Gary Bettman's fall seems to be picking up where his spring left off, he has a smouldering brush fire with the Russians taking hold of the earth and now he finds one of his A list franchise holders has found that justice isn't blind and isn't particularly interested in deals as well.
U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney has delivered a written advisory that in his opinion, "The court cannot accept a plea agreement that gives the impression that justice is for sale."
This will be of supreme interest to Henry Samueli and his lawyers, as it is the Anaheim Ducks owner that is the subject of Judge Carney's concerns and hesitations to travel down the plea bargain road.
Samueli, has already entered a guilty plea under the plea agreement to lying to investigators for the Securities and Exchange Commission, for his role in a stock options backdating case that saw the company Broadcom have to write down some 2.2 billion dollars in profits.
The original deal would have seen Samueli receive probation rather a prison sentence for his role in the backdating case, but with the Judge deciding that the five years' probation and $12-million (U.S.) in payments by Samueli would erode the public's trust in the judicial system, all bets it seems are off.
His lawyers have asked for time to work out a more acceptable plea bargain, or if need be withdraw from the agreement and we assume prepare for court.
The Judge has set a date of September 29th for another hearing on the matter, and while Samueli has been removed from the operations of the Ducks due to his legal troubles, it will still cast a rather large shadow over the Ducks training camp and the start of the NHL season.
Keeping the NHL on the legal and business pages, sections it might wish to stay off of should Mr. Bettman want to try and preserve the image of his league.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge Monday rejected a plea deal that had called for Broadcom Corp. co-founder and Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli to get probation rather than prison for his role in a stock options backdating case that led to the largest corporate writedown of its kind.
U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney wrote that the deal calling for five years' probation and $12-million (U.S.) in payments by Samueli would erode the public's trust in the judicial system.
"The court cannot accept a plea agreement that gives the impression that justice is for sale," Carney wrote.
Samueli has pleaded guilty under the plea agreement to lying to investigators for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Broadcom, an Irvine, Calif.-based telecommunications chip maker, was ultimately forced to write down $2.2 billion in profits after the options backdating was uncovered.
Prosecutors and Samueli asked the judge for time to renegotiate their plea deal or to allow Samueli to withdraw from the agreement. Carney set another hearing for Sept. 29.
Samueli struck the plea deal with prosecutors this year in a larger criminal probe into stock-option backdating at Broadcom.
Backdating involves retroactively setting a stock option's exercise price to a low point in the stock's value, boosting the profits that are attained when the shares are sold.
It is legal when properly accounted for, but if companies fail to properly disclose the move, profits can be overstated and taxes underpaid.