(Bloomberg) -- Two London investment bankers were charged for selling information on pending deals in a “large-scale, international insider-trading ring” that, U.S. prosecutors claim, generated at least tens of millions of dollars in illicit profits.
Charges were unsealed in New York against Benjamin Taylor and Darina Windsor, who both worked for global investment banks with offices in London and Manhattan. The U.S. didn’t identify the banks in the indictment but Moelis & Co. confirmed Taylor had worked at the bank.
According to the indictment, Taylor and Windsor were involved in a romantic relationship and shared a London apartment.
Over more than five years, from late 2012 to early 2018, the two allegedly passed information they gleaned at work on 22 companies to two individuals who aren’t identified in the indictment. Taylor and Windsor were paid for the information, receiving more than $1 million in benefits, including cash, luxury watches and expensive clothes, according to the government.
Those people, acting as middlemen, passed the information to securities traders who would make profitable trades before the information became public, according to prosecutors.
The charges, dated Sept. 9, were unsealed on Monday. Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, had no immediate comment on whether Taylor and Windsor are under arrest.
“We are appalled that a former junior employee violated the core values that are most important to our firm,” a Moelis spokesperson said. “We have cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities since being made aware of the allegations.”
Companies that allegedly fell victim to the scheme include Metals USA Holdings Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., Amgen Inc., Merck & Co., InterMune Inc., Hyperion Therapeutics Inc., Celgene Corp., Solera Holdings Inc. and Johnson Controls International PLC.
The charges against Taylor and Windsor were made public after Bryan Cohen, 33, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker in New York, was arrested Friday on allegations of insider trading. Cohen allegedly shared information with an unidentified trader who passed it on to George Nikas, a 54-year-old New York restaurateur who owns the restaurant chain GRK Fresh.
Nikas is accused of trading in many of the same companies whose inside information Taylor and Windsor are charged with selling. Fifteen of the companies overlap, although Nikas is charged with trading in others as well.
The case is U.S. v. Taylor, 18-cr-00184, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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