SAC Pleads Not Guilty To Insider Trading

Jul 26 2013 | 11:38am ET

SAC Capital Advisors pleaded not guilty to criminal insider-trading charges this morning as it seeks to do what no other major financial firm has ever done: survive an indictment.

At least six SAC lawyers, including its general counsel, Peter Nussbaum, filled the lower Manhattan courtroom to see the indictment against the hedge fund unsealed, and to answer it: "Not guilty," Nussbaum said, to all five counts.

SAC was indicted yesterday, accused of an unprecedented insider-trading scheme that lasted more than a decade and produced "hundreds of millions of dollars" in illicit profits trading on at least 20 different companies. In a parallel civil forfeiture claim, the government is seeking some $10 billion from the hedge fund, more than it will have in assets under management when it finishes paying out redemptions at the end of the year.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called SAC a "veritable magnet for market cheaters," and prosecutor Antonia Apps told U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain that it would turn over a "rather tremendous volume" of documents to the hedge fund, including wiretap recordings, within 30 days.

One of SAC's lawyers, Theodore Wells, said he was "most concerned" to obtain statements given by former SAC employees. Apps said it was not clear which of those statements it would have to produce.

Swain scheduled the next hearing in the case for Sept. 24, to discuss the evidence in the case.

"SAC has never encouraged, promoted or tolerated insider trading and takes its compliance and management obligations seriously," SAC spokesman Jonathan Gasthalter said. "The handful of men who admit they broke the law does not reflect the honesty, integrity and character of the thousands of men and women who have worked at SAC over the past 21 years. SAC will continue to operate as we work through these matters."


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