The SEC announced Friday it was fining a unit of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors more than $600 million over insider trades that netted hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit profits.
In a record insider trading settlement, the Securities and Exchange Commission said CR Intrinsic Investors, an SAC affiliate, would pay the sum to settle charges that it participated in an insider trading scheme involving a clinical trial for an Alzheimer's drug.
The SEC charged that CR Intrinsic portfolio manager Mathew Martoma obtained advance insider information about negative clinical trial results for the drug, being developed by Elan Corp. and Wyeth, from Sidney Gilman, a medical consultant to the two drug makers.
CR Intrinsic and Martoma shared the information with several related hedge funds, who then sold off more than $960 million worth of Elan and Wyeth securities before Gilman publicly announced the test results.
"The historic monetary sanctions against CR Intrinsic and its affiliates are sharp warning that the SEC will hold hedge fund advisory firms and their funds accountable when employees break the law to benefit the firm," said George Canellos, acting director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement.
Separately, the SEC announced a fine of $14 million for another SAC unit, Sigma Capital, for insider trades in Dell and Nvidia Corporation securities.