Swiss Trader at Heart of Insider Ring Reaches Deal With SEC

Swiss Trader Who Was at Heart of Global Insider Ring Sued by SEC

A former trader who admitted to a central role in an international insider trading scheme and cooperated with U.S. prosecutors reached a deal in a suit filed against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Marc Demane Debih, 51, agreed to an order barring him from violating U.S. securities fraud laws, the SEC said in a statement on Tuesday. He’ll also be subject to civil penalties, the amount of which will be decided by a judge at a later date.

The SEC sued Demane Debih on Tuesday in federal court in New York, alleging he made at least $49 million by trading on inside information and tipping off others ahead of corporate announcements from 2011 until at least 2017. A host of participants in the scheme, including former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Bryan Cohen, have been prosecuted, and Demane Debih himself pleaded guilty to criminal charges in October 2019.

The SEC routinely files parallel civil actions against people accused of criminal securities fraud, and the suit may indicate Demane Debih is finishing his cooperation. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10, and prosecutors must file their sentencing recommendation on Wednesday. 

Lawyers representing Demane Debih didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment on the suit.

Global Reach

Demane Debih’s assistance helped lead to the prosecution of at least half a dozen others linked to the scheme. The former Geneva-based trader served as the star witness in the January 2020 trial of Telemaque Lavidas, the son of a pharmaceutical company director. Lavidas was accused of leaking company secrets to a friend who passed them on to Demane Debih. He was convicted and sentenced to a year and a day in prison in July 2020. 

Tuesday’s SEC lawsuit was filed a little more than a week after an Israeli man linked to the scheme, Dov Malnik, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Malnik and business partner Tomer Feingold, both Israeli citizens living in Geneva, were charged in February with crimes including conspiracy and securities fraud in a previously sealed federal indictment that was made public in June. Malnik pleaded guilty in June, and Feingold remains at large.

Demane Debih passed tips to Feingold and Malnik, in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks, based on information he got from Benjamin Taylor, a former Moelis & Co. banker, and Darina Windsor, formerly of Centerview Partners, according to trial testimony and court fillings. Taylor and Windsor, a couple who shared a London apartment, were charged by the U.S. in October 2019 and have yet to respond to the allegations.

Cohen, the former Goldman banker, pleaded guilty in January 2020 to passing tips about deals involving Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. and Syngenta AG to Demane Debih and was sentenced to a year of home confinement.

The case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Demane Debih, 21-cv-10138, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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