CDR Financial seeks to move muni bid-rigging case to Los Angeles

CDR Financial Products founder David Rubin, facing federal charges of rigging bids in the municipal bond market, asked a judge in New York to transfer the case to Los Angeles so he can care for his wife, who has cancer, and four children at home.

The investment broker and two company executives are charged with conspiring with banks to manipulate bids on contracts with local governments to invest the proceeds of bond issues. The indictment claimed that CDR and its employees, who handled the bidding, chose winners in exchange for kickbacks.

"A trial that of this case in New York would force Mr. Rubin to spend substantial time away from home would jeopardize his wife's health, his children's well-being and his ability to participate in his defense," his lawyer, Laura Hoguet, wrote in a motion filed Dec 15.

Los Angeles-based CDR was the first firm to face charges in the U.S. government's criminal investigation of anticompetitive practices on investment contracts. Three former employees of UBS AG and three former employees of a General Electric Co. unit have also been charged. All have denied wrongdoing.

Prosecutors say the bid-rigging cheated taxpayers from California to Pennsylvania because bond money was invested at below-market rates.

Z. Stewart Wolmark, CDR's former chief financial officer, and Evan Zarefsky, a former vice president, also live in Los Angeles and have children at home. They joined Rubin's motion.

Potential witnesses, including two former CDR employees who have pleaded guilty, live in California, Hoguet wrote in the motion. Potential character witnesses who may testify regarding the defendants' civic and religious activities live in Los Angeles, she said.

Others, like five former employees of Bank of America Corp., don't live in New York. They have given statements to the government regarding alleged kickbacks, Hoguet wrote. They include two former heads of the bank's municipal derivatives group, Phil Murphy and Dean Pinard, whom Rubin's lawyers said they believe live in North Carolina.

In addition, the largest number of municipalities allegedly defrauded, 38, were in California, Hoguet said.

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