Platinum Partners Said to Be Raided by FBI Amid Bribes Probe

  • Raid focuses on hedge fund’s operations, a person said
  • FBI and Postal Service agents visited firm’s offices in N.Y.

Platinum Partners’ offices were raided by federal agents looking into the hedge fund’s operations after a manager at the firm was charged this month with bribing a union chief, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The raid is separate from the bribery probe, the person said. It adds to the woes at the firm, which is considering shutting down its main hedge fund, another person said last week. A final decision is still pending because the situation is in flux, that person said.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were at Platinum’s offices in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday morning, the person said. Both people requested anonymity because they’re not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Kelly Langmesser, a spokeswoman for the FBI in New York, said that agents conducted a "law enforcement action" at the hedge fund. She declined to comment further.

“Platinum Partners is in receipt of a search warrant from law enforcement and are fully cooperating,” said Montieth Illingworth, a spokesman for the firm. “We look forward to resolving this on a timely basis.”

Illingworth declined to comment on whether firm is considering shutting down its main fund. “Platinum Partners is committed to managing the assets in the Value Arbitrage fund to maximize investor returns,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, there were two officers wearing Postal Inspection jackets in the lobby of the tower which houses Platinum’s offices. They declined to comment. The investigation, which also involves the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, focuses on the hedge fund’s business, the person said.

In the bribery case, Murray Huberfeld, a manager at Platinum Partners, and Norman Seabrook, head of the New York City corrections officers’ union, were charged earlier this month by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and accused of taking part in a two-year scheme that began in November 2013.

Seabrook’s lawyer, Paul Shechtman, has previously said the labor chief would fight the charges. He didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment Wednesday. Huberfeld’s lawyer, Eliot Lauer, declined to comment.

Huberfeld is accused of giving Seabrook bribes including a Ferragamo bag stuffed with $60,000 in cash to secure a $20 million pension investment. Seabrook was also to be paid a portion of the profits from the union’s investment, which Huberfeld estimated would be between $100,000 and $150,000 a year, according to the government.

The case is USA v. Seabrook, 1:16-mj-03626, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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