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The SEC Is Investigating Phil Falcone's Harbinger for Possible Market Manipulation

Courtney Comstock, Business Insider
Writer Lisa Falcone and businessman Philip Falcone attend NY TIMES Party at the C5 Resturant at The Royal Ontario Museum.
Vito Amati | WireImage | Getty Images

Regulators are now investigating Harbinger Capital Partners on at least five matters.

In the most recent investigations, the SEC is investigating whether Appaloosa violated market manipulation rules related to unnamed debt securities in 2006-2008, and whether Harbinger violated short selling rules in its trading of three stocks in 2008 (the trader who short sold the stocks is, like a number of Harbinger employees who have leftin the last couple of years, no longer with the company).

Regarding the possible short sale violation, SEC made a similar probeinto David Tepper's Appaloosa. As far as we know, nothing came of it.

As far as the debt securities investigation goes, Reuterssays it started in 2008 and is considered to be fairly far along.

The interesting thing is that the market manipulation investigation centers around the time frame when Harbinger made most of its profits. In 2007, Harbinger returned 119%. In 2008, they had a bad year, down 29.33%. In 2009, Falcone was up 46.55%. In 2010, Falcone was down 13.16% as of November 15th. Its assets have dropped from $26 billion to around $7 billion.

Also, Falcone's Harbinger fund has had to explain itself to investors frequently within the the last year.

They are also investigating whether or not Harbinger should have disclosed to investors that he took a $113 million loanfrom his public company (he paid it back).

Harbinger also let investors know that he settled a $60 million settlement with NACCO Industries. The company alleged that the hedge fund improperly interfered in a 2006 takeover battle and received nonpublic information about a rival's bid, according to the WSJ.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

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