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Soros not confident of appeal

By Charles Hodson

Soros called the ruling a
Soros called the ruling a "bizarre judgement."

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DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) -- U.S. billionaire financier George Soros will present new evidence to appeal his conviction for insider trading, but he is not confident of winning.

Speaking exclusively to CNN at the World Economic Forum of business and political leaders in Davos, Soros said: "I think they got the facts wrong. There was no case of insider trading."

In December, a Paris court fined Soros $2.2 million after finding him guilty of using inside information to make money on shares in bank Société Générale.

Hungarian-born Soros, 72, was convicted of using insider information of a botched 1988 corporate raid on Société Générale to make $2 million on the company's stock.

The financier-turned-philanthropist has denied the allegations and will appeal the ruling, which he called a "bizarre judgement."

When asked if he was confident of winning an appeal, Soros said: "No, because I've got the same courts that found me guilty in the first place."

However, he will produce "additional evidence because the factual basis" for the court's decision "was false."

Soros has claimed that the information he had was also known by the rest of the market.

"It was well known what was going on and I had no particular information," he told CNN.

Soros went on trial with two other men, Jean-Charles Naouri, former top aide to France's then-Finance Minister Pierre Beregovoy, and Lebanese businessman Samir Traboulsi.

The court cleared Naouri and Traboulsi of any wrongdoing.

"It is a bizarre thing because I was the only one who was found guilty when the whole of the French establishment was involved," Soros said.

Société Générale was privatised in 1987. A year later, its stock price went up during an unsuccessful takeover bid. Soros was accused of having obtained insider information before the abortive corporate raid pushed up the stock price.

The financier said he was buying stock in many companies and had no reason not to include Société Générale. Afterward, he sold the stock, saying he felt the takeover attempt was politically motivated and would not benefit the company.

Soros was reportedly the first American to earn $1 billion in a single year. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930, he emigrated to the United States in 1956 and became a citizen five years later. He made his fortune managing investment funds.

His Soros Foundation carries out educational and civil society programmes in a number of countries, principally in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union but also in Guatemala, Haiti, Mongolia, and southern Africa.

Forbes magazine ranked him in 2002 as the 37th richest person in the world, with an estimated $6.9 billion fortune.


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