A New York state grand jury is reportedly considering evidence against the founder and former chief executive of embattled mutual fund company Strong Financial Corp.
The grand jury, convened by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, has been examining evidence concerning Richard S. Strong's short-term trading activity in his company's mutual funds, the New York Times reported Friday.
The grand jury has been hearing evidence related to Strong for several weeks, the newspaper said, citing unnamed people who had been briefed on the proceedings.
Marc Violette, a spokesman for Spitzer's office, declined comment on Friday's report.
Richard Strong did not immediately return a call by The Associated Press to his home Friday seeking comment.
Company spokesman Drew Wineland, when asked for comment, referred the AP to attorney Stanley Arkin, who did not immediately return a call.
But, speaking with the newspaper, Arkin defended Strong and challenged Spitzer's authority to press his case.
"Our position has been and continues to be that there's no way that there was any crime committed," Arkin told the Times. "There is no way he (Spitzer) has any jurisdiction over Mr. Strong."
Strong and his company have been under investigation by federal and state regulators since last fall, for alleged improper fund trading.
The company, based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., has acknowledged that Richard Strong engaged in some next-day trading of funds in his personal accounts.
Strong, who has denied any wrongdoing, resigned in December as chairman, chief executive and chief investment officer of Strong Financial Corp. He holds an 85 percent stake in the company, which has said it is for sale.