In recounting his long debacle with the SEC, Mark Cuban said he didn't take the issue seriously at first because he didn't think he'd done anything wrong. "Then I turn on CNBC, and I'm the headline."
Cuban, once the target of a highly publicized U.S. insider trading probe, met publicly with Christopher Cox, who served as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission when it probed Cuban for insider trading, for the first time on Tuesday. Cox recused himself from the probe at the time.
A jury acquitted Cuban in 2013, and he resolved to bring about reform for the country's top financial regulator.
If the SEC was a business, the only way to salvage it would be to "burn it down and start it from the beginning," Cuban said. "The best steps we can take with the SEC, particularly when it comes to enforcement and insider trading and accounting, is to extract that from the SEC and create a different organization."
Cuban said if the Brady Rule, which compels prosecutors to disclose evidence that is favorable to the defendant, had been in effect at the time, his case would have gone away quickly. Instead, he says he spent eight years and $20 million fighting the claims.
Cox, who was recused from direct involvement in Cuban's case while he was chairman, acknowledged that the SEC needs to reallocate its resources. But he clarified by email that he does not want the enforcement division to lose funding. Rather, instead of funding enforcement as it has in the past, as a direct percentage of the increased funding from Congress, more money should go to other divisions in the SEC, which he says are "starved."
"If we're going against a Mark Cuban then we can't go against somebody else" or address pandemic risks that might be spreading, he said, during the MarketCounsel session. The SEC's rationale is to move these cases as fast as possible, Cox said.