According to the WSJ, Reza Saleh, whom the SEC identified as the individual behind the Perot option insider trading scheme, is an actual hero.
Three decades ago, Mr. Saleh played a vital role in a bold mission to rescue two Perot employees who were being held hostage in an Iranian jail, according to people familiar with that effort. The rescue was the basis of the book "On Wings of Eagles," by Ken Follett.
"It would not have happened without him," said Ralph Boulware, a former employee of Electronic Data Systems, Mr. Perot's company at the time, who was part of the rescue team assembled by the Texas billionaire.
Mr. Boulware said Mr. Saleh, an Iranian employee of EDS at the time, led the mob that broke into the prison where the two EDS employees were being held, then helped shepherd them on a harrowing trip through Iran to escape over the Turkish border.
"Unsolicited and with no promise of reward, this guy put his life on the line and didn't flinch," Mr. Boulware said.
Furthermore, it turns out Mr. Saleh has been a close family friend of the Perot clan for many years:
A Perot family spokesman said Thursday that Mr. Perot and his son, who is chairman of Perot Systems, were "both saddened and stunned by this whole turn of events. Reza has been a close friend of the family for the last three decades, and it troubles them deeply to learn of these allegations."
Mr. Saleh's ties to Mr. Perot, who founded EDS, a computer services firm, in the early 1960s and later founded Perot Systems, go back decades.
According to Dallas County deed records, Mr. Perot sold a Dallas condominium to Mr. Saleh in January 1985. On the same day that transaction was recorded, Mr. Saleh resold the condo to another couple. Neither sale price could be determined.
Parkcentral and Perot Systems are independent, but there are ties between the two firms. The two share an address in Plano, Texas, and Steven L. Blasnik, Parkcentral's president, has been a director of Perot Systems since 1994. Another Perot Systems director, Thomas Meurer, was until last year a trustee of the Perot Family Trusts, which control Parkcentral, according to court filings.
The SEC complaint says Mr. Saleh had access to two work email accounts, including one at Perot Systems, and had contact with senior officials at Perot Systems. The complaint says Mr. Saleh was in contact with a director who isn't named but whom people familiar with the matter identified as Mr. Blasnik.
Mr. Saleh asked Mr. Blasnik about the planned takeover before it was public, according to the complaint. Then, after the SEC contacted the firm, the two men spoke again and Mr. Saleh said he traded based on information he gleaned from pieces he put together, but that no person told him about the deal, the complaint says. Mr. Blasnik hasn't been accused of wrongdoing. Mr. Blasnik couldn't be reached for comment.
It is somewhat sad that a man who, if the above account is true, had shown such courage in the past, ended up committing this rather glaring mistake. What can you do: the man takes risks, and has saved lives thanks to that. Yet it is no surprise that the SEC is unafraid to go after even one-time heroes, while completely ignoring the obviously daily malfeasance by much less worthy individuals throughout the financial oligarchy.
Until we see Schapiro's lawsuit which highlights the obvious perpetrators in the Bank Of America/Merrill criminal scandal by name, the SEC can be sure to keep receiving tips on how to do its job courtesy of a pro bono Zero Hedge. Ultimately, we may consider simply bidding for an outsourcing contract on all of the SEC's relevant enforcement activities, which we will then take to the general public. We are very curious to see what the outcome of that action would end up being.