SAC Facing Second SEC Probe, Focus On Expert Networks

Jun 2 2011 | 3:27pm ET

SAC Capital Advisors is the subject of not one, but two Securities and Exchange Commission insider-trading investigations.

The regulator, which is looking into SAC's trades in MedImmune Inc. shares before and after the announcement of that company's acquisition by AstraZenenca, is also investigating the hedge fund's use of expert networks, The New York Times reports. Two former SAC traders have pleaded guilty to criminal charges as part of the Justice Department's crackdown on expert networks.

Earlier this week, it emerged that instant message conversations between employees of SAC and employees at Primary Global Research—the expert network at the center of the Justice probe—are among the mountains of evidence investigators have produced in those cases.

Neither the $14 billion hedge fund nor any of its current employees have been accused of any wrongdoing. But several former employees have been implicated and pleaded guilty in insider-trading cases, including both the Galleon Group case and that focused on expert networks; in addition, former SAC healthcare fund manager Joseph Skowron has been charged with insider-trading at FrontPoint Partners. SAC has also faced two other SEC probes over the past three years.

In addition, federal prosecutors are looking into trades made by firm founder Steven Cohen, and congressional investigators are probing 20 trades made by the firm, ostensibly as part of their oversight of the SEC.

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