The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said advisories and hedge funds affiliated with SAC Capital have settled allegations of insider trading in two separate cases, agreeing to pay a total of $616 million.
SAC’s affiliated advisory firm Sigma Capital in New York agreed to settle allegations of insider trading related to Dell for $14 million.
By far the largest settlement involved Stamford-based hedge fund advisory firm CR Intrinsic Investors which will pay about $602 million to settle SEC charges that it participated in an insider trading scheme involving a clinical trial for an Alzheimer’s drug being jointly developed by two pharmaceutical companies.
In its amended complaint, the SEC alleges that insider information was filtered through a trader at CR Intrinsic to the “Portfolio Manager A” of SAC Capital in Stamford. The documents identify Portfolio Manager A as the “owner and founder of SAC Capital and CR Intrinsic.”
Steven A. Cohen is credited as owner and founder of SAC.
However, the SEC noted during a conference call, Cohen has not been named or charged personally. And Bloomberg reported a spokesman for SAC who noted the same thing.
SAC’s official statement said it would “maintain a first rate compliance effort woven into the fabric of the firm.”
The settlement filed today in federal court in Manhattan is the largest ever in an insider trading case, requiring CR Intrinsic – an affiliate of S.A.C. Capital Advisors – to pay $274,972,541 in disgorgement, $51,802,381.22 in prejudgment interest, and a $274,972,541 penalty.
“The historic monetary sanctions against CR Intrinsic and its affiliates are sharp warning that the SEC will hold hedge fund advisory firms and their funds accountable when employees break the law to benefit the firm,” said George S. Canellos, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
Sanjay Wadhwa, Senior Associate Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, added, “A robust culture of compliance and zero tolerance toward employee misconduct can help other firms avoid the severe financial consequences that CR Intrinsic is facing for its misconduct.”
The SEC’s complaint against CR Intrinsic, Martoma, and Dr. Gilman alleged that during phone calls arranged by a New York-based expert network firm for which Dr. Gilman moonlighted as a medical consultant, he tipped Martoma with safety data and eventually details about negative results in the trial about two weeks before they were made public in July 2008. Martoma and CR Intrinsic then caused several hedge funds to sell more than $960 million in Elan and Wyeth securities in a little more than a week.
In an amended complaint filed today, the SEC added S.A.C. Capital Advisors and four hedge funds managed by CR Intrinsic and S.A.C. Capital as relief defendants because they each received ill-gotten gains from the insider trading scheme. These ill-gotten gains are comprised of profits and avoided losses resulting from trades placed in the hedge fund portfolios that CR Intrinsic and S.A.C. Capital managed, and include fees that S.A.C. Capital received as a result of these ill-gotten gains.
The settlement is subject to the approval of Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The settlement would resolve the SEC’s charges against CR Intrinsic and the relief defendants relating to the trades in the securities of Elan and Wyeth between July 21 and July 30, 2008. The settling parties neither admit nor deny the charges. The settlement does not resolve the charges against Martoma, whose case continues in litigation. The court previously entered a consent judgment against Dr. Gilman requiring him to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest, and permanently enjoining him from further violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by Charles D. Riely and Amelia A. Cottrell of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit in New York, and Matthew J. Watkins and Neil Hendelman of the New York Regional Office. The case has been supervised by Sanjay Wadhwa. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).