Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

12-Count Indictment Filed against Takeover Speculator

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

12-Count Indictment Filed against Takeover Speculator

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal crusade against securities fraud widened Wednesday with the indictment of Paul A. Bilzerian, a well-known takeover speculator accused of lying to the government and illegally hiding stock in four multimillion-dollar transactions in 1985 and 1986.

The 12-count indictment against the 38-year-old resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., who became head of the defense contractor Singer Co. last February after a $1.06 billion takeover fight, was the latest outgrowth of investigations that indirectly trace back to the Ivan Boesky insider trading scandal.

Hadson Corp. of Oklahoma City bought the HRB Division of Singer for $145 million in July.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani, who has been leading the drive against post-Boesky Wall Street corruption, said the probe of Bilzerian's activities was continuing, an indication that others might be charged. But Giuliani declined to identify anyone else involved.

``We're not sending a message to anyone,'' Giuliani said. ``We've investigated this case thoroughly. We believe there's been a crime.''

Bilzerian immediately denied wrongdoing in a statement issued through his lawyer Arthur Mathews, and blamed the indictment on what he called overzealous prosecutors seizing on the growing concern about corporate takeovers.

``I believe this indictment is the price I am paying for having become publicly identified with takeovers - a business activity concerning which the prosecutors in New York appear to have lost all perspective,'' he said.

A one-time real estate investor who has made runs on several big companies, Bilzerian took control of Singer in a struggle that began after the October 1987 stock market crash, which depressed the price of many companies and made them vulnerable to takeovers. He has since been busy selling pieces of Singer, which is based in Stamford, Conn.

Singer was not among the transactions mentioned in the indictment, which concerned Bilzerian's attempted takeover of Cluett, Peabody & Co.; alleged ownership of 58,000 shares of H.H. Robertson Co.; attempted takeover of Hammermill Paper Co. and alleged ownership of 306,600 shares of Armco Steel. …

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