The government's second key witness in the latest hedge fund insider-trading trial testified yesterday that he had passed non-public tips to his boss at Level Global Investors, co-founder Anthony Chiasson.
Spyridion Adondakis, who is cooperating with prosecutors and has already pleaded guilty, told a federal jury in New York that he told Chiasson that he had a contact at another hedge fund who could feed him insider information about Dell Inc. That person was Jesse Tortora, a former Diamondback Capital Management analyst who testified earlier in the trial against his own former boss, Todd Newman.
"I explained to him the full chain of command," Adondakis said.
"How did Mr. Chiasson react?" prosecutor John Zach asked.
"He seemed interested, he wanted to see if we could use this information to make forecasts and to use it to make money," Adondakis replied.
And use it they did, he told the jury. A year later, in 2008, Adondakis said he told Chiasson and another executive at the firm, Greg Brenner, that he knew that Dell's gross margins would be lower than expected.
"Brenner mentioned that if this information was right, it would be the best idea of the firm and it would be a very profitable position for the firm," Adondakis said. He then said that Brenner, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and Chiasson took his analysis to Level Global co-founder David Ganek. Adondakis said he could not hear the content of that conversation, but that Level Global increased its short bet against Dell.
Chiasson later told members of the technology group at Level Global "that we had a large position in Dell, a short position, and it was based on a contact and that we were not to discuss the position outside of the fund."
Ganek has not been accused of any wrongdoing.