SAC portfolio manager kept Cohen in dark about insider info: witness

Mon Dec 2, 2013 9:15pm EST
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By Nate Raymond and Emily Flitter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager Michael Steinberg deliberately avoided telling his boss Steven A. Cohen that he was trading on Dell Inc with inside information, a former analyst at the hedge fund testified on Monday.

Jon Horvath, the U.S. government's star witness against Steinberg in the insider trading case, told a jury in Manhattan federal court that Steinberg had to reassure Cohen in November 2008 about his bets on Dell DELL.SN which were contrary to Cohen's own sense and the market wisdom at the time.

U.S. prosecutors showed the court a November 17 instant message conversation in which Steinberg told Horvath that Cohen had been "drilling" him for more details about a call he had made on Dell's stock.

Horvath said Steinberg, in describing his conversation with Cohen, emphasized to Horvath that he had left out the fact that the information came from a company insider.

"I said Jon has a number of industry contacts and that is what he has heard," Steinberg wrote.

"Mike was kind of my buffer," Horvath testified.

The November conversation with Cohen was the second time Horvath and Steinberg had addressed their Dell trading with Cohen.

In August 2008, three days before Dell announced its earnings, Cohen was betting the company's stock would go up, while Horvath's information was that the results would disappoint Wall Street.   Continued...

Former SAC Capital portfolio manager Michael Steinberg (R) arrives with his lawyer Barry Berke at the Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York, November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid