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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Former Tottenham Owner Avoids Jail Time in ‘Brazen’ Insider Trading Case

  • Billionaire Joe Lewis will pay a $5 million fine and spend three years on probation.
  • His family trust still owns the club, but Lewis no longer controls it.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Lewis, the former longtime owner of Tottenham Hotspur who pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in January, avoided prison time in his sentencing by a federal judge in New York on Thursday. Lewis was initially charged with more than a dozen counts of security fraud and conspiracy, which carried a potential sentence of up to 25 years, but he ultimately pleaded guilty to just three. U.S. sentencing guidelines based on his plea deal that recommended a maximum of 18 to 24 months in prison.

U.S. District Judge Jessica Clarke sentenced the 87-year-old British billionaire to three years of probation and a $5 million fine. She said his age and poor health were the reasons to avoid a prison sentence.

It’s a light slap on the wrist for Lewis, whose family still controls a majority of the soccer club. His charges included sharing information on four companies in his portfolio to friends, romantic partners, and associates—including two pilots for his private plane—which prosecutors say allowed them to make millions of dollars. He was hit with 16 counts of securities fraud, pleading guilty to two, and three counts of conspiracy, pleading guilty to one. Prosecutors described his conduct as a “brazen insider trading scheme” when he was indicted last summer.

One of Lewis’s companies, Broad Bay Ltd., will pay a $50 million penalty after also pleading guilty to securities fraud. He will resign from seats on the board at U.S. companies and give up majority ownership of the biotech fund Boxer Capital.

Lewis has a net worth of $6.3 billion, according to Forbes, making him the 465th richest person in the world. His former team, still controlled by his family’s trust, is valued at $2.8 billion, and has expressed interest in selling a minority stake. 

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