Western armour struggles against Russian defences
A British billionaire pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to orchestrating a “brazen” insider trading scheme by passing information about companies he invested in to friends, private pilots and a former lover.
A majority of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team is owned by Lewis’ family trust. He entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Valerie Figueredo in Manhattan.
Lewis will be released on $300 million bond secured by his yacht and private aircraft, according to prosecutor Nicolas Roos.
Patrick O’Connor and Bryan Waugh, two of Lewis’ pilots, pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges after being accused of illegally profiting from Lewis’ tips. A bail of $250,000 was set for each of them.
According to Forbes magazine, Lewis founded the investment firm Tavistock Group and is worth $6.1 billion. When he was arraigned, he wore a gray suit and was not handcuffed.
The lawyer for his client, David Zornow, said the prosecutors’ actions were an “egregious error,” and claimed his client traveled to the United States voluntarily to defend himself.
After the hearing, O’Connor and Waugh’s attorneys declined to comment.
“This is an unrelated legal matter, so we have no comment.” said a Tottenham spokesperson.
Lewis loaned each pilot $500,000 and encouraged them to buy stock in an oncology company before its clinical results were released in 2019.
Indictment says O’Connor texted his friend that he thought “the boss has inside information.”
Mirati’s stock price rose 16.7% in one day after its positive results were announced, and Lewis’ loans were repaid by both pilots.
In wiring Lewis the repayment, Waugh indicated it was a “loan repayment for MRTX.”
For alleged crimes from 2013 to 2021, Lewis faces 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy. He could theoretically spend decades behind bars.
Lewis controlled board seats at several companies, deputized employees to serve on boards, and obtained inside information he shared with others.
There was no need for all of this,” Damian Williams, the U.S. Manhattan U.S. Attorney, said. He is a wealthy man, Joe Lewis.”
Under his predecessor, Preet Bharara, Williams’ office began cracking down on insider trading in 2009.
Both O’Connor and Waugh, who live in New York and Virginia, are charged with securities fraud and conspiracy.