Morgan Stanley sues former FrontPoint manager over insider charges

NEW YORK, Nov 10 — Morgan Stanley is suing a former employee who was convicted of insider trading in order to recover US$33 million (RM100.9 million) it said it paid US regulators to settle civil claims relating to the crimes, court papers showed.

Morgan Stanley’s headquarters in New York. — Reuters file picMorgan Stanley’s headquarters in New York. — Reuters file picIn a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court on October 31, Morgan Stanley sued former FrontPoint Partners hedge fund manager Joseph “Chip” Skowron over the funds the bank paid to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The lawsuit also called for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Doctor-turned-stock-picker Skowron pleaded guilty in August to trading stock of Human Genome Sciences Inc in 2008 based on non-public information he admitted to having received from a consultant for the biotech company, who also pleaded guilty to insider trading charges.

Skowron was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to forfeit US$5 million.

“Beyond the harm attendant to having one of its managing directors plead guilty to serious criminal conduct, the firm expended its own reputational capital by defending Skowron during the years it believed, based entirely on his misrepresentation, that he had not violated the law,” the complaint said.

Morgan Stanley — which acquired FrontPoint in 2006 — had sought nearly US$45 million from Skowron over his fraud, but a US judge in March said the bank was not entitled to recoup the US$33 million SEC payment.

Manhattan federal court judge Denise Cote instead ordered Skowron to pay US$10.2 million in restitution to his former employer. Skowron has appealed that order.

Lawyers for Morgan Stanley and for Skowron did not immediately return calls seeking comment. — Reuters


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