* Robert Ramnarine pleads guilty to securities fraud
* Defendant accused of buying options in takeover targets
By Jonathan Stempel
June 10 A former Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
finance executive on Monday pleaded guilty to an insider trading
charge, admitting to buying stock options in a biotechnology
company that the drugmaker was preparing to buy.
Robert Ramnarine, 46, admitted to one count of securities
fraud for trading in Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc options before
Bristol-Myers agreed to buy that company last June for $5.3
billion, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey said.
Federal prosecutors had last August charged Ramnarine with
three counts of securities fraud.
They said he made $311,361 of illegal profit from August
2010 to July 2012 from options trading in Amylin and two other
companies that Bristol-Myers sought to buy - Pharmasset Inc and
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a parallel
civil fraud case against Ramnarine.
Investigators said Ramnarine learned about the takeovers
while working as a director and later as an executive director
in Bristol-Myers' pension and savings investments office in
Princeton, New Jersey.
They also said the East Brunswick, New Jersey resident did
Internet searches on insider trading detection prior to some of
his trades, including a review of an article titled "Ways to
Avoid Insider Trading."
Ramnarine entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Anne
Thompson in Trenton, New Jersey.
He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $5 million fine
when he is sentenced on Sept. 26. Ramnarine agreed to forfeit
$311,361, and Fishman said the sentence can take into account
his trades in Pharmasset and ZymoGenetics, as well as Amylin.
Douglas Jensen, a lawyer for Ramnarine, did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
Ramnarine had worked for Bristol-Myers for 15 years, the
last of which as assistant treasurer for capital markets. His
employment with the New York-based company ended last August
after criminal charges were announced, court records show.
Bristol-Myers bought ZymoGenetics for $885 million in
October 2010. Gilead Sciences Inc bought Pharmasset for
about $11.2 billion in January 2012 after Bristol-Myers dropped
out of talks.
The cases are U.S. v. Ramnarine, U.S. District Court,
District of New Jersey, No. 12-mj-08121; and SEC v. Ramnarine in
the same court, No. 12-04837.