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Tottenham Owner Joe Lewis Surrenders in Insider Trading Case

Tottenham Owner Joe Lewis Surrenders in Insider Trading Case
Joe Lewis Photographer: Catherine Ivill/AMA/Corbis/Getty Images

British billionaire Joe Lewis, the owner of Tottenham Hotspur soccer club, turned himself in to authorities to face charges in the highest profile US insider trading case this year. 

The 86-year-old surrendered to federal authorities in Manhattan on Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office said.

The Tavistock Group founder is accused of abusing his access to corporate boardrooms to pass on inside information to his friends, staff on board his superyacht, personal pilots and romantic interests. His private jet pilots, Patrick O’Connor, 66, and Bryan ‘Marty’ Waugh, 64, have also been charged criminally, prosecutors said in a statement.

The Tottenham Hotspur soccer club owner did this as a way to “compensate his employees or shower gifts on his friends and lovers,” Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said on Tuesday night.

Lewis faces more than a dozen counts of securities fraud for alleged “brazen” conduct that spanned about eight years. He is expected to appear in court in New York later in the day.

His attorney, David M. Zornow, said Lewis, who is based in the Bahamas, had come to the US voluntarily to answer the “ill-conceived charges.” The Securities and Exchange Commission also announced an insider trading lawsuit against Lewis, his two private pilots and a former girlfriend.

“We allege that, for years, Joe Lewis abused his access to corporate boardrooms and repeatedly provided inside information to his romantic partners, his personal assistants, his friends, and his pilots,” Williams said. “Those folks then traded on that inside information – and made millions of dollars in the stock market – because, thanks to Lewis, those bets were a sure thing.”

Lewis, who has a net worth of $6.6 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is the latest figure to be swept up in an insider-trading crackdown led by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Last month, prosecutors announced criminal charges against 10 people in four separate cases, including investors in a special acquisition company poised to take Donald Trump’s fledgling media company public.

But Lewis is the highest-profile investor the office has prosecuted for insider trading this year. The businessman’s firm has stakes in more than 200 businesses, with investments across real estate, hotels and sports, in 13 countries.

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