An arbitration panel has cleared Saratoga investment manager Vishwas Godbole of conspiring to conceal millions of dollars in losses that slammed a hedge fund run by his son during the financial meltdown.

The finding ends a legal wrangle that began over losses incurred in 2008 by Opulent Lite, a small San Francisco hedge fund that catered to Silicon Valley professionals.

In a lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court, more than 50 investors accused Opulent Lite's manager, Neil Godbole, and his father, Vishwas, who operates a separate Opulent Fund, of hiding the losses from them for almost a year.

The lawsuit was referred to arbitration in 2010. In a decision last year that is just now coming to light, a panel of arbitrators awarded damages against Neil Godbole, but found "no tangible or credible evidence" that Vishwas Godbole was involved in managing his son's fund or concealing its losses.

The arbitrators also concluded that the misreporting of losses "was inadvertent and unintentional and was caused in part by the then existing volatile bear market."

In December and January, the investors dropped their claims and dismissed the lawsuit, with no monetary payment from the funds or their operators, according to court documents. In return, the elder Godbole waived attorney's fees.

"If I only had the opportunity to explain, we could have avoided this sad episode in the first place," Vishwas Godbole said. "It's always better to talk."

The arbitrators also denied a complaint against Charles Schwab, which held funds for some investors.

Calls to several investors who sued the two funds were not returned. Their lawyer was unavailable.

After Opulent Lite collapsed in 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined Neil Godbole $40,000 for hiding the losses and barred from the investment advising business for five years. There was no SEC action against the elder Godbole or his fund.

Contact Pete Carey at 408-920-5419. Follow him on Twitter.com/petecarey.