce her into four sexual encounters before firing her after discovering she had a boyfriend. She also maintained he stalked her afterward and defamed her by posting articles on his blog accusing her of being a "street walker," a "loose woman" and an extortionist.
Last week, Wey was arrested on charges that he made tens of millions of dollars from 2007 through 2011 by manipulating the stock prices of companies small enough that he could gain a secret financial interest through transactions between Chinese companies and U.S. shell companies. Prosecutors said he manipulated stocks so he could sell them at artificially inflated prices.
Wey pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday.
Wey is the founder of New York Global Group, which has described itself on its website as a U.S. and Asia-based advisory, venture capital and private equity investment group with access to about $1 billion in capital.
He remains free on bail.