UK billionaire Joe Lewis charged with insider trading in US | Inquirer Business

UK billionaire Joe Lewis charged with insider trading in US

/ 10:33 AM July 26, 2023

Joe Lewis

Tavistock founder Joe Lewis stands on the 18th green after the second day of the Tavistock Cup golf tournament in Windermere, Fla., March 15, 2011.  (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

NEW YORK  — British billionaire and Tottenham soccer team owner Joe Lewis has been indicted in the U.S. on charges of slipping confidential business information to others, including his romantic partners and private pilots, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Manhattan-based U.S. attorney Damian Williams announced the insider trading case in a video posted on Twitter.


Williams outlined charges of “brazen” insider dealing by Lewis, saying that he exploited his entrée to various corporations to reap tips that he slipped to people in his own inner circle, who deployed the knowledge to make stock trades and millions of dollars.


“As we allege, he used insider information as a way to compensate his employees and shower gifts on his friends and lovers,” Williams said. “It’s cheating, and it’s against the law.”

David M. Zornow, an attorney for Lewis, said in a statement that the “government has made an egregious error in judgment in charging Mr. Lewis, an 86-year-old man of impeccable integrity and prodigious accomplishment. Mr. Lewis has come to the US voluntarily to answer these ill-conceived charges, and we will defend him vigorously in court.”

According to the indictment, Lewis’ investments in various companies gave him control of board seats, where he placed associates who let him know what they learned behind the scenes. Lewis allegedly doled out that confidential information to his chosen recipients and urged them to trade on it.

At one point, according to the indictment, he even loaned his two private pilots $500,000 apiece to buy stock in a cancer-drug company that had gotten — but not yet publicly disclosed — encouraging results from a clinical trial.

“Boss is helping us out and told us to get ASAP,” the pilot texted when advising a friend to buy the stock, too, according to the filing. In later texts telling the friend about the loan, the pilot reasoned that “the Boss has inside info” and “knows the outcome.”

“Otherwise why would he make us invest,” the pilot added.


Lewis, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $6.1 billion, bought Tottenham from famed British entrepreneur Alan Sugar in 2001. Under Lewis’ ownership, one of the most storied soccer clubs in England has built a state-of-the-art stadium at an estimated cost of more than $1 billion. It features an NFL field below the moveable soccer pitch, as Tottenham has a long-term agreement with the NFL to stage regular-season games in London.

But the London team, founded in 1882 and nicknamed Spurs — after its full name, Tottenham Hotspur — has found trophies hard to come by. Its last piece of silverware was the English League Cup in 2008, although it did advance to the Champions League final — European club soccer’s most prestigious tournament — in 2019. Liverpool won.

The Premier League club boasts star Harry Kane, its all-time leading scorer, though he will become a free agent at the end of the season.

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A message seeking comment was sent to the team, which is on tour in Singapore.

TAGS: billionaire, British, insider trading

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