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  Asensio Makes Threat in Effort to Shut Us Down!

 NASD Boots Asensio's Brokerage  (click for details)
 Both Now Expelled from Securities Industry
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  03/18/06  The Elgindy Files (new items 2/07/06; 3/19/06; 3/22/06; 07/14/06; 12/18/07)                              
 05/05/04  Appeals Court Upholds Fraud Verdict Against Asensio
   04/04/04  Asensio Charged Again
 01/11/04  Bill Wexler Update
12/24/03  How Asensio Duped Regulators                                                                            

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He Tries to Silence Us
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NASD Plot Thickens
Is NASD Corrupt?
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Asensio Tries to Shut Us Down

Five years, two months, and five days after the launch of, Manuel Asensio finally did what many long suspected he would.  He tried to silence us.

On February 5, Asensio sent a letter to our web host demanding that the site be shut down.  He also sent the letter to Domains by Proxy, the service that registers the site so that its owner can remain anonymous.

Signed not by Asensio himself, but by an individual we believe to be his new assistant, the letter asserts that the site "contains libelous and slanderous language" and that its contents have "injured Mr. Asensio both professionally and personally."  Then comes the threat:

If you do not immediately cease to provide services to and reveal the entity responsible for making payments to you in exchange for these services, [Asensio] will have no choice but to pursue a legal resolution to this matter.

It's just sooooo Asensio.  And so riddled with errors that you just might wonder what became of those legendary research skills he claims to possess.

You can read his full letter here.  Our response is below.


February 12, 2008

To: Webhost and Registrar
Re:  Manuel Asensio Complaint

We have carefully reviewed Mr. Asensio’s complaint about our website. Although we believe that he has no cause for legal action, we would nonetheless like to address his points of contention. Each allegation (italics) and our response follows.*

1. The site connects Mr. Asensio to convicted criminal Elgindy. Mr. Asensio is mistaken. The site dissociates him from Mr. Elgindy. The following notice has always appeared in the relevant section:

This section is provided solely in response to reader interest.
Its inclusion should not be interpreted as suggesting any
involvement by Manuel Asensio in the Elgindy matter.

2. The site misrepresents Mr. Asensio’s compliance record; he had no customer complaints in 20 years. Mr. Asensio is again mistaken. The site does document a customer complaint. It is not his only case of noncompliance. We show that regulators disciplined him five times before barring him from the brokerage industry. These actions were for failure to comply with rules unrelated to his treatment of customers.

3. The site mischaracterizes the Norman Murphy lawsuit and misrepresents the jury verdict in the CCSI case. Our coverage of both lawsuits is based on court documents provided on the site. We cannot address claims that these documents—including images of the actual jury verdicts, court orders, and court rulings—are false unless Mr. Asensio provides specifics as to what he considers inaccurate.

4. The site repeatedly claims that Mr. Asensio was convicted of fraud. This is not true. We do not use the word convicted in relation to the civil verdicts. To be certain we did not err in this regard, we searched the site. We did not find the words convicted or conviction used in conjunction with his name.

5. The site falsely claims Mr. Asensio improperly used aliases to post on the internet. This claim is entirely proper. Page 4 of his Consent Decree with NASD documents this violation of its rules.

6. The site alleges without evidence that Mr. Asensio’s associates produce his work. This characterization is false.  We offer substantial evidence that, in our view, refutes Mr. Asensio’s claim to be sole author of his reports. We show that he inadvertently admitted as much at deposition.

7. The site incorrectly claims that Mr. Asensio’s brokerage was expelled from the securities industry. The site quotes directly from page 15 of the firm’s NASD/FINRA file, which indicates it was expelled on August 31, 2007.

8. Mr. Asensio’s brokerage was not the subject of a single investigation. The brokerage’s disciplinary file affirms that it was the subject of multiple investigations during its 14 years in business. On page 13, the file indicates that a total of seven regulatory actions were taken against it during this time.

9. Mr. Asensio’s withdrawal of his [personal] NASD membership as well as the brokerage’s withdrawal were not due to adverse regulatory rulings. The objection here is elusive. The site does not claim to know the reasons for these events, although it does venture an opinion as to possible reasons for the brokerage closing.

                              * * * * * *

We have given the complaint careful consideration and found it without merit. Nonetheless, we would like to stress that accuracy is important to us. Mr. Asensio is always welcome to advise us of statements that he believes false. We ask only that he substantiate his position with appropriate documentation. If revisions are in order, we will make them.

Mr. Asensio has been a defendant in a libel suit for 10 years. He must know that neither truthful statements nor opinions constitute libel. In terms of a defamation claim, he must realize that the statute of limitations expired long ago on most of the site content.  This is to say nothing of his public announcement more than five years ago that he had decided against any effort to shut down the site. 

We also note that Mr. Asensio presents himself as a great believer in freedom of expression. He advocates legislation that would insulate him from lawsuits by companies that consider his characteristically biased and often unfair reports to be libelous. He requires all wishing to use to agree to hold that site harmless for its contents. Users must also pledge not to seek's registration information from Domains by Proxy (DBP). Yet he now demands that DBP release the same information about us—and even that our site be shut down. 

From this, it appears that Mr. Asensio feels entitled to deny others the right to share opinions and truthful information while demanding that he be free to publish with impunity. Needless to say, this is rank hypocrisy. We have little doubt that Mr. Asensio knows it.


* We have edited some points in the letter for the purpose of brevity.