Conn. Hedge Fund Pays $9M Fine for Insider Trading

Diamondback Capital signed a non-prosecution deal with the Justice Department.

By Jonathan Dienst, Joe Valiquette, Jim Forkin and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012  |  Updated 12:17 PM EDT
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Conn. Hedge Fund Pays $9M Fine for Insider Trading

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A Stamford, Conn.-based hedge fund has agreed to pay a $9 million fine in connection with charges the firm profited from illegal insider trading.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Diamondback Capital has also signed a non-prosecution deal with the Justice Department after individuals at the hedge fund made millions getting and executing trades based on non-public tips.

Diamondback agreed to pay back all $6 million in illegal profits and pay a $3 million fine. Officials said the firm would not face criminal prosecution because it had cooperated with the investigation once the allegations came to light.

Seven hedge fund and Wall Street executives were charged last week in connection with a more than $60 million insider trading scheme. An insider at Dell Computers allegedly leaked in advance quarterly earnings reports and brokers – including some at Diamondback – traded on that information. The firm also got inside information about earnings at Nvidia Corp. in 2008 and 2009.

“We are pleased to have reached a prompt resolution of the charges against Diamondback,” said George Canellos of the SEC’s New York office.

A federal judge must approve the deal. The SEC has come under criticism from some judges in other cases for signing off on civil settlements without asking firms to admit wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for Diamondback declined to comment.

A source familiar with the case said the firm met with investigators eight times over 14 months and turned over four million company emails.

The SEC called Diamondback’s cooperation as “substantial.”  The settlement does not affect the criminal prosecution of former Diamondback employees and others who were arrested by the FBI last week.

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