Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC:US) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers were told by a federal judge to meet to discuss the agency’s subpoenas for documents about an investigation of mortgage-backed securities.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco rejected the SEC’s request for an order compelling the bank, the largest U.S. home lender, to deliver documents it agreed to produce under subpoenas dating from September, according to a court filing yesterday. Beeler said the parties’ lawyers should meet in person, and if that doesn’t work, file a letter to her.
The SEC has said it’s looking into the possibility of fraud by the San Francisco-based company and hasn’t concluded anyone broke the law. Wells Fargo failed to produce subpoenaed documents and should be forced to cooperate with the probe into its sale of almost $60 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities, the agency said in a March 23 filing.
When the regulator asked a U.S. judge to compel delivery of the documents, the matter was referred to Beeler.
“The application falsely accuses Wells Fargo of not cooperating in connection with an investigation by the SEC staff,” the bank said today in an e-mailed statement.
“In fact, before the application was filed, Wells Fargo had made 68 separate document productions of more than 750,000 pages and had responded to the vast majority of the staff’s 96 requests,” it said, adding that the underlying issues lack merit.
Marc Fagel, the head of the SEC’s office in San Francisco, today declined to comment on the court’s ruling or the Wells Fargo statement.
The case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Wells Fargo & Co., 12-80087, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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