British entrepreneur Joe Lewis, founder of the investment firm Tavistock Group and reputedly worth $6.1 billion according to Forbes magazine, has pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Manhattan federal court.
The prosecution alleges that Lewis shared crucial investment information with a select group of individuals, including acquaintances, private pilots, and even an ex-girlfriend. This information reportedly led to illegal profits in the millions of dollars for those involved in the alleged scheme.
Of particular interest to investigators is the preponderance of ownership Lewis’ family trust holds in Tottenham Hotspur, the popular English Premier League football club. However, a spokesperson for the club has quickly distanced them from the ongoing legal matter, stating that it is unrelated to the club and offering no further comment.
Not only is Lewis facing charges, but two of his pilots, Patrick O’Connor and Bryan Waugh, have also been implicated in the insider trading case and have pleaded not guilty to related allegations. The pilots allegedly received loans of $500,000 each from Lewis in 2019 to purchase Mirati Therapeutics stock before positive clinical results were publicly released. Following the subsequent surge in the company’s share price, the pilots repaid Lewis for his loans.
To secure his release, Lewis is required to put up a staggering $300 million surety, which will be secured by his assets, including his luxury yacht Aviva and private aircraft. These assets are part of the substantial wealth he has accumulated over the years as a successful entrepreneur.
Lewis’ attorney has vociferously defended his client, asserting that the prosecutors have committed an “egregious error” in bringing charges against him. The attorney also emphasized that Lewis voluntarily traveled to the United States to face the charges and is fully prepared to mount a strong defense in court.