Several people of Indian origin charged with insider trading in the United States : The Tribune India


New York, July 26

Several people of Indian origin have been charged in the United States with insider trading in two separate alleged schemes in which they made more than $50 lakh in illegal profits.

Amit Bhardwaj, 49, the former head of information security at Lumentum Holdings and his friends Dhirenkumar Patel, 50, Srinivasa Kakkera, 47, Abbas Saeedi, 47 and Ramesh Chitor, 45, have been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.

The SEC alleges that these men, all residing in California, traded ahead of two corporate acquisition announcements by Lumentum and generated more than $52 lakh in illicit profits.

In a separate action, the SEC alleges insider trading by investment banker Brijesh Goel, 37, and his friend Akshay Niranjan, 33. They are both from New York. Niranjan was a forex trader in a large financial institution.

The SEC alleges that the pair earned more than $2.75 lakh from illegal trading ahead of four acquisition announcements in 2017 that Goel learned about through his employment.

The complaint further alleges that Niranjan purchased call options on the target companies and then wired Goel $85,000 for Goel’s share of the proceeds.

The SEC’s enforcement actions were filed in Manhattan Federal District Court, and in each case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced parallel criminal charges on Monday.

“If ordinary investors think the market is being rigged at their expense in favor of insiders abusing their positions, they will not invest their hard-earned money in the markets,” said Gurbir S Grewal, Division Director of SEC law enforcement.

“But as today’s actions show, we stand ready to leverage all of our expertise and tools to root out misconduct and hold bad actors accountable, regardless of industry or profession. is what is needed to restore investor confidence.”

The SEC complaints accuse these defendants of violating the anti-fraud provisions of securities laws and seek a permanent injunction, reimbursement with prejudgment interest and civil penalties. In both cases, the SEC investigation is ongoing.

In the case involving Bhardwaj, the SEC complaint alleges that through his work at Lumentum, Bhardwaj learned material, nonpublic information about the company’s plans to first acquire Coherent and then acquire NeoPhotonics Corporation. .

Based on this information, Bhardwaj allegedly purchased Coherent securities prior to the January 2021 announcement of Lumentum’s deal to acquire Coherent and tipped his friend Patel on the understanding that Patel would later share some of his winnings. ill-gotten.

The SEC further alleges that in October 2021, Bhardwaj shared the information about the planned acquisition of NeoPhotonics by Lumentum with his friends Kakkera, Saeedi and Chitor, who then amassed large NeoPhotonics positions based on the advice of Bhardwaj.

The SEC complaint alleges that “following NeoPhotonics’ announcement, in late 2021, Bhardwaj asked Chitor to send money to a relative of Bhardwaj who lived in India.”

Chitor agreed and ordered two people he knew who had accounts in India to send relative Indian rupees an amount equivalent to tens of thousands of US dollars.

Chitor had the rupees transferred to the relative to compensate Bhardwaj for the non-public material information that Bhardwaj had provided to Chitor about the NeoPhotonics announcement.

In addition to the relief described above, the SEC’s complaint seeks restitution of illicit profits with prejudgment interest from defendants Gauri Salwan, 45, who is the wife of Bhardwaj, the Kakkera Family Trust, All US Tacos Inc. , and Janya Saeedi, Abbas’s wife. Saidi.

Janya and Abbas are the sole directors of All US Tacos Inc.

The Kakkera Family Trust is a personal and testamentary trust governed by the State of California and Kakkera and his wife are the trustees.

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