NEW YORK – On October 18, Bryan Cohen, a Goldman Sachs vice president in the Consumer Retail industry group, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for improper use of insider information concerning impending corporate deals, Euronews reported.
Cohen, 33, “is the third Goldman Sachs employee to be charged in an insider trading scheme since May 2018,” Euronews reported, adding that he was “arraigned on Friday before a U.S. magistrate judge in Manhattan and released after he posted $250,000 and ordered to refrain from the ‘conduct alleged,’ according to court records. A pre-trial hearing is set for Oct. 22.”
Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Nicole Sharp said on October 19 that the firm is “cooperating with the authorities on the situation regarding Mr. Cohen. Protecting client confidential information is our highest internal priority and we condemn this alleged behavior,” Euronews reported adding that Cohen’s lawyer did not respond at press time to a request for comment.
George Nikas, 54, a Greek citizen is also named in the SEC complaint, Euronews reported, adding that he has homes in New York and Athens and owns the GRK Fresh restaurant chain with locations in Manhattan among others. Nikas’ lawyer was not available for comment at press time.
“The complaint says the pair participated in a scheme that netted Nikas at least $2.6 million in illicit profits by trading shares in two companies” and “Cohen passed on non-public corporate deal information to an unnamed trader who in turn gave it to Nikas who used it to illegally trade securities, the SEC said,” Euronews reported, noting that “Cohen got cash in exchange for information he gave the trader.”
The trader and Nikas “realized millions of dollars in illicit gains from trading the securities of at least two different public companies — Syngenta AG and Buffalo Wild Wings Inc — in advance of news that these companies had been targeted for acquisition,” the SEC said, Euronews reported.
Nikas allegedly “profited from buying Syngenta securities in 2015 after first being passed information about Monsanto Co’s proposal to acquire it and later about ChemChina’s interest,” the SEC said, Euronews reported.
Additional trades were prompted in October 2017 after “Cohen passed along that Arby’s Restaurant Group was interested in acquiring Buffalo Wild Wings,” the SEC said, Euronews reported.