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Enforcement chief leaving SEC

WASHINGTON — Robert Khuzami is leaving the Securities and Exchange Commission after leading the agency’s efforts to penalize the nation’s largest banks for actions that triggered the 2008 financial crisis.

The SEC announced Khuzami’s resignation Wednesday. He was named enforcement director in February 2009, just months after the crisis peaked. In his four years at the helm, he spearheaded investigations that accused banks of misleading investors about risky mortgage securities.

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His efforts drew historic SEC settlements. Goldman Sachs agreed in July 2010 to pay $550 million to settle civil charges — the largest penalties paid by a bank in a fraud case.

The cases related to the financial crisis resulted in charges against about 150 companies and individuals, and $2.68 billion in fines and restitution, the SEC says.

Still, critics have said the penalties were small compared with the banks’ revenues.

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