The Securities and Exchange Commission has sought more time to decide whether money from a $602 million settlement with SAC Capital Advisors should go to investors. During the past decade, the SEC has distributed $100 million in settlement money in over 15 insider trading cases.
SAC’s settlement with SEC
As reported earlier, a New York federal judge granted final approval to a $602 million insider trading accord between CR Intrinsic, a unit of billionaire Steven A Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors LP, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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The SEC alleged that CR trader Martoma made trades involving shares of Wyeth Limited and Elan Corporation, plc (ADR) (NYSE:ELN) based on information he received from Dr. Sidney Gilman, who was responsible for releasing the official results of a clinical trial to the public. As part of the deal in the case, SAC also agreed to cease managing outside capital and has become a family office called Point72 Asset Management.
Shareholders of Elan Corporation, plc (ADR) (NYSE:ELN) filed a lawsuit against the hedge fund for alleged insider trading on the Irish drug maker. The lawsuit alleged that Cohen’s SAC Capital traded on tips about a failed Elan drug trial, enabling the hedge fund to earn $720 million besides selling Elan shares worth nearly $500 million.
SEC seeks more time
Investors who held shares of Elan Corporation, plc (ADR) (NYSE:ELN) and Wyeth Limited at that time filed a class action lawsuit against SAC seeking around $2 billion. These investors seek some of the SEC’s settlement money. The regulator was earlier set to decide this last week whether it would recommend distributing the settlement money. However it sought more time to review material it had received from “interested parties.”
In its letter to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero, the SEC said it had received over 40 written submissions, including letters from investors in the stocks in which SAC made its illegal trades.
Emily Flitter of Reuters points out that criminal sentencing guidelines for securities fraud say insider trading victims are nearly impossible to identify.