SEC Reaches $600M Insider Trading Settlement with SAC Capital Advisors-Affiliated Hedge Fund Advisory Firm

Calling it its largest insider trading settlement to date, the Securities and Exchange Commission has settled its securities case with CR Intrinsic Investors LLC, an SAC Capital Advisors-affiliated hedge fund advisory firm, for $600 million. The regulator had sued the CR Intrinsic Investors and portfolio manager Matthew Martoma last year, accusing the latter of gaining access to inside information about an Alzheimer’s drug trial that was being developed by pharmaceutical companies Wyeth and Elan Corp. plc. before the results were released to the public.

The advanced information noted that the drug might be ineffective. This allegedly prompted Martoma to liquidate the position of his funds in both companies’ stocks and take on short positions. Martoma and his funds are said to have yielded $276 million in avoided losses (or profits) from the scam. He is now facing related criminal charges.

Earlier this month, the SEC amended its securities lawsuit, adding SAC and four affiliated hedge funds as relief defendants for allegedly receiving ill-gotten games from the insider trading scheme. According to the regulator’s acting director of enforcement George Canellos, the evidence in this case came from “the earth,” meaning that they were obtained from phone records, trading records, business records, and other information (as opposed to wiretaps).

The defendants resolved the securities case without denying or admitting to the claims. They agreed to pay about $275 million in disgorgement, a $275 million penalty, and $52 million in prejudgment interest. A court, however, must approve the settlement.

US v. Martoma (PDF)

SEC v. CR Intrinsic Investors (PDF)

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