British billionaire and Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis exits the United States Courthouse in Manhattan, following his appearance on insider trading charges, in New York City, U.S., July 26, 2023.
Amr Alfiky | Reuters
British billionaire Joseph Lewis pleaded guilty Wednesday in New York federal court to securities fraud related to insider trading.
Lewis’ company, Broad Bay Ltd., also pleaded guilty in the same proceeding to participating in a scheme to hide his ownership of shares of a pharmaceutical company by making false filings and misleading financial statements.
Broad Bay will pay $50 million in penalties as part of its plea.
“Lewis abused inside information he gained through his access to corporate boardrooms to tip off his friends, employees, and romantic interests,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, whose office prosecuted the case.
“Now, he will pay the price with a federal conviction, the prospect of time in prison, and the largest financial penalty for insider trading in a decade.”
Lewis, 86, is the principal owner of the private investment organization Tavistock Group, and through a family trust controls a majority ownership stake in the English Premier League soccer team Tottenham Hotspur.
He was arrested in July in the case, where prosecutors said he had loaned two of his private aircraft pilots $500,000 and encouraged them to buy stock shares in the cancer drug company Mirati Therapeutics in advance of the firm issuing favorable results from a clinical trial.
He faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison on the charges he pleaded guilty to in U.S. District Court in Manhattan: one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and two counts of securities fraud.
“Today’s guilty pleas once again confirm — as I said in announcing the charges against Joseph Lewis just six months ago – the law applies to everyone, no matter who you are or how much wealth you have,” said Williams.
Lewis’ spokesman, in a statement, said, “Today, Joe Lewis acknowledged his conduct in connection with a number of stock trades by individuals close to him. “
“Mr. Lewis did not engage in improper trading in his own accounts. HIs conduct should be viewed in the context of Mr. Lewis’ long life of accomplishment and integrity,” the spokesman said.
“Soon to be 87, Mr. Lewis is deeply sorry, embarrassed, and apologizes to the Court, his family, and all those who have come to rely on him.”
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