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Georgia State Code
Title      10
Chapter       5  
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Title 10, Chapter 5, Section 11 (10-5-11)

(a) The commissioner, at his discretion:

(1) May make such public or private investigations within or outside of this state as he deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate this chapter or any rule, regulation, or order under this chapter or to aid in the enforcement of this chapter or in the prescribing of rules and regulations hereunder;

(2) May require or permit any person to file a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise as the commissioner determines, as to all the facts and circumstances concerning the matter to be investigated; and

(3) May publish information concerning any violation of this chapter or any rule, regulation, or order under this chapter.

(b)(1) For the purpose of conducting any investigation as provided in this Code section, the commissioner shall have the power to administer oaths, to call any party to testify under oath at such investigations, to require the attendance of witnesses, to require the production of books, records, and papers, and to take the depositions of witnesses; and for such purposes the commissioner is authorized to issue a subpoena for any witness or a subpoena for the production of documentary evidence. Said subpoenas may be served by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, to the addressee's business mailing address or residential address as shown on the Central Registration Depository or served personally by investigators appointed by the commissioner or shall be directed for service to the sheriff of the county where such witness resides or is found or where the person in custody of any books, records, or papers resides or is found. The fees and mileage of the sheriff, witness, or person shall be paid from the funds in the state treasury for the use of the commissioner in the same manner that other expenses of the commissioner are paid.

(2) The commissioner may issue and apply to enforce subpoenas in this state at the request of a securities agency or administrator of another state if the activities constituting an alleged violation for which the information is sought would be a violation of this chapter if the activities had occurred in this state.

(c) In case of refusal to obey a subpoena issued under any Code section of this chapter to any person, a superior court of appropriate jurisdiction, upon application by the commissioner, may issue to the person an order requiring him to appear before the court to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for refusal to obey the subpoena. Failure to obey a subpoena may be punished by the court as contempt of court.

(d)(1) The commissioner may, with the approval of the Attorney General, issue to any person who has been or may be called to a hearing or other proceeding under this chapter a written order requiring the individual to give testimony or provide other information which he refuses to give or provide on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination. Such order shall be issued only if the commissioner shall find that: (A) The testimony or other information from such individual may be in the public interest; and

(B) Such individual has refused or is likely to refuse to testify or provide other information on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination.

(2) Whenever any witness refuses, on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or provide other information at any hearing or other proceeding under this chapter and the person presiding over the proceeding delivers to the witness a written order issued under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the witness may not refuse to comply with the order on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination; but no testimony or other information compelled under the order as to which the witness could validly assert his privilege against self-incrimination (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against the witness in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, false swearing, giving a false statement to the commissioner pursuant to this chapter, or otherwise failing to comply with the order.

(e) In the case of any investigation conducted under this Code section, the commissioner may hold hearings or he may appoint an investigative agent to conduct the hearings who shall have the same powers and authority in conducting the hearings as are in this Code section granted to the commissioner. The agent shall possess such qualifications as the commissioner may require. A transcript of the testimony and evidence and objections resulting from such hearings shall be taken unless waived in writing by all parties present at the hearings. Copies of the transcript shall be available to all parties present at the hearing upon payment of a reasonable expense of reproducing the transcript. All recommendations of the investigative agent shall be advisory only and shall not have the effect of an order of the commissioner.

(f) In any case where hearings are conducted by an investigative agent, he shall submit to the commissioner a written report, including the transcript of the testimony in evidence (if requested by the commissioner), the findings of the hearing, and a recommendation of the action to be taken by the commissioner. The recommendation of the agent shall be approved, modified, or disapproved by the commissioner. The commissioner may direct an investigative agent to take additional testimony or permit introduction of further documentary evidence.

(g) In addition to any other hearings and investigations which the commissioner is authorized or required by this chapter to hold, the commissioner is also authorized to hold general investigative hearings on his own motion with respect to any matter under this chapter. A general investigative hearing as provided for in this subsection may be conducted by any person designated by the commissioner for that purpose and may, but need not be, transcribed by the commissioner or by any other interested party. No formal action may be taken as a result of such investigative hearing; but the commissioner may take such action as he deems appropriate, based on the information developed in the hearing and on any other information which he may have. (h) To encourage uniform interpretation and administration of this chapter and effective securities and investment adviser regulation and enforcement, the commissioner may cooperate with the securities agencies or administrators of one or more states, Canadian provinces or territories, or another country, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, any self-regulatory organization, any national or international organization of securities officials or agencies, and any governmental law enforcement or regulatory agency. Said cooperation includes, but is not limited to, the following actions:

(1) Making a joint registration examination or investigation;

(2) Holding a joint administrative hearing;

(3) Filing and prosecuting a joint civil or administrative proceeding;

(4) Sharing and exchanging personnel;

(5) Sharing and exchanging information and documents subject to the restrictions of subsection (i) of this Code section; and

(6) Formulating, in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," rules or proposed rules on matters such as statements of policy, guidelines, and interpretative opinions and releases.

(i) The commissioner may disclose information or documents obtained in connection with an investigation under this Code section to the extent provided in this Code section. The commissioner may further disclose such information if disclosure is for the purpose of a civil, administrative, or criminal investigation or proceeding. Any securities agency or law enforcement agency receiving such information or documents must represent that, under the applicable law, protections exist to preserve the integrity, confidentiality, and security of the information.

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