Google Doodle Cerebrates Renowned Ophthalmologist Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy’s 100th Birthday

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy is the founder of the renowned Aravind Eye Hospital

New Delhi: 

Google today pays tribute to Dr Govinda Venkataswamy, an ophthalmologist, on his 100th birth anniversary with a doodle.

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, known to friends and patients as Dr. V, is the founder of the renowned Aravind Eye Hospital. Started as a small entity with 11 beds, the hospital has changed the way ailments related to eyes are treated in the country.

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy was born on October 1, 1989 in Tamil Nadu’s Vadamalapuram. At an early age of 30, Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy was permanently crippled by rheumatoid arthritis. However, despite his own health issues, nothing could stop him from what he wanted to do.

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy attended a school in his village where students would write on sand which collected from riverbank as there was no pencil and paper. He then went on to study Chemistry at American College in Madurai. He then earned a degree of M.D. from Stanley Medical College in Madras in 1944.

After passing out of medical school, Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy joined the Indian Army Medical Corps for a career in obstetrics – a branch of medicine related to pregnancy and child birth. However, his career with the Army was short lived as he was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. It was so severe that Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy was bedridden for about a year.

However, he returned to medical school and earned a degree in  ophthalmology in 1951. He learned the procedures of surgery to remove cataract, one of the main causes of blindness.

A blog post on Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy by Google says, “Dr. V could perform 100 surgeries in a day. Addressing the problem of blindness in a holistic fashion, he set up eye camps in rural communities, a rehab center for blind people, and a training program for ophthalmic assistants, personally performing over 100,000 successful eye surgeries.”

In 1973, Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy was conferred the Padmashree award for his outstanding service to the nation. 

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy set up the Aravind Eye Hospital in late 1970s. The hospital was financed by doctors mortgaging their homes and donating own furniture, notes the post by Google. It adds, “Today Aravind Eye Hospital has nearly 4,000 beds performing over 200,000 eye surgeries each year, with 70% of patients paying little or nothing.”

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy died on July 7, 2006 at the age of 87.

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Tesla's SEC deal provides ammunition for U.S. probe, investor lawsuits

Tesla’s SEC deal provides ammunition for U.S. probe, investor lawsuits

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc’s settlement with U.S. regulators will help soothe investors calling for more oversight of Chief Executive Elon Musk, experts said, even as it gives ammunition to short-sellers pursing separate cases and to a probe by the Justice Department.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk unveils a new all-wheel-drive version of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California, U.S., October 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Musk and Tesla will pay $20 million each, bring in two independent directors and have the billionaire step down as board chairman to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that Musk misled investors by tweeting he had financing for a go-private deal.

That settlement must still be approved by a court, and does not end the Justice Department probe disclosed by Tesla into Musk’s tweets or lawsuits by short-sellers and other investors alleging losses and securities law violations.

“The real worry for the company is not the SEC but private actions that follow a settlement like this,” said Charles M. Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “By paying that size fine, it bolsters investors’” claims over stock market losses, he said.

Neither Musk nor Tesla admitted or denied the SEC’s findings as part of the settlement.

Musk settled with the SEC after advisers persuaded him the terms were favorable and a lengthy court fight would not be in the best interest of the company, a person familiar with the deal said. Musk had wanted to personally pay the fine for money-losing Tesla but the SEC rejected that proposal, the person said.

Tesla shares plunged around 14 percent on Friday, the day after the SEC charged Musk with misleading investors, and are down 30 percent since his Aug. 7 tweet saying he was considering taking the company private at $420 a share.

Investor claims could result in substantial settlements in cash or equity, Elson said. An equity settlement could end up diluting Musk’s roughly 19 percent stake in Tesla, further reducing his influence on the board.

Still, Tesla shares could stabilize on Monday on investor relief that the penalties were not higher and that the public face of Tesla will remain in the CEO role under added oversight, analysts said.

Tesla is expected to release third-quarter production this week, and investors are watching to see if it hit targets for the Model 3, a high-volume car. Whether Tesla made a profit likely will not be known until it reports financial results for the quarter.

The settlement disclosed by the SEC on Saturday “is a positive outcome for Elon Musk, Tesla and ultimately shareholders,” wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak, who added he expects Tesla shares to recoup some of their losses from last week.

An expanded board and new chairman offers hope “a true check on Elon will emerge and there will be greater accountability” over Musk’s statements and business targets, Spak added.

Tesla and Musk ended up accepting harsher penalties than the SEC originally proposed to settle the claims, according to the person familiar with the deal. The SEC initially was ready to accept a fine of a few million dollars and Musk’s removal as chairman for two years, but raised its demands after Musk balked at that offer, the person said.

Reporting by Gary McWilliams in Houston and Jan Wolfe in Washington; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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California has a new law: No more all-male boards

California has a new law: No more all-male boards

Accenture CEO: Diversity is critical

Companies headquartered in California can no longer have all-male boards.

That’s according to a new law, enacted Sunday, which requires publicly traded firms in the state to place at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019 — or face a penalty.

It also requires companies with five directors to add two women by the end of 2021, and companies with six or more directors to add at least three more women by the end of the same year.

It’s the first such law on the books in the United States, though similar measures are common in European countries.

The measure was passed by California’s state legislature last month. And it was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday, along with a trove of other bills that look to “protect and support women, children and working families,” the governor’s office said in a release.

A majority of companies in the S&P 500 have at least one woman on their boards, but only about a quarter have more than two, according to a study from PwC.

California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson told The Wall Street Journal last month when the legislation passed that “one-fourth of California’s publicly traded companies still do not have a single woman on their board, despite numerous independent studies that show companies with women on their board are more profitable and productive.”

“With women comprising over half the population and making over 70% of purchasing decisions, their insight is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions and profitability,” she told the outlet.

Some see California’s law as a crucial step toward establishing better parity in corporate leadership.

But setting quotas can be controversial, Vicki W. Kramer, lead author of the landmark 2006 study, “Critical Mass on Corporate Boards,” told CNN last month. Opponents argue that pressure from quotas will lead to unqualified female members and potential discrimination against male candidates.

When quotas are not set, however, companies may fail to diversify their ranks. She points to more “aspirational” legislation in other states, like in Pennsylvania, where a 2017 resolution urged both public and private companies to have a minimum of 30% women on their boards by 2020. But without teeth in the law, Kramer said, better numbers won’t follow.

Kramer said California’s legislation is weak compared to the laws in Norway and other European countries, which require a certain percentage of women on boards. For larger Norwegian companies, the legislation requires that women make up as much as 40% of the board.

CNNMoney (New York) First published September 30, 2018: 6:32 PM ET

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Teen attacked by shark while lobster diving

Shark attack near San Diego injures 13-year-old boy

The boy was attacked while diving for lobsters in waters off Encinitas, California, near San Diego, authorities said.

The boy suffered traumatic injuries to his upper torso and was taken to a hospital, Encinitas lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles told reporters.

Encinitas is about 25 miles north of San Diego.

The attack happened before 7 a.m., about 150 to 200 yards from Beacon’s Beach, Giles said.

Several people were in the water diving for lobsters, he said, because it was the opening of the season for catching the crustaceans. Three good Samaritans heard the boy’s cries and helped bring him ashore using a kayak, Giles said.

Lifeguards had been on duty early Saturday because of two nearby events, and the response to the attack was “very short,” Giles said.

Australian authorities kill 6 sharks after Whitsunday attacks

“The lifeguard was within a quarter-mile of the incident with a lifeguard truck and arrived on scene and started providing first aid right away,” he said. The lifeguard was an emergency medical technician, Giles added.

Paramedics arrived soon after, and the boy was taken to the hospital. He was conscious and talking on the beach, Giles said, as well as on his way to the hospital.

Chad Hammel said he was one of the people in the water who helped.

Hammel said he thought the boy was just excited when he first heard him shouting.

“And then I realized that he was yelling, ‘I got bit! Help, help,’ ” Hammel said.

He didn’t realize the extent of the boy’s injuries until he and a friend put him on their kayak.

“Once we got him on the kayak we could really see what happened,” Hammel said. “And his whole clavicle’s ripped open; you could see the ball and socket joint and everything.”

The beach adivsory is expected to continue until 7 a.m. Monday, “unless there are other shark activities in the area,” Lois Yum, city of Encinitas spokesperson, said in a press release.

Nearby beaches between Ponto Beach and Swami’s Beach will be closed for 48 hours after the attack, Giles said. There has been no shark activity in the area since the attack. One scheduled surf event was canceled.

Giles said there was a nonfatal shark attack earlier this year at Camp Pendleton, north of Encinitas.

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Four in 10 believe allegations against Kavanaugh, three in 10 do not: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Four in 10 believe allegations against Kavanaugh, three in 10 do not: Reuters/Ipsos poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Four in 10 Americans believe sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, while three in 10 do not and the rest do not know, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that split largely along party lines.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS

The poll, released on Sunday, follows an emotionally charged week in Washington, during which Kavanaugh’s once-certain confirmation was jeopardized after three women made allegations against him, including accusations of assault and exposing himself in public in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge nominated to the country’s top court by U.S. President Donald Trump, has denied those allegations. The FBI has opened an investigation after Trump bowed to pressure from moderate Senate Republicans.

The poll found that 42 percent of adults said they believed the accusations, including about the same number of men and women. Thirty-one percent do not believe them and 27 percent said they “don’t know” what to believe.

The responses were divided largely along partisan lines – about two-thirds of Democrats said they believed the allegations and nearly two-thirds of Republicans said they did not.

One of the women accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct, Christine Blasey Ford, told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that when they were teenagers in 1982, Kavanaugh and a friend pushed her into a room and that he held her down and tried to take off her clothes.

Ford said she feared that she would be raped and accidentally killed.

Kavanaugh told the committee afterward that he considered the allegations part of a “calculated and orchestrated political hit” from Democrats who do not want him confirmed. He said he did not know any of the women who have accused him of wrongdoing and he produced calendars from the time that he said exonerated him.

A recent YouGov poll found that the country was split over the testimony that Kavanaugh and Ford presented to the panel, with 41 percent saying that they believed Ford and 35 percent saying they believed Kavanaugh.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, which was conducted after the allegations were publicized, also found that 41 percent of adults opposed Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. That was up about 5 percentage points from a similar poll conducted from Sept. 18-24.

When it came to the allegations of sexual misconduct, the poll found that Americans who are younger, more educated and single were more likely to believe the allegations than those who are older, less educated and married.

The poll was conducted online in English from Sept. 26-30 throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 2,478 American adults, including 983 who identify as Democrats and 818 who identify as Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 2 percentage points.

Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Peter Cooney

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Macedonians vote in referendum on whether to change country's name

Macedonia leader vows to press on with name change despite referendum failure

SKOPJE (Reuters) – Macedonia’s prime minister pledged on Sunday to press on with a vote in parliament to change the country’s name to resolve a decades-old dispute with Greece, despite failing to secure the 50 percent turnout at a referendum required to make it valid.

The proposed name change is part of an agreement reached in June by pro-Western Prime Minister Zoran Zaev with Greece to resolve the dispute over the country’s name, which had prevented Macedonia from joining NATO or the EU.

With 85 percent of votes counted, official turnout was just 36 percent, and election officials made clear there was no chance the threshold would be cleared.

“On this referendum, it is clear that the decision has not been made,” election commission head Oliver Derkoski told reporters.

The people who did vote overwhelmingly backed the name change — more than 90 percent voted yes with 63 percent of polling stations reporting. But that had never been in doubt, since opponents of the change had urged followers not to vote, rather than vote no.

“It is clear that the agreement with Greece has not received the green light from the people,” main nationalist opposition VMRO-DPMNE party leader Hristiajn Mickoski told journalists.

The referendum was itself not legally binding, but lawmakers had pledged to abide by it, and the failure to reach the turnout threshold means opponents can now freely vote against the deal.

The nationalist opposition holds 49 seats in the 120-seat parliament, enough to block the two-thirds majority required to change the constitution.

In an address, Zaev made no mention of the turnout but said the votes of those who had backed the change must be respected. He pledged to hold a vote in parliament on the name change, and call an early election if lawmakers failed to enact it.

“I am determined to take Macedonia into the European Union and NATO,” Zaev said. He spoke again later in the evening, along similar lines: “It is time to support European Macedonia.”

Macedonia’s PM Zoran Zaev, his wife Zorica and his son Dushko cast their ballot for the referendum in Macedonia on changing the country’s name that would open the way for it to join NATO and the European Union in Strumica, Macedonia September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski


The Greek foreign ministry said it respected the will of the people of the country, which it refers to by the provisional name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The referendum passed judgment on the agreement with Greece reached in June, under which Macedonia would change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. Greece, which has its own province called Macedonia, maintains that its northern neighbor’s name represents a claim on its territory.

Because of the dispute, Greece has vetoed Macedonia’s entrance into NATO and the EU. While polls have long showed that a vast majority of Macedonians want to join NATO and the EU, nationalist opponents of the name change argued that it undermined the ethnic identity of Macedonia’s Slavic majority.

The question on the referendum ballot read: “Are you for NATO and EU membership with acceptance of the agreement with Greece”.

Supporters of the name change argued that it was a price worth paying to pursue admission into bodies such as the EU and NATO.

“I came today to vote for the future of the country, for young people in Macedonia so they can be live freely under the umbrella of the European Union because it means safer lives for all of us,” said Olivera Georgijevska, 79, in Skopje.

Slideshow (11 Images)

But opponents said the name change represented national humiliation.

“We are for NATO and EU, but we want to join with our heads up, not through the service door,” said Vladimir Kavadarkov, who backed the referendum boycott. “We are a poor country, but we do have dignity.”

Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou in Athens; Editing by Peter Graff

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Next battle in war over Kavanaugh: FBI probe

Next battle in war over Kavanaugh: FBI probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. senators expressed concern on Sunday over reports the White House was working with Republicans to narrow the scope of an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

FILE PHOTO: Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

President Donald Trump bowed to pressure from moderate Senate Republicans on Friday and ordered the probe after Christine Blasey Ford, a California university professor, detailed her allegations at a Senate hearing that Kavanaugh assaulted her in 1982 when the two were teenagers in high school.

The stunning reversal capped two weeks of allegations, followed by furious denials, that roiled prospects for Trump’s nominee, a conservative federal appeals court judge once expected to sail through Senate confirmation for the lifetime appointment to the top U.S. court.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s accusation, as well as those of two other women that emerged afterward.

Republicans, who are trying to retain control of the U.S. Congress in November elections, are seeking to balance their desire to have a conservative judge on the Supreme Court with sensitivity in how they handle the sexual misconduct allegations amid the reverberations of the #MeToo movement.

It did not take long, however, for the FBI probe itself to become an object of partisan divide.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the White House had defined the parameters of the probe for the FBI, and that the investigation would start off with interviews with only four people.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

NBC News, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal previously reported that the White House was constraining the investigation, prompting Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to express concern.

“The White House should not be allowed to micromanage an FBI investigation,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Betraying commitment to a real investigation, Republicans apparently are trying to cripple it with a sham, check-the-box set of interviews. What are they hiding?” Senator Richard Blumenthal said in a Twitter post.

The White House denied it was trying to control the probe, which the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Friday “would be limited to current credible allegations” and wrapped up within a week.

“We’re staying out of the way” and letting the FBI do their job,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

But the White House made clear there would be limits to the probe. “It’s not meant to be a fishing expedition,” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump vowed on Saturday that the FBI could interview “whoever they deem appropriate.” On Sunday, he criticized Democrats for expressing concerns about the length and scope of the probe.

“For them, it will never be enough!” he wrote on Twitter.

Christine Blasey Ford reacts as she speaks. Michael Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS


The FBI will question Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when both were students at Yale University, the White House official told Reuters.

It will also question Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh who Ford said witnessed the assault, and Leland Keyser and P.J. Smyth, who she said were at the gathering.

A third accuser, Julie Swetnick, was not on the initial list of witnesses to be interviewed.

Senate Republicans compiled the list of four witnesses, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell shared it with the White House, the official and another source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the White House asked the FBI to share its findings after the initial interviews and that Trump and his advisers would then decide whether the accusations should be investigated further.

Neither the FBI nor a Judiciary Committee representative would comment on the probe.

Senator Susan Collins, who was among a handful of Republican moderates who had pushed for the investigation, said in an email: “I am confident that the FBI will follow up on any leads that result from the interviews.”

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said it would not unlawful for the White House to restrict the investigation’s scope. “The FBI is under the executive branch so the president ultimately has authority to control some of what goes on,” he said.

But Tobias said FBI agents were usually allowed to act independently and that it would be a “clear conflict of interest” for White House officials involved in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to interfere with the FBI’s investigation.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and John Walcott; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe and Patrick Rucker in Washington and Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Peter Cooney

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Macedonia name referendum fails to reach turnout threshold: election commission

Macedonia name referendum fails to reach turnout threshold: election commission

SKOPJE (Reuters) – A referendum to change the name of Macedonia failed to secure the 50 percent turnout required to make the vote valid, the head of the election commission said on Sunday.

A man casts his ballot for the referendum in Macedonia on changing the country’s name that would open the way for it to join NATO and the European Union in Skopje, Macedonia September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

“On this referendum it is clear that the decision has not been made,” election commission head Oliver Derkoski told reporters.

Reporting by Kole Casule and Ivana Sekularac

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SEC’s focus on U.S. corporate bosses pays off with Musk settlement

SEC’s focus on U.S. corporate bosses pays off with Musk settlement

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A high-profile settlement with Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk exemplifies a recent push by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go after executives and not just their companies, securities law experts said.

FILE PHOTO: The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hangs on the wall at SEC headquarters in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

In the last week, the SEC announced charges or penalties against eight corporate officials at six companies, including Tesla. The SEC pursued each on different grounds, but securities lawyers said they highlight a shift to an emphasis on personal wrongdoing that has accelerated under Jay Clayton, an appointee of U.S. President Donald Trump who has served as SEC chairman since May 2017.

“Clayton is focused on holding individuals liable and not just corporate entities,” said Mary Hansen, co-chair of the white collar defense and corporate investigations practice at Drinker Biddle, who worked in the SEC’s enforcement division for eight years.

“The public wants to see our law enforcement, whether it be civil or criminal, hold those individuals responsible. That’s what is driving this focus on individual liability.”

The SEC brought action last week against the former president and chief financial officer of LendingClub Asset Management, Renaud Laplanche and Carrie Dolan, and the former CEO and CFO of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA.O), Gregory Wasson and Wade Miquelon.

In Tesla’s case, the SEC fined Musk $20 million and forced him to step down as chairman to settle charges he committed securities fraud in tweets saying he was considering taking the electric carmaker private. Tesla itself was also fined $20 million.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk reveals the Tesla Energy Powerwall Home Battery during an event in Hawthorne, California, U.S., April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo

“Holding individuals accountable is important and an effective means of deterrence,” Clayton, a former corporate lawyer at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, said in statement on Saturday. Some Democratic lawmakers had expressed concerns during Clayton’s confirmation process that his ties to Wall Street would create conflicts and weaken oversight.

In 2016, 73 percent of the SEC’s standalone actions involved charges against one or more individuals, according to its own data. That rose to 80 percent in the six months after Clayton took over.


The SEC’s focus on personal culpability has roots in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Few Wall Street executives were criminally prosecuted for their involvement, triggering calls by lawmakers and the media to hold more individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing.

Proving individual wrongdoing and malicious intent is more difficult and resource-intensive than identifying compliance lapses at companies, legal experts said, explaining the SEC’s previous reluctance to pursue such cases.

“There is a terrible deterrent effect if you lose because it lets people know you can just fight off the regulators. That’s a bad message to the markets,” said Minor Myers, a professor at Brooklyn Law School and expert on corporate governance.

But political support from both Republicans and Democrats to go after individuals has emboldened the SEC.

Despite their traditional allegiance to the corporate world, Republicans have supported charges against executives, looking to uphold individual accountability and protect big employers and public company shareholders.

And Democrats have been hungry for prosecutions of those who they consider to be the corrupt fat cats of corporate America.

To be sure, pursuing individuals remains a risky legal strategy for the SEC. With more to lose, including large disgorgements, fines and lifetime bans, executives are more likely to fight back in court, sucking up SEC resources.

The SEC suffered a high-profile defeat in the insider trading case of flamboyant billionaire Mark Cuban in 2013 when he was cleared by a Texas jury of using a private tip to avoid a big loss on his 2004 sale of internet company shares.

One of the lawyers Musk tapped to defend himself against the SEC, Latham & Watkins LLP’s Christopher Clark, also advised Cuban on his defense.

But as the SEC scores more legal wins and settlements such as one the with Musk, its enforcement officers feel emboldened to pursue even more cases against individuals, legal experts said.

“There is a huge appetite for going after people at the top of the pyramid. Those are the people you want to deter. Also, going after CEOs who have engaged in wrongdoing is a way for the SEC to generate a lot of political capital,” said Myers.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York and Michelle Price in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Meredith Mazzilli

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