Spurs owner Lewis pleads not guilty to US insider trading charges

spurs owner lewis pleads not guilty to us insider trading charges

The British billionaire owner of Premier League side Tottenham, Joe Lewis, pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges Wednesday in a US federal court.

The 86-year-old Bahamas-based Lewis earlier traveled to the United States where he surrendered to authorities in New York.

Lewis is accused of furnishing employees and lovers with inside information for years in a “brazen” scheme between 2013 and 2021 that raked in millions of dollars.

The Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, announced on Tuesday that Lewis had been indicted along with two co-conspirators.

Lewis, the principal owner of the Tavistock Group private investment firm, denied all 19 counts in the Manhattan federal court and was released on bail, the prosecutor’s office confirmed to AFP.

Lewis’s attorney, David Zornow, said the US government had made “an egregious error in judgment” in charging his client.

“Mr Lewis has come to the US voluntarily to answer these ill-conceived charges, and we will defend him vigorously in court,” he said in a statement emailed to AFP.

The prosecutors allege that for years Lewis “abused his access to corporate board rooms and repeatedly provided inside information to his romantic partners, his personal assistants, his private pilots and his friends.”

“Those folks then traded on that inside information and made millions of dollars in the stock market, because thanks to Lewis those bets were a sure thing,” Williams said.

The attorney alleges that Lewis passed on the inside information as a way of compensating employees or giving gifts to friends, describing the scheme as “classic corporate corruption.”

Lewis has been charged with 16 counts of securities fraud, the most serious of which carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, and three conspiracy counts, which carry a maximum sentence of five years.

– ‘False filings’ –

His two alleged co-conspirators, Patrick O’Connor, 66, and Bryan Waugh, 64, are two pilots employed by Lewis to fly his private aircraft.

The prosecution says the pair made millions of dollars on the stock market thanks to the alleged illegal tips provided by Lewis.

Stock tips provided by Lewis included confidential information about upcoming favorable test results for biochemical companies, according to prosecutors.

The 29-page indictment alleges that in 2019 Lewis lent his two associates $500,000 each so that they could buy Mirati Therapeutics stock before the public release of the clinical results.

O’Connor allegedly texted a friend to buy the stock, telling them that he thought “the Boss has inside info.”

Lewis is also accused of conspiring with others to hide his share ownership in Mirati through false filings and misleading statements.

Lewis is reported to be one of Britain’s richest men with a fortune that Forbes puts at $6 billion, building his reputation as a currency speculator in the 1980s and early 1990s.

His holding company ENIC bought a controlling interest in Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in 2001 from then-owner Alan Sugar, another prominent British tycoon, for $22 million.

Lewis officially seeded control of the club last year, according to British financial records, and his stake was formally handed to a family trust.

A spokesperson for Tottenham said: “This is a legal matter unconnected with the club and as such we have no comment.”

Authored by Afp via Breitbart July 26th 2023