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Targets of Securities and Exchange Commission civil suits may face yet another hurdle toward settlement, as demonstrated by the commissioners' rejection this month of a settlement in principle reached between SEC enforcement staff, Philip A. Falcone, and his hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Partners LLC. The commissioners' rejection of the Harbinger settlement, coupled with its recent shift in policy regarding "neither admit nor deny" statements and the federal courts' heightened scrutiny over SEC settlements, suggests that litigants may have a tougher road to settlement than they have in the past.

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