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Alabama Pension Fund Files Suit Against SAC Capital

Steven Cohen and SAC Capital Advisors are facing another insider-trading complaint related to the stock of Wyeth LLC.  The hedge fund allegedly traded the shares of the pharmaceutical company after receiving information from a physician in-charge of monitoring the test results of the Alzheimer drug jointly developed by  Wyeth and Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE:ELN).

Alabama Pension Fund Files Suit Against SAC Capital

According to a report from Pensions & Investments, the Birmingham Retirement and Relief System alleged that Cohen and CR Intrinsic Investors, a unit of SAC Capital Advisors, practiced illegal trading in the shares of Wyeth, now a unit of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE).

The Birmingham Retirement & Relief System’s lawsuit represents a group of investors that bought common stock of Wyeth on July 21 to July 29, 2008. The pension fund is claiming damages against the defendants in the case.

Aside from Cohen & SAC Capital Advisors, the pension fund also sued the hedge fund’s former portfolio manager, Mathew Martoma and Sidney Gilman, the doctor who provided information regarding the Alzheimer drug trial to Martoma.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an insider-trading lawsuit against Martoma, and considers it against the former portfolio manager as the “most lucrative insider scheme ever.” Martoma pleaded not guilty.

Last Month, SAC Capital’s unit agreed to settle the insider trading charges filed against it by the SEC by paying a penalty of more than $600 million. The settlement is subject to court approval.  In a previous hearing, Manhattan federal judge, Victor Marrero raised concerns over the controversial language in the settlement agreement, which allows SAC Capital to neither admit nor deny any wrongdoing in the case. He also challenged the size of the deal and pointed out the seriousness of complaint and the financial penalty.

Meanwhile, SAC Capital spokesperson Jonathan Gasthalter commented regarding the complaint filed by Birmingham Retirement & Relief System. He said, “Any liability to these plaintiffs is fully discharged by our settlement with the SEC, and this lawsuit presents no new liability to SAC.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested SAC Capital’s long-time portfolio manager, Michael Steinberg as authorities deepen their investigation regarding the criminal insider trading practices of the hedge fund.

Steinberg was charged with four counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud related to allegations that he made illegal trades involving the stock of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA).