Updated Jul 25, 2023 - Economy & Business

U.S. charges U.K. owner of soccer team Tottenham with insider trading

British billionaire Joe Lewis, who owns hundreds of assets, including English Premier League soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. Photo: Catherine Ivill/AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

Joe Lewis, the British billionaire owner of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team, has been indicted in the U.S. for allegedly "orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme," prosecutors announced Tuesday evening.

Driving the news: Prosecutors accuse Lewis of engaging in "multiple schemes to violate the securities laws through insider trading and submitting false and misleading filings" with the SEC from 2013 to 2021, per an indictment. He denies any wrongdoing.

  • "Lewis is a wealthy man, but as we allege, he used insider information as a way to compensate his employees or to shower gifts on his friends and lovers," said Manhattan-based U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in an online video post.

By the numbers: The Bahamas-based founder of investment firm Tavistock Group faces 19 counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements.

Zoom in: Prosecutors allege that "for years" the 86-year-old Lewis "abused access to corporate board rooms and repeatedly provided inside information to his romantic partners, his personal assistants, his pilots and his friends," according to Williams.

  • "Those folks then traded on that inside information and made millions of dollars on the stock market. Thanks to Lewis, those bets were a sure thing," he said. "None of this was necessary."
  • Williams called the allegations "classic corporate corruption," adding: "It's cheating and it’s against the law, laws that apply to everyone no matter who you are."

What they're saying: David Zornow, an attorney for Lewis, said in a statement to media that the "government has made an egregious error in judgment in charging" Lewis, whom he described as having "impeccable integrity and prodigious accomplishment."

  • He added that Lewis had come to the U.S. "voluntarily to answer these ill-conceived charges, and we will defend him vigorously in court."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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