A judge has dismissed an attempt by MassMutual Financial Group to nullify a subpoena from Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin that sought information on the insurance firm's firing of CEO Robert O'Connell.

But Judge Constance Sweeney did not rule on the validity of Galvin's subpoena, the Boston Globe said, and left the door open for MassMutual to refile the petition to void it. MassMutual had argued that Galvin does not have jurisdiction over the matter because MassMutual is not publicly traded and is owned by its policyholders.

Galvin, the state's securities regulator, argued that he was only concerned with the events surrounding O'Connell's firing that directly related to MassMutual's mutual fund unit, Oppenheimer Funds.

O'Connell, MassMutual's CEO of seven years, was fired by the board of directors in June for misconduct and is now facing state allegations that may be followed by criminal charges from Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly. Allegedly, O'Connell engaged in illegal trading, pushed for a company-owed condo in Florida, used company jets for personal trips, and interfered in disciplinary actions against his son and son-in-law.

In addition, MassMutual claims that he cost the company "unwarranted and excessive" severance payments "in connection with personally motivated and retaliatory terminations" of certain employees.

(c) 2005 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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