Chiasson, Newman Source Settles With SEC

Apr 24 2014 | 1:54pm ET

A source of insider information to an alleged “corrupt circle” of hedge-fund traders has reached a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chris Choi, a former employee of Nvidia Corp., passed information about the technology company to a group of hedge fund managers and analysts who traded in illicit information. The tips eventually filtered their way up to Level Global Investors co-founder Anthony Chiasson and Diamondback Capital Management portfolio manager Todd Newman, who were convicted of illegally trading Nvidia shares.

Choi has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing. But he will pay $30,000 to settle civil allegations levered by the SEC. Choi did not admit or deny wrongdoing.

According to prosecutors, Choi shared his tips with a friend, a former Altera Corp. executive Hyung Lim. Lim then told Whittier Trust Co.’s Danny Kuo, who in turn passed the tips on to Chiasson’s and Newman’s analysts. Both Lim and Kuo have pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Chiasson and Newman have argued that they did not know that Choi and another alleged tipster received a benefit for passing on the confidential information. Lawyers for the two argued at their appeal this week that, as “downstream tippees,” they are not criminally liable for insider trading.

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