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14 charged in Wall St insider trading probe

Law enforcement officials in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 announced charges against 14 people in a widening probe into the largest ever alleged hedge-fund insider trading scheme on Wall Street.

US Attorney Preet Bharara and New York's assistant FBI director Joseph Demarest said the accused took part in insider trading schemes that "generated more than 20 million dollars in illegal profits."

They included hedge fund hedge fund, in finance, a highly speculative, largely unregulated investment device. Originating in the 1950s, the funds "hedge" by offsetting "short" positions (borrowing a security and then selling it at a higher price before repaying the lender) against "long"  managers and trading firm executives, lawyers and corporate insiders, the prosecutor and FBI officer said in a statement.

Of the 14, eight were arrested early Thursday, while a ninth was being sought, and later released on bail. Five other defendants had already been charged and have pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to insider trading crimes.

The FBI sweep was linked to the ongoing probe into alleged insider trading by Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire Sri Lankan founder of the hedge fund Galleon galleon, oceangoing warship used by the European naval powers in the 15th and 16th cent. A large, cumbersome vessel, the galleon was three-masted and square-rigged, usually with two decks, and with its main batteries in broadsides.  Management LP.

Galleon was shut down last month and Rajaratnam and five others were arrested in what prosecutors called "the largest hedge fund insider trading case in history."

Twenty people have now been charged in the insider trading probe.

Bharara said the arrests of Rajaratnam and the five others had been a "wake-up call for Wall Street" and that Thursday's announcement meant "the alarm bells have only grown louder.

"Over the last three weeks, we have charged 20 defendants with more than 40 million dollars worth of alleged insider trading," he said.

The central figure among those charged Thursday was Zvi Goffer gof·fer also gauf·fer  
tr.v. gof·fered, gof·fer·ing, gof·fers
To press ridges or narrow pleats into (a frill, for example).

n.
1. An iron used for pressing ridges or narrow pleats.

2.
, who worked for Galleon and set up the hedge fund Incremental Additional or increased growth, bulk, quantity, number, or value; enlarged.

Incremental cost is additional or increased cost of an item or service apart from its actual cost.
 Capital.

Goffer is alleged to have played a key role in the ring in which he "paid sources for inside information" about companies, including news of mergers and acquisitions, then made deals on the stock market, according to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 the criminal complaint filed in a federal court in Manhattan.

Others charged Thursday with insider trading include current and former employees at Galleon, Ropes and Gray Ropes & Gray LLP is a Boston-based law firm with offices located in New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco,Washington, D.C.and Tokyo; and conference centers in London and Providence, Rhode Island.  law firm, and Incremental Capital.

The criminal complaint said evidence had been gathered using telephone wiretaps and informants. It also said Goffer issued participants in the alleged ring with prepaid cell phones meant to make detection of the scheme harder.

Rajaratnam faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly using insider information from heavyweight companies including Google, IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) , Hilton and Moody's.

Rajaratnam's fund was estimated to be worth 3.7 billion dollars when it was shut down.

Demarest, the FBI deputy head for New York, described insider trading as "betting on a game when you already know the outcome."

He warned would-be Wall Street cheats that the FBI net was closing.

"If you traffic in inside information, there's always a chance the person you conspire con·spire  
v. con·spired, con·spir·ing, con·spires

v.intr.
1. To plan together secretly to commit an illegal or wrongful act or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.

2.
 with is working for us. If you talk on the phone, we may be listening," he said.

The eight arrested Thursday were released on bail, six of them for half a million dollars and the others for 100,000 dollars and 250,000 dollars.
Copyright 2009 AFP American Edition
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Nov 6, 2009
Words:490
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