The billionaire owner of the foundering Tottenham Hotspur soccer team, Joe Lewis, illegally doled out stock tips to friends, lovers and staff in a “brazen insider trading scheme,” according to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.
“We allege that for years, Joe Lewis abused his access to boardrooms and repeatedly provided insider information to his romantic partners, his personal assistants, pilots and his friends,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a social media video posted Tuesday. “Those folks then traded on that information and made millions of dollars in the stock market because, thanks to Lewis, those bets were a sure thing.”
In one instance outlined in the indictment, Lewis loaned his private pilots half a million dollars each to buy stock in an experimental cancer drug company.
“Boss is helping us out and told us to get ASAP,” the pilot texted a friend that he had cut in on the deal, according to court papers. The pilot gave Lewis away in other texts saying, “the Boss has inside info” and “knows the outcome.”
Williams said that Lewis knew he was breaking the law.
“None of this was necessary,” Williams said. “Joe Lewis is a wealthy man, but as we allege, he used his insider information as a way to compensate employees or to shower gifts on his friends and lovers. It’s classic corporate corruption. It’s cheating and it’s against the law, laws that apply to everyone, no matter who you are.”
Lewis, who built his fortune from a catering service run by his father, is worth an estimated $6.1 billion, according to Forbes.
The soccer team, which he bought in 2001, hasn’t brought home a trophy since 2008 when they won the English League Cup.
With News Wire Services