Published: Thu, September 22, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

SEC is back in the fight on insider trading

SEC is back in the fight on insider trading

Earlier, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Cooperman, 73, and his $5.4 billion hedge fund Omega Advisors traded illegally on private information six years ago.

SEC accuses Cooperman for using insider information about an asset sale to make illegal profits. It also threw in that upon receiving a subpoena re: his trading activity, Cooperman "contacted [an APL] executive and tried to fabricate a story to tell if questioned" by regulators.

Cooperman told clients in a letter to investors "we have done nothing improper", according to Bloomberg News.

Leon Cooperman, chairman and chief executive of Omega Advisors, speaks during a 2015 interview in NY.

Cooperman said the feds offered a settlement on the insider trading charges but he refused it so that he could protect his name and that of his firm, Omega Advisors.

"Somebody should investigate that", the family member responded, apparently unaware of the origin of the trading. Cooperman, who used the information to purchase a stake in Atlas' stock, reaped major rewards when the stock price jumped by nearly a third after the company made the information about the sale of the facility available to the public. The fund had been bearish on its position in the first half of 2010, the SEC's complaint notes, pointing out that Cooperman allegedly described it as a "sh-y business".

The fund has been expecting a steady return for its investors in 2016 in the aftermath of the Brexit debacle that sent stocks lower initially.

"In short, I don't believe the government investigations will have a meaningful impact on our ability to serve you", Cooperman said during that call in March.

The SEC's complaint further charges Cooperman with failing to timely report information about holdings and transactions in securities of publicly-traded companies that he beneficially owned, alleging that he violated federal securities laws more than 40 times in this regard. APL was bought by a unit of Targa Resources Corp.

Instead, Cooperman directed Omega Advisors to buy shares in the company over several days.

Cooperman allegedly used his status as one of Atlas's largest shareholders to gain access to confidential information, according to a statement released Wednesday from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Steve Cohen's SAC Capital pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2013 and agreed to pay a record $1.8 billion fine.

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