Ex-UBS Banker Poteroba Pleads Guilty to Insider Scheme

Igor Poteroba, a former UBS AG investment banker, pleaded guilty to insider-trading charges after being accused of tipping friends to potential mergers.

Poteroba, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and three counts of securities fraud yesterday before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty in Manhattan, according to court records. Poteroba agreed to forfeit $465,000 in proceeds from the crime.

He’s in a federal jail in Manhattan, unable to post $5 million bail set in March. At the March bail hearing, prosecutors said Poteroba had admitted to trading on inside information.

Poteroba, who worked in UBS Securities LLC’s Global Healthcare Group in New York, was charged and arrested in March along with Alexi Koval, a Chicago man who allegedly traded on the information. Poteroba was accused of leaking tips about potential mergers and acquisitions involving six public companies to Koval and an unnamed third person.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against Poteroba, Koval and Alexander Vorobiev, who now lives in Russia. All three are Russian citizens, according to the SEC.

Prosecutors claimed the inside information was connected to mergers or acquisitions involving Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., Molecular Devices Corp., PharmaNet Development Group Inc., ViaCell Inc., Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Indevus Pharmaceuticals.

A spokeswoman for the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking a copy of Poteroba’s plea agreement.

Kelly Smith, a spokeswoman for Zurich-based UBS, declined to comment on Poteroba’s guilty plea.

The case is U.S. v. Poteroba, 10-mag-00562, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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