By Jonathan Stempel (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the convictions of four former Wilmington Trust Co executives accused of hiding the number of distressed loans on the company’s books from regulators after the financial crisis. 2008 World Cup. Former President Robert Harra, Chief Financial Officer David Gibson, Controller Kevyn Rakowski and Chief Credit Officer William North had been accused of underreporting the amount of Wilmington’s “past due” commercial real estate loans to the Fed. Federal and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Prosecutors said the defendants wanted to improve Wilmington’s finances, allowing it to raise $ 273.9 million in a February 2010 stock offering, just over a year after accepting $ 330 million from the government’s bank bailout program. federal. But a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia agreed with the defendants that the reporting rules were ambiguous and that prosecutors were unable to show that only their own View of the rules was objectively reasonable. In overturning the May 2018 convictions, the appeals court ordered the charges of making false statements and certifications to be acquitted, and returned the conspiracy and securities fraud charges to a lower court for possible retrial. “It goes without saying that I am disappointed,” said US Attorney David Weiss in Delaware, adding that the defendants can be tried again. Wilmington was founded by the du Pont family in 1903. M&T Bank Corp (NYSE 🙂 of Buffalo, New York, bought Wilmington in 2011 after credit losses led Wilmington to sell at a bargain price, 46% for below its market value. Rakowski’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, called Tuesday’s decision “vindication” and said “it was never the defendants’ fault that the bank was in trouble.” Harra’s attorney, Lawrence Lustberg, Gibson’s attorney, Kenneth Breen, and North’s attorney, George Hicks, were also pleased with the decision. Wilmington was indicted in 2016 for the loans, becoming the first recipient of federal bailout money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It settled for $ 60 million in 2017. The case is US v. Harra et al, US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, No. 19-1136.