Billionaire funder of left-wing causes George Soros, 81, lost his appeal to have his 2002 insider trading conviction overturned. The European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber refused to consider whether France had violated his rights, reports Bloomberg News.
Paris courts convicted Mr. Soros in 2002 for having used nonpublic information about Societe Generale SA in his investments. Mr. Soros claimed that vague French market regulations were to blame.
As The Guardian reported in 2002, "Société Générale was privatised in 1987. A year later, its stock price went up during an unsuccessful takeover bid. Mr Soros was accused of having obtained insider information before the abortive corporate raid pushed up the stock price." Mr. Soros was forced to pay a $2.93 million fine, which was later reduced.
Mr. Soros's lawyer, Ron Soffer, expressed his dismay with the European Court of Human Rights's decision not to consider overturning the insider trading conviction.
“Mr. Soros continues to maintain that he did not engage in improper trading,” Mr. Soffer said Tuesday.
While Mr. Soros has expressed his dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama, he says he continues to support him. The Democratic Party has benefited substantially from Mr. Soros's financial support. According to a February report by Bloomberg News this year, during the 2004, 2006, and 2008 election cycles, Mr. Soros donated $30 million. Nevertheless, "Democrats say they want him to do more, to counter so-called super-PACs formed by Karl Rove and other Republicans."
Experts say that Mr. Soros will likely focus his political contributions on congressional races because Mr. Obama's reelection effort is likely to be well-funded:
Most of the major progressive donors, such as Soros and Bing, if they do give, are going to give to the committees that have been established to recapture the Congress, said Anthony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. There’s a general sense, among the big progressive donors, that the Obama campaign will be well-funded and where the money is really needed is on Capitol Hill.
The original member of the 1%, Mr. Soros is "reportedly the first American to earn a billion dollars in a single year."