Tottenham Hotspur majority owner, Joe Lewis has been charged in the US with ‘brazen’ insider trading.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday July 25, alleged that the 86-year-old passed on inside information ‘as a way to compensate his employees or shower gifts on his friends and lovers’.
In a dramatic statement delivered by video, US Attorney Damian Williams said: ‘My office, the Southern District of New York has indicted Joe Lewis, the British billionaire, for orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme.
‘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 private pilots, and his friends.
‘Those folks then traded on that inside information and made millions of dollars on the stock market because – thanks to Lewis – those bets were a sure thing.’
Williams added: ‘Now, none of this was necessary. Joe Lewis is a wealthy man. But as we allege he used inside information as a way to compensate his employees or shower gifts on his friends and lovers. It is classic corporate corruption.
‘It’s cheating and it’s against the law. That’s why Joe Lewis has been indicted and will face justice here in the Southern District of New York.’
In a statement released on Wednesday morning, Tottenham said: ‘This is a legal matter unconnected with the club and as such we have no comment.’
Bahamas-based Lewis, founder of investment firm The Tavistock Group, faces more than a dozen charges, including securities fraud.
He is also alleged to have loaned money to the people he is accused of tipping off.
Lewis is charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; three counts of securities fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison; and three counts of conspiracy, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Lewis’ lawyers – Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom – responded by insisting they would defend him ‘vigorously’ against the ‘ill-conceived’ charges.
David M. Zornow said: ‘The government has made an egregious error in judgment in charging Mr Lewis, an 86-year-old man of impeccable integrity and prodigious accomplishment.
‘Mr Lewis has come to the US voluntarily to answer these ill-conceived charges, and we will defend him vigorously in court.’