Tags: US | Hedge | Fund | Insider | Trading

Plea Anticipated by Former IBM Executive

Tuesday, 23 Mar 2010 02:49 PM

A former high level executive at IBM is likely to enter a plea to end the case against him after agreeing to waive indictment in what prosecutors call the largest insider trading case in hedge fund history.

Robert Moffat, 53, of Ridgefield, Conn., was a former senior vice president and group executive at International Business Machines Corp.'s Systems and Technology Group before he was arrested in October in a case that linked hedge fund operators with corporate executives.

Moffat, once considered a candidate for CEO at IBM, has been free on $2 million bail.

His lawyer, Kerry Andrew Lawrence, confirmed Tuesday that his client will waive indictment. The lawyer spoke after prosecutors filed a one-page note in the case saying they intend to file a document outlining charges against Moffat once he formally waives indictment. That is a process that others in the case have followed before pleading guilty. No date was set, however. Lawrence declined to comment further.

Moffat would become the 11th person to plead guilty in a case that has resulted in charges against 21 defendants. Authorities say profits from illegal trades topped $50 million.

Moffat was considered the highest level executive arrested in connection with a scheme that centered around the securities trades of Raj Rajaratnam, a portfolio manager for Galleon Group, a hedge fund that once had up to $7 billion in assets under management.

Rajaratnam, who has pleaded not guilty to securities fraud charges, was ranked No. 559 by Forbes magazine last year among the world's wealthiest people with a $1.3 billion net worth.

The case also is unique because prosecutors made extensive use of wiretaps for the first time in an insider trading case to capture hundreds of phone conversations between the defendants.

The wiretaps have already become a focus of lawyers. On Tuesday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments before delaying a decision on whether defense attorneys must release the wiretap evidence they received from prosecutors to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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