Two days before Dell Inc. was set to report second-quarter 2008 earnings, Jon Horvath, a technology analyst at SAC Capital Advisors LP, e-mailed his boss Michael Steinberg and another portfolio manager to warn that the computer maker would miss earnings estimates.
'I have a 2nd hand read from someone at the company', Horvath began the August 26th message, which provided details on gross margins, expenditures and revenue. 'Please keep to yourself as obviously not well known'.
Bloomberg reports that Steinberg, a 15-year veteran of the hedge fund founded by billionaire Steven A. Cohen, responded: 'Yes normally we would never divulge data like this, so please be discreet. Thanks'.
The e-mails indicate Steinberg, the longest-serving SAC employee linked to the U.S. insider-trading probe, discussed the Dell trade with Cohen. While neither has been accused of any wrongdoing, the messages were admitted as evidence at the New York insider-trading trial of two hedge-fund managers last week after a judge ruled they supported prosecutor claims that Steinberg should be considered an unindicted co-conspirator.
Last month, Cohen, 56, was directly linked to a trade at the center of another insider prosecution, which the government described as the 'most lucrative' ever uncovered. SAC, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, and manages $14bn, was told by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the agency is considering pursuing civil fraud claims related to alleged insider trading by former SAC portfolio manager Mathew Martoma, who traded stocks of two drug makers.
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