In the United States, billionaire casino magnate Carl Icahn could reportedly be about to be pulled into the high-profile insider trading trial taking place in a Manhattan federal court against Las Vegas-based sportsbetting entrepreneur William Walters.
According to a report from The New York Times newspaper, Walters has been charged in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with using non-public information while trading shares in dairy processing giant Dean Foods before pocketing the profits and avoiding losses of more than $40 million.
The newspaper reported that the action against Kentucky-born Walters constitutes one of the nation’s most significant criminal insider trading cases for many years and has even seen the former Chairman for Dallas-based Deal Foods, Thomas Davis, serving as a key cooperating witness.
The New York Times reported that prosecutors used a Friday hearing to ask judge Peter Kevin Castel for permission to present new evidence in the case that allegedly showed that Walters could have been involved in improperly trading in shares in The Clorox Company based on tips he may have received from Icahn in 2011.
Federal lawyers reportedly argued that the door for the presentation of the new evidence had been opened after Walters’ attorney, Barry Berke, told jurors that it had not been uncommon for the defendant to make “big bets” amounting to “tens of millions of dollars at a time”. They asserted that introducing The Clorox Company trading information would help to demonstrate a pattern of suspect trades.
“We would like the jury to know that getting this sort of an edge; he has done it in other stocks as well,” federal prosecutor Michael Ferrara reportedly told Castel on Friday. “We’d like to say there’s some other suspicious trading as well.”
Over the weekend, Berke reportedly issued a statement explaining that the government’s assertion had been “pure speculation” before adding that prosecutors were seeking “to have the jury draw legal conclusions that are simply wrong.”
Jonathan Streeter, a lawyer working on behalf of Icahn, told The New York Times that his 81-year-old client, who last month agreed to a deal to sell the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City to Hard Rock Café International Incorporated and a pair of New Jersey businessmen for an unspecified price, had “never done anything improper with respect to” The Clorox Company or “any other stock.”
The New York Times reported that this is not the first time that Icahn’s name has been mentioned in connection with the case. During jury selection, the New York-born businessman’s name was on a list of those who could possibly come up during the trial as a witness or as a person being discussed. Icahn, who is not expected to appear in court, was moreover mentioned last week during direct testimony from Davis after he asserted that the magnate and Walters had enjoyed a familiar relationship with the latter referring to Icahn as “my friend in New York.”