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Grassley: Bring Cohen before Congress

In light of the federal indictments against SAC Capital announced Thursday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said that he would want to see founder Steven A. Cohen testify before Congress.

"The answer is simply yes," he said. "I would."

The Iowa Republican also said that he was "very happy" with the targeting of insider trading on Wall Street.

SAC Capital Advisors is charged with wire fraud and four counts of securities fraud; prosecutors allege the crimes were carried out from 1999 through at least 2010.

(Read more: SAC Capital Advisors indicted by a federal grand jury)

On CNBC's "Fast Money," Grassley said that he would like to review the penalties attached to such alleged crimes.

"I think we have to deal with it in Congress," he said. "Should this be the cost of doing business? Because some of these big firms, regardless of talking of billions or hundreds of millions, it might not be enough if it's just the cost of doing business — to do wrongdoing and then pay for it."


Asked whether he wanted to see SAC Capital forced to shut down, the Iowa Republican responded diplomatically.

"Maybe I should say yes, but I'm not going to say yes because I'm a legislator," he said. "We pass laws. And then what I'm doing in investigating is what you call oversight to see that the other branch of government faithfully executes the laws.

"So, I think at this point I'm going to leave it up to the executive branch, and I'm going to be a critic. I'm going to oversee it. We're going to make sure that they're doing the right thing. But what you're asking me about today is a step in the right direction, and I think I better let the legal process take its course."

(Read more: SEC pins charges on SAC Capital's Cohen)

"Well, I don't think it's just one company," he said. "I think there's been an attitude and bureaucracy, and I wouldn't want to say it's just in this administration – it could've been in other administrations – that somehow you shouldn't touch the so-called big fish on Wall Street."

Grallsey said that there was "evidence" of this the last time he had an opportunity to question Attorney General Eric Holder.

"I said, 'We've been hearing that you don't really want to prosecute in a criminal way big companies or big individuals because it could upset the whole financial system of the United States, and that you have been consulting with certain quote-unquote experts. And do you do this?'" Grassley said.

"And he, very candidly, said, 'Yes, they do. They do have that fear.' Maybe a lot of people have been getting off scot-free that should've been charged previously because of this, so I'm very happy to see what the Justice Department is doing in regard to SAC. And the reason for that is, maybe this is a change of environment.

"But at least they're taking a necessary step if they think that there's wrongdoing."

Earlier, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a press conference that SAC was "a magnet for market cheaters" and that the firm had "a tremendous tolerance for questionable conduct."

In a statement, SAC said it "has never encouraged, promoted or tolerated insider trading and takes its compliance and management obligations seriously."

(Watch video: SAC responds to indictment)

It went on, "The handful of men who admit they broke the law does not reflect the honesty,integrity and character of the thousands of men and women who have worked at SAC over the past 21 years. We will continue to operate as we work through these matters."

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro. The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.

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