Report: U.S. investigating SEC, hedge fund

June 23, 2006 at 2:13 AM
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NEW YORK, June 23 (UPI) -- U.S. regulators are investigating one of America's most prominent hedge funds, Pequot Capital Management, for possible insider trading, it was reported.

Citing government officials briefed on the case, The New York Times reported that the investigation has not led to any charges against the company.

The SEC would not confirm or deny that it is investigating the $7 billion fund, but a lawyer who once led the SEC investigation has told Congress that Pequot's trading has aroused suspicion among stock exchange officials -- who, records show, have referred cases to the SEC for further investigation on 18 separate occasions.

In one case, the lawyer reportedly told Congress, Pequot made $18 million through investments in companies that subsequently announced a major corporate merger in July 2001.

The Times also reported that the SEC's handling of the matter has itself come under the scrutiny of Congress and the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates whistle-blower complaints. Officials are reportedly looking into charges by Gary Aguirre, the SEC lawyer who ran the Pequot investigation until 2005, that his superiors supported his investigation until he tried to have an influential Wall Street executive testify.

Aguirre told Congress he was fired last September after losing an argument over taking testimony from the executive.

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