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Hedge Fund Manager, Six Others Busted in Insider Trading Scam

Date: Friday, February 6, 2009
Author: Julie Scuderi, Editor for HedgeCo.Net

The SEC charged seven Wall Street professionals yesterday, alleging an insider trading ring that reaped over $11.6 million in illegal profits.

British residents Nicos Achilleas Stephanou of UBS and Ramesh Chakrapani of Blackstone Advisory Services are being accused of disclosing nonpublic information about pending corporate acquisitions to five other finance professionals, including hedge fund manager Joseph Contorinis of Jefferies & Company.

“It is unconscionable when these highly paid individuals abuse their access to sensitive information and enrich themselves at the expense of others," said Scott W. Friestad, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

According to the complaint, the illegal trading took place from at least November 2005 until December 2006.  Companies in which private information was dispersed include Albertson’s, ElkCorp and National Health Investors.

Achilleas Stephanou, George Paparrizos, Konstantinos Paparrizos and Michael G. Koulouroudis were also named in the complaint.

With public outcry against the SEC at an all-time high in lieu of the handful of recent fraud cases, the agency is vamping up its efforts to investigate and expose corrupt practices.

“Market professionals who may have engaged in insider trading, or may be tempted to, cannot rest comfortably in the belief that their wrongdoing will go undetected,” said Daniel M. Hawke, Director of the SEC’s Philadelphia Regional Office.

In addition to the charges brought on by the SEC, Sephanou, Contorinis, Koulouroudis and George Paparrizos will face criminal charges in New York state.