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British billionaire & Tottenham Hotspur football team owner Joe Lewis charged in the US with insider trading.

The UK billionaire and owner of Tottenham Hotspur, Joe Lewis, has been charged by United States prosecutors for what officials called a “brazen” set of insider trading schemes.

Federal prosecutors accused Lewis, whose family trust controls a majority of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team, with orchestrating a “brazen” insider trading scheme by passing tips about companies in which he invested to friends, personal assistants, private pilots, and romantic partners.

In a video posted on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Damian Williams said: “Today I’m announcing that my office, the southern district of New York has indicted Joe Lewis, the British billionaire, for orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme.

“We allege that for years Joe Lewis abused access to corporate board rooms and repeatedly provided inside information to his romantic partners, his personal assistants, his pilots and his friends.

“Those folks then traded on that inside information and made millions of dollars on the stock market. Thanks to Lewis those bets were a sure thing.

“None of this was necessary. Joe Lewis is a wealthy man, but as we allege, he used insider information to compensate his employees, or to shower gifts on his friends and lovers.

Lewis is worth $6.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He controlled board of director seats at several companies and deputized employees to serve on boards, which gave him access to inside information, according to prosecutors.

Lewis, who founded the investment firm Tavistock Group, was charged with 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy, for alleged crimes spanning from 2013 to 2021.

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According to the indictment, Lewis’ investments in various companies gave him control of board seats, where he placed associates who let him know what they learned behind the scenes.

The indictment consists of 29 pages. It alleges a pattern of behaviour in which Lewis used his status as investor in several companies to give him control of board seats.

At one point, according to the indictment, he even loaned his two private pilots $500,000 apiece to buy stock in a cancer-drug company that he knew had gotten – but not yet publicly disclosed – encouraging results from a clinical trial.

‘Boss is helping us out and told us to get ASAP,’ the pilot texted when advising a friend to buy the stock, too, according to the filing. In later texts telling the friend about the loan, the pilot reasoned that ‘the Boss has inside info’ and ‘knows the outcome.’ 

‘Otherwise, why would he make us invest,’ the pilot added.

After the company announced the clinical trial data, the stock gained nearly 17% in a day, and Lewis’ friends and employees all eventually sold at a profit. The pilots repaid the loans, at Lewis’ request, according to the indictment.

Lewis’ Tavistock Group has stakes in more than 200 companies in 15 countries, according to its website. His holding company ENIC bought a controlling stake in the English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in 2001.

The Spurs owner is one of Britain’s richest men and has owned the club since 2002, when he paid £22m ($28m) to previous owner Alan Sugar.

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Lewis, who Forbes estimates is worth $6.1bn, has investments spanning sectors including real estate, energy, agriculture, and sport.

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