A unanimous federal appeals panel in Manhattan on Wednesday overturned an order requiring the defendants in the sprawling Galleon securities fraud case to turn over to the Securities and Exchange Commission approximately 18,000 wiretapped conversations they had been given by prosecutors in a parallel criminal prosecution.

Judge Gerard E. Lynch of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, writing for the panel, concluded that Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who is handling the SEC’s civil disgorgement proceeding against Galleon Group, had “clearly exceeded” his jurisdiction “by ordering the disclosure of thousands of conversations involving hundreds of parties, prior to any ruling on the legality of the wiretaps and without limiting the disclosure to relevant conversations.”

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