Ex-AT&T employee admits leaking Apple, RIM info

NEW YORK Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:26pm EDT

Attendees sit in front of an Apple logo during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Attendees sit in front of an Apple logo during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former AT&T (T.N) employee admitted on Monday to sharing company secrets such as sales numbers for Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone to traders who illegally bought shares on the information.

Alnoor Ebrahim, 57, a U.S. citizen born in Tanzania, is the latest person to plead guilty in the U.S. government's crackdown on insider trading, which claimed its biggest target to date on Friday - former Goldman Sachs Group Inc board member Rajat Gupta.

Ebrahim was part of a so-called expert-network ring where some employees of specialized firms such as Primary Global Research (PGR) helped funnel corporate secrets from consultants at companies to hedge funds.

"I provided insider information concerning AT&T's sales of Apple's iPhone and RIM's (Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO) Blackberry products, as well as other handset set devices sold through AT&T distribution channels," Ebrahim told U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan.

Ebrahim pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud. Manhattan federal prosecutors, in a plea agreement with the defense, recommended that Ebrahim be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison.

"We took this matter very seriously and cooperated fully with the authorities," said AT&T spokesman Marty Richtman. "The conduct alleged was clearly against our code of business conduct, and Mr. Ebrahim is no longer an AT&T employee."

An attorney for former Silicon Valley sales manager James Fleishman, who is imprisoned on conspiracy charges, identified Ebrahim as a PGR consultant in court documents last year.

The case is U.S. v. Alnoor Ebrahim, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, case number unknown.

(Reporting By Basil Katz)

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