• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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How former Tottenham owner Joe Lewis escaped prison for insider trading case


A federal judge in Manhattan has spared 87-year-old Joe Lewis, the British billionaire  whose family owns Tottenham Hotspur football club, from prison in an insider trading case. Instead, Lewis has been ordered to pay a $5 million fine and serve three years of probation.

Lewis pleaded guilty to fraud charges in January after an investigation revealed that he had provided stock tips to friends, private pilots, and a girlfriend. Prosecutors found that these individuals made over half a million dollars by trading on the non-public information, which Lewis had access to through his positions on various corporate boards..

Although Lewis faced up to two years in prison for his crimes, probation officers advised against incarceration, citing his advanced age.

Addressing the court, Lewis, wearing an eye patch, expressed remorse for his actions, admitting to a “terrible mistake” and acknowledging accountability for breaking the law.

In their sentencing recommendation, US prosecutors noted that Lewis’s conduct was not motivated by personal profit, as he did not trade on the insider information himself. They also cited his deteriorating health and voluntary surrender to US authorities as mitigating factors.

Judge Jessica Clarke emphasized the seriousness of Lewis’s offense but granted leniency due to his cooperation and willingness to face the charges. She highlighted the risk Lewis would face in prison and commended his decision to confront the allegations rather than fight extradition.

Born into an immigrant family in 1937, Lewis began his career in his father’s catering business before achieving success in themed restaurants.

He later moved to the Bahamas, where he made significant profits in financial markets, including a profitable bet against sterling in 1992. Lewis also invested in real estate and acquired a majority stake in Tottenham Hotspur, which he held for over two decades.

Despite Lewis’s legal troubles, Tottenham Hotspur stated that the charges against him were unrelated to the club. Lewis is also the founder of Tavistock Group, which owns assets in various industries, including investments in over 200 companies and artworks by renowned artists.

As part of his plea agreement, Lewis will relinquish his seats on the boards of publicly traded US companies and pay a civil penalty of $1.6 million to resolve a related case with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He has been allowed to return to the Bahamas, leaving his yacht behind as collateral.