The New York TimesA.P. IndexMay 24, 2002  

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Lawyer: Accused Man Knew of Attacks


Filed at 11:31 p.m. ET

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- An Egyptian-born financial analyst charged in a nationwide stock swindle may have known about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and tried to profit from them, a federal prosecutor said Friday.

But a judge disregarded the suggestion and the analyst's lawyer said it was ``smacking of racial profiling.''

Amr I. ``Tony'' Elgindy telephoned his broker on Sept. 10 and asked him to liquidate his children's $300,000 trust account, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Breen told a federal judge at Elgindy's detention hearing.

``He made a comment predicting the market would drop to 3,000'' at a time when the Dow Jones stock index was at 9,600, Breen said. ``Perhaps Mr. Elgindy had pre-knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks. Instead of trying to report it, he tried to profit from it.''

Elgindy, 34, of Encinitas, was ordered held without bond on charges of racketeering, extortion and obstruction of justice. Before issuing the order, Magistrate Judge John Houston said he was going to ``disregard'' the suggestion that Elgindy had anything to do with the terror attacks.

Elgindy did not speak during the hourlong hearing.

His attorney, Jeanne Knight, said Elgindy did call his broker to make a trade, but the timing was coincidental and the market had been dropping for months. The broker was unable to liquidate the trust account until Sept. 18, she added.

``It seems like the government, for lack of factual evidence, has decided to smear my client with terrorist innuendoes,'' Knight said. ``This is smacking of racial profiling.''

Breen made his accusations as prosecutors tried to convince Houston that Elgindy was a flight risk and should be denied bail.

Elgindy, one of five defendants in the case, was arrested May 22 on an indictment issued by a grand jury in New York.

In exchange for money, two FBI agents used confidential databases to provide Elgindy and other co-conspirators with information on publicly traded companies, the indictment said.

Elgindy allegedly spread negative information about the companies on his Web site and to subscribers of his e-mail newsletter,, while betting that the companies' stock would go down.

In one case, a former FBI agent searched the agency's confidential National Crime Information Center database and discovered the criminal history of a top executive for a company called Nuclear Solutions, the indictment said. The same day, Elgindy began sending e-mail calling the executive ``a convicted felon,'' then sold the company's stock short, the papers said.

Earlier this week, FBI agents raided Elgindy's $2.2 million mansion. Inside, agents said, they found tens of thousands of dollars in cash and gold coins. The government is seeking to seize Elgindy's fleet of cars, including a Rolls-Royce, a Jaguar and a Humvee.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 65 years in prison.

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