In 2013, by the young age of just 25, John Babikian had already established a world renown and globally respected marketing company that serviced fortune 500 companies. During this time-period, Mr. Babikian was on top of the world driving around in a custom Bugatti Veyron and is said to have accumulated a personal net worth estimated at 250 million dollars.
According to court documents and witness testimony, the downfall of John’s career began under the auspices of an ugly divorce. At the time, Mr. Babikian’s wife demanded to receive a $100 million dollar separation settlement which made headlines. In lack of thereof, the now ex-wife decided to submit a series of affidavits claiming foul play to get John’s assets seized by authorities.
According to Christopher Neumann, a former VP at the world’s largest global PR firm Weber Shandwick, “Soon after the divorce proceedings began, Mrs. Babikian hired us to brand John as “The Wolf of Montreal” and get authorities at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agencies involved to investigate him”.
Mr. Neumann testified, “The case involving the SEC eventually came to fruition based on a technicality of John not including a disclaimer at the end of financially related marketing emails he was sending on behalf of clients. This information was known to Mrs. Babikian, and we were instructed to publicize it for the purpose of leverage in her divorce proceedings. Eventually, Mr. Babikian wasn’t required to admit wrongdoing nor found guilty in the case, but Mrs. Babikian was super ecstatically happy when she learned the SEC settled with her now ex-husband to pay a fine of $3.7m for his corporate mistake.”
Despite the SEC settlement being resolved in 2014, it took an additional 8 years of a criminal investigation, which was followed by a covid delayed trial, until a US federal court finally found Mr. Babikian not guilty of all penny stock manipulation related charges.
In the final verdict, presiding Judge Glenn Suddaby of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York wrote, “The court finds Mr. Babikian was not involved directly in the manipulation of stock, nor did he financially gain indirectly from the losses of others.”
The courts reprimanded the prosecution for submitting falsified digital evidence throughout the trial and furthermore scolded the character of multiple witnesses who provided contradicting testimony.
“Almost every prosecution witness contradicted each other on key issues pertaining to Mr. Babikian’s alleged role. For example, several witnesses referenced a meeting that allegedly took place in June of 2012 at the company office headquarters during a corporate party. The witnesses were not employees, rather friends of the ex-wife. They all claimed John was physically present at the party, and personally instructed his marketing team to send promotional emails in effort to manipulate stock” wrote the judge while explaining his decision to fully exonerate Mr. Babikian.
“Several other witnesses, including former employees on behalf of the defense testified that at the same exact date and time of the corporate party, John was overseas in Australia. Most convincing was Mr. Babikian’s passport which was in the hands of the prosecution throughout the entire investigation.”
According to Judge Suddaby, “Mr. Babikian entry and exit stamps show he was not in the country at the annual corporate party. Furthermore, Mr. Babikian provided an official apostilled document signed by the Aussie Authorities confirming he had not exited the Australian continent throughout the period of the entry and exit stamps appearing in his passport. This has convinced the court it was impossible for Mr. Babikian to have attended the corporate summer party or delivered criminal instructions to his staff in person as alleged in the indictment.”
In his final words of acquittal, the judge wrote, “The court was not provided with a single shred of evidence proving Mr. Babikian was involved in the manipulation of penny stock prior to departing the country to Australia, nor during the period of his absence. Also, the forensic investigation into his personal and corporate finances reveal John Babikian never invested any money (nor profited) from the alleged crimes, all of which are important key factors when determining the guilt or innocence of the accused”.
In final words, the judge ordered over $100 million dollars in cash and property seized by authorities to be immediately return to Mr. Babikian.