Tiger Asia Management LLC, the New York-based hedge fund run by Bill Hwang, admitted illegally using inside information to trade Chinese bank stocks and agreed to criminal and civil settlements of more than $60m.
Bloomberg reports that Hwang entered the guilty plea for Tiger Asia Wednesday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, admitting it used material nonpublic information by selling short shares of Bank of China Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp. Tiger Asia agreed to forfeit $16.3m to resolve the criminal case.
Tiger Asia Management, Hwang, Tiger Asia Partners LLC and former head trader Raymond Y.H. Park also will pay $44m to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit filed Wednesday. Tiger Asia used inside information received through private placement offerings to engage in short selling of the two banks, the agency said.
'Hwang today learned the painful lesson that illegal offshore trading is not off limits from U.S. law enforcement', Robert Khuzami, the SEC enforcement director, said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler placed Tiger Asia on probation for one year. He said the $16.3m represents the total illicit gain in the criminal case for the trades in December 2008 and January 2009.
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