Hedge fund CR Intrinsic Investors will pay more than $600 million in what federal regulators are calling the largest insider trading settlement ever.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged the firm with insider trading in 2012, alleging that one of its portfolio managers illegally obtained confidential details about an Alzheimer's drug trial from a doctor before the final results went public and made trades from that information.
The SEC said Friday that the fund agreed to settle the charges and the parties neither admit nor deny the charges.
"The historic monetary sanctions against CR Intrinsic and its affiliates are a sharp warning that the SEC will hold hedge fund advisory firms and their funds accountable when employees break the law to benefit the firm," George S. Canellos, acting director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said in a statement.
The SEC said in its complaint that Sidney Gillman, a doctor who moonlighted as a medical consultant, tipped CR Intrinsic portfolio manager Mathew Martoma with safety data and eventually negative results in the trial of the drug made by drug firms Elan Corp. and Wyeth two weeks before they were made public in 2008. Martoma and CR Intrinsic then caused several hedge funds to sell more than $960 million in Elan and Wyeth securities in a little more than a week.
The commission amended its complaint Friday to add S.A.C. Capital Advisors and four hedge funds managed by CR Intrinsic and S.A.C. Capital as defendants, saying they each received ill-gotten gains from the scheme.
The settlement is subject to the approval of a U.S. District Court judge. It does not settle charges against Martoma, whose case is still in litigation
It was one of multiple settlements reached Friday by the SEC. The SEC also settled charges against Sigma Capital Management for $14 million. Sigma allegedly profited illegally from early information about the earnings of two technology companies.
The cases stem from a long-running probe of insider trading by hedge funds, many of which are affiliated with S.A.C. Capital.
CR Intrinsic was an affiliate of S.A.C. A separate S.A.C. affiliate fund allegedly benefited from Sigma's actions.
S.A.C. said in a statement Friday that it is happy to put these matters with the SEC behind it.
"This settlement is a substantial step toward resolving all outstanding regulatory matters and allows the firm to move forward with confidence," the company. "We are committed to continuing to maintain a first-rate compliance effort woven into the fabric of the firm."