Ex-investment banker says did not give insider tips to father

Thu Aug 4, 2016 6:11pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former Wall Street investment banker proclaimed on Thursday that he was innocent of insider trading charges, testifying that he never tipped his father off to inside information about healthcare mergers.

Sean Stewart, who worked at Perella Weinberg Partners and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote), took the stand in his own defense, telling jurors in federal court in Manhattan that he never intended to help his father profit through insider trading.

"I never gave my father information so he could trade on it," Stewart testified.

He acknowledged that despite his employers' requirements to keep details about unannounced mergers confidential, he "spoke very freely" with family members including his father, Robert Stewart, about his job, occasionally mentioning client names.

But Stewart, 35, testified he did so in the context of discussing scheduling around his 2011 wedding or talking about his career, never expecting anyone to trade on the information.

"In hind sight, what I was doing was incredibly foolish," Stewart said.

Stewart's testimony came shortly after prosecutors rested in presenting evidence against him and as the trial neared its end. Closing arguments are expected on Monday.

He was charged in May 2015 alongside his father, who prosecutors say with a friend, Richard Cunniffe, made $1.16 million from 2011 to 2014 trading on tips about five healthcare deals provided by his son.   Continued...

Former Perella Weinberg investment banker Sean Stewart exits the Manhattan federal court house in New York City, U.S., July 27, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid