Indian-origin hedge fund manager pleads not guilty

Indian-origin hedge fund manager pleads not guilty New York: An Indian-origin hedge fund portfolio manager has pleaded not guilty to charges that he participated in one of the "most lucrative" insider trading schemes totalling USD 276 million involving information about clinical trials for an Alzheimer's drug.

Mathew Martoma, 38, was arraigned at Manhattan federal court here yesterday before Judge Paul Gardephe and entered a not guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud.

"I plead not guilty, your honour," Martoma, who was indicted last month, said for all the three counts he is charged with.

Martoma is the son of Indian immigrants and was accompanied by his wife and parents during his hearing. He faces as many as 20 years in prison on the securities fraud charges and five years on the conspiracy charge if convicted.

He was arrested in November from his home in Boca Raton, Florida and has been free on a five million dollar bail. According to court records, he would continue to remain free on bond.

Martoma was flanked by his lawyers Charles Stillman and Nathaniel Marmur during his arraignment. His next court appearance has been set for March 5. Stillman said he is not discussing any plea deal with the government and maintained that his client is innocent.

"The answer is no," Stillman said on whether he was negotiating a plea agreement.

The defence team is "doing what is necessary for getting a happy ending for Mathew," he said, adding, "Mathew Martoma is an innocent man."

Prosecutors told the judge that they would be presenting evidence in the form of trading and telephone records and e-mails but do not plan to use any wiretap evidence. Assistant US Attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said the government has collected a 'voluminous' amount of evidence in the case.

"There is an ongoing investigation into this and related matters," Devlin-Brown told Gardephe.

"It is entirely likely the government will receive new and additional documents."

A Stanford graduate, Martoma joined SAC Capital Advisors in 2006 and had worked with the firm's affiliate CR Intrinsic Investors.

Federal prosecutors have accused Martoma of using material, non-public information that he received from a doctor in 2008 on the clinical trial of an Alzheimer's disease drug to make profits and avoid losses for SAC in an amount totaling approximately USD 276 million.

PTI