British billionaire and Tottenham Hotspur soccer team owner, Joe Lewis, is facing serious criminal charges in New York for allegedly orchestrating a bold insider trading scheme. According to prosecutors, Lewis misused his access to corporate boardrooms, passing confidential information about his investments to friends, personal assistants, private pilots, and romantic partners, allowing them to amass millions in profits.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams expressed his views on the matter through a video on the X social media platform (previously known as Twitter). He asserted that despite Lewis’s considerable wealth, he allegedly resorted to exploiting inside information to reward employees and lavish gifts on friends and partners. Williams strongly condemned this as a classic example of corporate corruption, cheating, and a violation of the law.
The 86-year-old founder of Tavistock Group, an investment firm, now faces 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy, spanning the alleged crimes from 2013 to 2021. Requests for comments from Tavistock and its spokeswoman went unanswered beyond regular business hours.
Forbes magazine has estimated Joe Lewis’s net worth at $6.1 billion, adding to the significance of this case involving one of Britain’s wealthiest individuals.
The U.S. Attorney’s office, under Williams’ leadership, has long been dedicated to tackling insider trading since 2009, when the crackdown on such illegal practices began under his predecessor, Preet Bharara.
Lewis’s charges include accusations of passing material nonpublic information about companies like Mirati Therapeutics, Solid Biosciences, and Australian Agricultural Co from 2019 to 2021. Additionally, he allegedly conspired from 2013 to 2018 to defraud Mirati, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and investors by using shell companies and other deceptive means to hide his more than 20 percent stake in the cancer therapy company.
Prosecutors disclosed that in certain instances, Lewis provided loans to recipients of his insider tips. Notably, in October 2019, he reportedly wired $1 million to two pilots, facilitating their purchase of more Mirati shares. The indictment cited a text message from one pilot to a friend, mentioning that “Boss lent Marty and I $500,000 each for this.” The pilot suspected Lewis possessed inside information, questioning why he would make such an investment otherwise. Both pilots allegedly repaid their loans shortly after Mirati’s announcement of favorable clinical trial results, which caused the company’s stock price to soar by 16.7 percent.
Moreover, Lewis’s history includes acquiring a nearly 10 percent stake in Bear Stearns in 2007, just before the Wall Street bank narrowly escaped collapse and was acquired by JPMorgan Chase at a discounted rate. This investment resulted in estimated losses of over $1 billion for Lewis.
As the legal proceedings continue, the case of Joe Lewis presents a significant moment for the financial world, drawing attention to the serious consequences of alleged insider trading and corporate malpractice.