Financier Ben Wey claimed he was “exonerated” by the government decision Tuesday to drop stock manipulation charges against him in the wake of a judge’s decision suppressing evidence, during a brief news conference outside Manhattan federal court after his ankle bracelet was removed.
“As an American citizen I feel very proud and honored to be exonerated and vindicated after this entire ordeal,” said Wey, who became tabloid fodder in 2015 during a trial in which a Swedish woman who worked for him won an $18 million verdict for sex harassment that was later reduced to $5.6 million.
Wey’s New York Global Group used reverse mergers to help Chinese companies gain access to U.S. trading markets. He was indicted in 2015, but U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in June that an overly broad search warrant allowed an indiscriminate search of his home and workplace in which agents seized prescriptions and family members’ X-rays.
He praised federal prosecutors for deciding to drop the case in the wake of Nathan’s decision and beamed as he displayed his American passport, which he had surrendered when he was charged and was returned on Wednesday.
But he said the prosecution had “devastated” his business and his employees and, pressed by reporters, would not rule out suing over the case and the search, which were authorized under former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
“Everything is on the table, firmly on the table,” said Wey, pressed by reporters about possible litigation.
While prosecutors declined to go forward after Nathan’s ruling, the underlying allegations in the case were never tested. The Securities and Exchange Commission still has a civil suit pending, which Wey’s lawyer said they would continue to contest.
Wey has also sparked controversy for his harsh online attacks on journalists and others he sees are critics. He gave no sign Wednesday he planned to change.
“The First Amendment is our sacred right,” he said. “I believe everybody has his own view or her view to express him or herself as you ladies and gentlemen here. It’s a very happy day.”
Prosecutors have declined to comment.