Tottenham owner Joe Lewis surrenders to US authorities after insider trading charge

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British billionaire and Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis has surrendered to US authorities in New York after being charged with "orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme."

Lewis's lawyer David Zornow said prosecutors "made an egregious error" in charging Lewis, 86, and said his client had come to the United States voluntarily to defend himself against the charges.

Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a video released by his office: “Today I’m announcing that 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 in the stock market, because thanks to Lewis those bets were a sure thing.”

Mr Williams described Lewis’s alleged behaviour as “classic corporate corruption”.

Two of Lewis' pilots, Patrick O'Connor and Bryan Waugh, were also charged with insider trading securities fraud. They reaped millions of dollars in illegal profit from Lewis' tips, prosecutors said.

It is understood both of the men have also been arrested.Prosecutors said that in 2019 Lewis lent each pilot $500,000 (£387,240) and encouraged them to buy stock in oncology company Mirati Therapeutics before it released favourable clinical results.

Mr O'Connor texted a friend that he thought "the Boss has inside info," according to the indictment.

After Mirati announced the positive results, its share price increased 16.7% in one day, and both pilots repaid Lewis for his loans.

Mr Lewis, 86, is the founder and primary investor of Bahamas-based investment firm Tavistock Group.

He was ranked 39th in the 2023 Sunday Times Rich List, with an estimated worth of more than £5 billion.

He bought a controlling stake in Tottenham from Sir Alan Sugar in 2001 for £22 million.

The Premier League club said in a statement: “This is a legal matter unconnected with the club and as such we have no comment.”

Tavistock Group has been contacted for comment.

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