SAC settlement gets tentative OK

NEW YORK — A New York judge on Tuesday approved a $602 million payment that would resolve insider trading allegations against SAC Capital Advisors — pending a ruling in another case that involves Citigroup and the SEC.

Judge Victor Marrero said the settlement payment is fair, but said he is ‘‘troubled’’ by the idea that CR Intrinsic Investors LLC, a fund affiliated with billionaire Steven Cohen’s SAC, and others could make a large payment to resolve the allegations without admitting or denying that they engaged in insider trading.

SAC agreed to the settlement in March. Federal regulators say it’s the largest insider trading settlement to date.


Marrero is waiting for a federal appeals court to rule on a judge’s decision to reject Citigroup Inc.’s $285 million settlement over toxic mortgage securities. In that ruling, Judge Jed Rakoff said the Securities and Exchange Commission shouldn’t accept a settlement without an admission of liability.

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The SEC said it is reviewing Marrero’s judgment.

The SEC charged CR Intrinsic Investors with insider trading late last year, saying portfolio manager Mathew Martoma illegally obtained confidential details about an Alzheimer’s drug trial from a doctor before the final results went public and traded on that information. Martoma and CR Intrinsic then caused several hedge funds to sell more than $960 million in Elan Corp. and Wyeth securities in a little more than a week.

Regulators added SAC Capital Advisors and associated funds as defendants. The agency said each fund received ill-gotten gains from the scheme.