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Pequot Gets Unwanted SEC Attention
Pequot Capital Management has gotten the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged insider and manipulative trading, an investigation that a former SEC lawyer says cost him his job.
Pequot Capital Management has gotten the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged insider and manipulative trading, reports The New York Times, an investigation that a former SEC lawyer says cost him his job. According to the Times, that lawyer, Gary Aguirre, says he was fired last September less than two weeks after receiving a merit raise with praise for having consistently gone the extra mile, and then some in the investigation of Pequot following disagreement with his bosses over taking testimony from Pequot founder Arthur Samberg. Aguirre, who was with the agency for about a year, had been probing Pequot for possible insider trading, claiming the Westport, Conn.-based hedge fund made some $18 million by acquiring shares in companies just before mergers were announced. Aguirre, reports the Times, has told members of Senate Subcommittee on Securities and Investments in an 18-page letters that on 18 occasions he referred what he termed suspicious transactions to the SEC, which had supported the inquiries. That is, until it involved subpoenaing Samberg and then Aguirres career at the SEC unraveled. Now the Senate is looking into whether the SEC took action against Aguirre due to political considerations. As for those political considerations, the Times quotes government officials saying the agency came under pressure from Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, who has a longtime association with Pequot, including a brief stint as its chairman last year. Mack, however, was vetted before heading for Morgan Stanley and given a clean bill of health, and the company says the SEC has not contacted Mack about this matter. Pequot, for its part, denies any wrongdoing.