Former Bear Hedge Fund Manager Faces Insider-Trading Trial

Jul 16 2009 | 9:08am ET

Much to his chagrin, former Bear Stearns hedge fund manager Ralph Cioffi will have to stand trial for insider trading.

Cioffi, who managed two Bear credit funds that were some of the earliest victims of the credit crisis and whose failure triggered Bear’s collapse, lost his bid to have the insider-trading charges against him tossed. He and his former chief operating officer, Matthew Tannin, have been accused of misleading investors in the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Master Fund and a more highly-levered sister fund. The funds’ implosion cost investors $1.6 billion and Bear its independence. Tannin has not been charged with insider-trading, which could get Tannin an extra 20 years in prison if he is convicted.

Cioffi had argued was not duty-bound to report any moves he made with his own money to the hedge funds’ clients. Prosecutors say that Cioffi withdrew $2 million from one of the hedge funds just before it collapsed.

“Charging a hedge fund manager with insider-trading is unprecedented” in such a matter, Cioffi’s lawyer told U.S. District Judge Frederic Block in Brooklyn, N.Y. But Block was unmoved.

“Let’s wait for the trial,” he said.

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