Wider Net

NEW YORK, November 6, 2009 (AFP) – Law enforcement officials in New York announced Thursday charges against 14 people in a widening probe into the largest ever alleged hedge-fund insider trading scheme on Wall Street. US Attorney Preet Bharara and New York’s assistant FBI director Joseph Demarest said the accused took part in insider trading schemes that “generated more than 20 million dollars in illegal profits.”

They included hedge fund managers and trading firm executives, lawyers and corporate insiders, the prosecutor and FBI officer said in a statement.

Of the 14, eight were arrested early Thursday, while a ninth was being sought, and later released on bail. Five other defendants had already been charged and have pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to insider trading crimes.

The FBI sweep was linked to the ongoing probe into alleged insider trading by Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire Sri Lankan founder of the hedge fund Galleon Management LP.

Galleon was shut down last month and Rajaratnam and five others were arrested in what prosecutors called “the largest hedge fund insider trading case in history.”

Twenty people have now been charged in the insider trading probe.

Bharara