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US charges 6 individuals for alleged multimillion-dollar insider trading scheme

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York charged six individuals for allegedly being part of a multimillion-dollar insider trading scheme.

Those who were charged include London-based investment bankers Benjamin Taylor and Darina Windsor; New York-based i-banker Bryan Cohen; Telemaque Lavidas, who is the son of an ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc. board director; and securities trader Georgios Nikas. Joseph El-Khouri, also a securities trader, was arrested Oct. 21 in London. The U.S. government will seek his extradition.

Taylor worked at Moelis & Co. until 2014, the Financial Times reported. The report also said Windsor worked in Centerview Partners LLC at the time of the alleged conduct. Cohen is an investment banker with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and was placed on leave after being arrested, according to the FT. Moelis, Centerview Partners and Goldman confirmed to FT that they cooperated with authorities in the investigation.

Prosecutors alleged Taylor and Windsor stole confidential information and provided it to securities traders between 2012 to 2016. The two bankers purportedly received over $1 million of benefits from the middlemen as a result of their actions. The stolen information yielded tens of millions of dollars in illicit profits for traders, including securities traders residing in Switzerland and the U.K., prosecutors said.

Cohen allegedly stole confidential information between 2015 and 2017 and passed it to an unnamed European securities trader. Prosecutors alleged El-Khouri gave a middleman cash, gifts and other benefits, including travel expenses and hotel stays, in exchange for information that had been stolen by Taylor and Windsor. El-Khouri also allegedly traded based on the stolen information. Nikas, according to the complaint, received stolen information from Taylor, Windsor and Cohen and then traded based on it from December 2012 through 2017. The complaint also alleges he has been trading based on information provided by investment banking insiders since 2010.

Prosecutors alleged that Lavidas stole information from ARIAD Pharmaceuticals and then passed it to Nikas.