British Billionaire Joe Lewis Indicted on US Insider Trading Charge
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British Billionaire Joe Lewis Indicted on US Insider Trading Charge

joe lewis

British billionaire Joe Lewis, who holds ownership of the prestigious Tottenham Hotspur soccer team, is now facing serious criminal charges in New York over allegations of orchestrating a audacious insider trading scheme.

According to prosecutors, Lewis leveraged his access to corporate boardrooms, surreptitiously sharing valuable tips about companies he had invested in with a select group, comprising friends, personal assistants, private pilots, and romantic partners. This allowed them to rake in millions of dollars in profits from the insider information.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams expressed his views on the matter through a video on the X social media platform (formerly Twitter), asserting that Joe Lewis’s substantial wealth rendered such illicit actions unnecessary. Williams went on to allege that Lewis purportedly used inside information to reward his employees and lavish gifts upon his close associates, condemning the behavior as a clear case of corporate corruption, cheating, and a violation of the law.

At 86 years old, Joe Lewis, the founder of Tavistock Group, an investment firm, is now confronted with an uphill legal battle, having been charged with 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy. These alleged crimes are said to span from 2013 to 2021. Attempts to obtain comments from Tavistock and its spokesperson have so far gone unanswered, even outside regular business hours.

With Forbes magazine estimating Joe Lewis’s net worth at an impressive $6.1 billion, the gravity of the charges against one of Britain’s wealthiest individuals cannot be understated.

The U.S. Attorney’s office, under the leadership of Damian Williams, has had a longstanding focus on tackling insider trading, with efforts dating back to 2009 when the crackdown on such illegal practices commenced under his predecessor, Preet Bharara.

The charges leveled against Lewis include allegations of passing confidential nonpublic information about companies like Mirati Therapeutics, Solid Biosciences, and Australian Agricultural Co between 2019 and 2021. Additionally, he stands accused of conspiring from 2013 to 2018 to defraud Mirati, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and investors through the use of shell companies and other deceptive methods to conceal his significant stake, exceeding 20 percent, in the cancer therapy firm.

Prosecutors have revealed that in certain instances of insider trading, Lewis extended loans to recipients of his tips. In October 2019, he reportedly wired $1 million to two pilots to facilitate their purchase of additional Mirati shares. The indictment quoted a text message from one pilot to a friend, stating, “Boss lent Marty and I $500,000 each for this,” implying that Lewis may have had inside information, as he questioned why else their boss would encourage such an investment. Reportedly, both pilots promptly repaid their loans right after Mirati announced favorable results from a clinical trial, leading to a notable 16.7 percent surge in the company’s stock price.

Moreover, Joe Lewis’s financial history includes his notable acquisition of nearly a 10 percent stake in Bear Stearns in 2007, which occurred just before the Wall Street bank narrowly escaped collapse and was acquired by JPMorgan Chase at a significantly discounted price. This particular investment resulted in estimated losses exceeding $1 billion for Lewis.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the case of Joe Lewis remains a high-profile matter, putting the spotlight on the serious repercussions of alleged insider trading and corporate misconduct within the financial world.

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