Two hedge fund managers were arrested on insider trading charges on Tuesday, while another portfolio manager and an analyst agreed to plead guilty in connection with the probe, the latest development in a broad investigation of hedge funds' trading activities.
The charges were announced by federal prosecutors, who are investigating the ties between hedge funds and consultants for so-called expert networking firms that are accused of improperly leaking confidential corporate information to investors.
The latest charges involve a portfolio manager and an analyst who both once worked for hedge fund titan SAC Capital Advisors. SAC itself has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Tuesday's charges mark the expansion of the probe beyond expert networking firm consultants and employees to hedge fund employees who allegedly were recipients of secret tips on technology stocks. Expert networking firms match industry consultants to hedge funds seeking background on certain sectors.
Hedge fund managers Sam Barai, head of Barai Capital Management, and Donald Longueuil, who previously worked for SAC and later for a fund not identified in court documents, were arrested, authorities said.
The other defendants, who have reached plea deals according to court documents, are portfolio manager Noah Freeman, a former analyst at hedge fund Sonar Capital in Boston and later a portfolio manager at SAC Capital, and Jason Pflaum, an analyst who worked with Barai.
Barai, a former hedge fund managing director at Citigroup's Tribeca Global Management, launched Barai Capital Management in 2008. The fund, which focuses on technology and media companies, is in the process of closing.
Barai's fund was one of four raided by federal agents late last year when the trading probe was heating up. The raids shocked the hedge fund world, and were followed by dozens of subpoenas to hedge funds and mutual funds including SAC that did business with various expert network firms and consultants.
A SAC spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Barai was charged with securities fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice, according to the court documents. He is accused of engaging in insider trading involving shares of Marvell Technology Group Ltd and Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc.
Freeman and Pflaum are cooperating with prosecutors, according to the court papers.
Longueuil was charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice, according to the court papers.
Ben Rosenberg, a lawyer for Freeman, did not immediately return a call requesting comment. Attorneys for the other defendants could not immediately be reached.
(Additional reporting by Martha Graybow, Jonathan Stempel, Emily Chasan and Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by John Wallace, Derek Caney, Dave Zimmerman)