U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro named Robert Khuzami, a former prosecutor of white-collar criminals and terrorists, her enforcement chief as she tries to restore confidence in the agency’s ability to police financial markets.
Khuzami, 52, is joining an agency that’s under fire from investors and lawmakers for missing Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Former colleagues and legal opponents describe him as a tough attorney and public servant who keeps calm under pressure.
“People on Wall Street better watch out,” said Anthony Ricco, a New York lawyer who represented a defendant Khuzami helped convict in a trial connected to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. “He is a person who really believes in the public good, and those people often make judgments that make Wall Street cringe.”
He spent 11 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which covers Manhattan. He focused on terrorism cases such as the plot by Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is known as the blind sheik, and others to blow up New York landmarks.