Odd twist of history: Perot insider trader freed hostages

Reza Saleh, the man accused of insider trading in the Dell (DELL) buy-out of Perot Systems (PER), is known as a hero to many.According toThe Wall Street Journal, he played a key role, and risked his life, by freeing two EDS employees held hostage in an Iranian jail. The 1979 rescue is still the stuff of legends, and is the premise of the best-selling book, "On Wings of Eagles," by Ken Follett.

At that time EDS was controlled by Ross Perot, and since then, Saleh has continued to work closely with the Perot family. "He has made many contributions to the various Perot businesses over the years, and the courage he showed as a young man in his early 20s in helping secure the freedom of the EDS executives held captive in Iran was nothing short of miraculous," the Perot family said in a statement released to the press.

However, what Mr. Saleh did 30 years ago is not likely to matter to the SEC, nor should it; he allegedly made $8.6 million based on insider information about the Perot transaction. It may be Saleh's turn to be in prison, but the Perots won't be sending a rescue mission this time.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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