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Benhamou Aid to U.S. Should Mean No Jail Time, Lawyer Says

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Yves Benhamou, a French doctor who passed information on drug trials to FrontPoint Partners LLC fund manager Joseph F. “Chip” Skowron, deserves to be sentenced to time served for aiding the U.S., his lawyer said.

Benhamou, 51, pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud and obstruction for passing tips that Human Genome Sciences Inc.’s hepatitis C drug trials were being halted.

Benhamou said in papers filed today in federal court in Manhattan that he should be rewarded for providing “substantial assistance” to the government’s investigation of insider trading. He spent 24 days in jail after his arrest in November 2010, and more than nine months under highly restrictive home detention after being released on bond, according to his filing.

“We request that the court sentence Dr. Benhamou to time served,” his lawyer, David Zornow, wrote in court papers. “We submit that the requested sentence is appropriate because Dr. Benhamou has been punished already.”

Benhamou faces from 108 to 135 months in prison, according to a pre-sentencing report prepared for U.S. District Judge George Daniels on the basis of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines are only recommendations. He is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 21.

Zornow argued that the report’s calculation “is so disproportionate to Dr. Benhamou’s conduct that a non-guidelines sentence is warranted.”

Skowron, a Yale University-educated physician from Greenwich, Connecticut, who pleaded guilty in August, was sentenced last month to five years in prison. He admitted that after Benhamou passed him the non-public information, FrontPoint sold its stock, avoiding $30 million in losses, the U.S. said.

The case is U.S. v. Benhamou, 11-CR-336, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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