(Reuters) - A former investment banking vice president pleaded guilty on Thursday to a U.S. charge that he engaged in insider trading in Neustar Inc shares before the advertising technology company announced it would be acquired by a private equity firm.
Avaneesh Krishnamoorthy, a 42-year-old Indian citizen living in West New York, New Jersey, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan, admitting that he made trades based on confidential information he learned through his employer.
"I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I take full responsibility," he said.
Krishnamoorthy was until recently a market risk manager for Nomura Holdings Inc, according to a LinkedIn profile that was publicly available when he was charged in April. A Nomura spokeswoman declined to comment on his plea. U.S. brokerage industry records show he is not now registered with any brokerage firm.
As part of his plea deal, Krishnamoorthy has agreed not to appeal any prison sentence of 16 months or less.
Prosecutors charged that Krishnamoorthy made about $48,000 trading Neustar stock and options in a brokerage account held by him and his wife, after learning that private equity firm Golden Gate Capital was in talks to buy the company.
Shares of Neustar rose 21 percent last Dec. 14 after the announcement of Golden Gate's planned takeover of the Sterling, Virginia-based company for about $2.9 billion including debt.
The criminal insider trading case is the first announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan since his predecessor Preet Bharara, who brought many such cases, was fired by U.S. President Donald Trump on March 11.
Krishnamoorthy was also hit with a civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is still pending.
The cases are U.S. v. Krishnamoorthy, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-mag-03002; and SEC v. Krishnamoorthy in the same court, No. 17-02953.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz