Mohammed Ali Rashid allegedly charged his investment advisory clients for his personal expenses, including vacations in Hawaii and Brazil and salon haircuts. He can’t depose the Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers who investigated them because the information he seeks is protected work product, according to a New York federal court opinion.
Rashid sought to depose the people at the SEC with the most knowledge of the investigation and the agency’s evidence, including an assistant director and senior trial counsel, the opinion said. The agency sought a protective order to prevent the depositions, which the court granted.
The persons most likely to have the knowledge sought “would likely be persons directly involved in the prosecution of the case,” the opinion said. The assistant director and senior trial counsel “led the SEC’s pre-complaint investigation” into Rashid, according to the opinion.
The requested depositions “appear to have no substantial purpose” aside from getting a look at the agency’s “case preparation, impressions, legal theories and trial strategy,” the judge said. Rashid didn’t show that he had a substantial need for the information or that he wasn’t able to discover equivalent information by other means, the court said.
Granting a protective order won’t prejudice Rashid because the SEC still has to turn over the names of anyone with information that’s actually discoverable, the opinion said.
Judge P. Kevin Castel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote the opinion.
Greenberg Traurig LLP and Genovese Joblove & Battista PA represented Rashid.
The case is SEC v. Rashid, S.D.N.Y., No. 17-cv-8223, 2/11/19.