The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a former employee at a Silicon Valley-based semiconductor company for his role tipping non-public information used in connection with Raj Rajaratnam’s massive insider trading scheme.
The SEC alleges that Sam Miri, who worked in the communications division at Marvell Technology Group, tipped confidential information about the company’s financial performance to former Galleon Management portfolio manager Ali Far. He used the nonpublic information provided by Miri to trade Marvell securities on behalf of hedge funds that he founded after leaving Galleon. Far and Spherix Capital, who were among those earlier charged by the SEC in the Galleon matter, earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit profits based on Miri’s tips. In exchange for the illegal tips, Far arranged four quarterly payments to Miri totaling approximately $10,000.
Miri, who lives in Palo Alto, Calif., has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying more than $60,000 and being barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
'Miri finds himself playing the role of defendant because he chose to violate his duty to protect his employer’s confidential information by selling it to a hedge fund manager in exchange for quarterly payments', said Sanjay Wadhwa, senior associate director for enforcement in the SEC’s New York Regional Office. 'A total of 35 firms and individuals have now been held accountable for their varying roles in the Galleon scheme'.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, Miri tipped Far in May 2008 with inside information about Marvell’s plans to announce a permanent chief financial officer after a string of interim chief financial officers. With an earnings announcement scheduled for later that month, Miri also revealed confidential information about Marvell’s sales revenue and profitability as well as projections of future earnings potential. In the days leading up to the announcement, Spherix Capital hedge funds purchased approximately 300,000 shares of Marvell common stock. When the stock climbed more than 20% after Marvell announced its quarterly financial results and new CFO on May 29, Far’s hedge funds reaped approximately $680,000 in ill-gotten gains.
The SEC’s complaint charges Miri with violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. Miri agreed to pay $10,000 in disgorgement, $1,842.90 in prejudgment interest, and a $50,000 penalty. Miri also agreed to be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years. Without admitting or denying the charges, Miri agreed to be permanently enjoined from future violations of these provisions of the federal securities laws. The settlement is subject to court approval.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by John Henderson, Diego Brucculeri, and James D’Avino of the New York Regional Office. The case has been supervised by Joseph Sansone of the Market Abuse Unit and Sanjay Wadhwa. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.