Huge SAC Settlement OKed—With A Caveat

Apr 16 2013 | 1:57pm ET

A federal judge has given provisional approval to SAC Capital Advisors' record $602 million insider-trading settlement.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero yesterday assented to the Securities and Exchange Commission settlement. But Marrero, who last month postponed a decision on the deal, said SAC would not have to pay the money until a federal appeals court rules on whether district court judges can reject settlements in which defendants do not admit or deny wrongdoing.

"The most prudent course the court sees open to it would be to approve the settlement subject to a condition that it would become final upon a definitive determination in the Citigroup appeal that district courts lack authority to reject such settlements on the basis of reservations about the 'neither admit nor deny' provision," Marrero wrote.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals is considering the SEC's appeal of U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff's 2011 rejection of a $285 million settlement with Citigroup because the bank was not forced to admit guilt. The appeals court has said that the SEC and Citi have a "strong likelihood of success" in that case, with a ruling expected within months.

Marrero had put off a decision on the SAC settlement, which covers the alleged insider-trading by former portfolio manager Mathew Martoma, saying he was concerned about the impact of the appeals court ruling. A smaller settlement between SAC and SEC was approved earlier this month.

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