New York hedge fund executive in apparent suicide after insider trading charges: police

Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:42pm EDT
 
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By Nate Raymond and Svea Herbst-Bayliss

(Reuters) - Sanjay Valvani, a hedge fund manager at Visium Asset Management LP who was criminally charged last week in a major insider trading case, has been found dead in an apparent suicide, the police said on Tuesday.

Valvani, 44, was discovered by his wife on Monday evening in the bedroom of his Brooklyn home with a wound to his neck, a New York Police Department spokeswoman said. A suicide note and a knife were recovered, she added.

The death marked a stunning turn in one of the U.S. government's biggest recent insider trading cases. Valvani's lawyers, Barry Berke and Eric Tirschwell, called his death a "horrible tragedy that is difficult to comprehend."

"We hope for the sake of his family and his memory that it will not be forgotten that the charges against him were only unproven accusations and he had always maintained his innocence," they added.

The city's medical examiner's office will determine the cause of Valvani's death, and police said an investigation was under way.

Prosecutors last Wednesday unveiled charges against Valvani alleging he fraudulently made $25 million by getting advance information about U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals of generic drug applications.

Prosecutors said the inside information was provided by Gordon Johnston, a political intelligence consultant and former employee at the FDA, who got it from a friend, who still works at the agency.

Valvani passed some of the tips to Christopher Plaford, then a Visium portfolio manager, who made his own illegal trades, prosecutors said.   Continued...

 
Sanjay Valvani departs Federal Court after a hearing following his arrest in New York, U.S., June 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson