NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) - A lead prosecutor in the U.S. government’s insider trading investigation of hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors has left the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office to join the law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
Antonia Apps, who helped secure a $1.2 billion criminal plea deal from Steven A. Cohen’s SAC Capital last year and the December conviction of SAC portfolio manager Michael Steinberg, will join Milbank as a partner, the New York firm announced Wednesday.
Apps, who prosecuted more than 20 insider trading defendants, said in an interview she believed the cases she and other prosecutors under Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had pursued in recent years had helped deter wrongdoing.
Since Bharara took office in 2009, 81 people have been convicted of insider trading.
“The question that often comes up is whether there is any deterrence,” she said. “I believe in deterrence, and I believe there is.”
Apps, 45, joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in 2007 from the Washington law firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel.
She will start at Milbank on Sept. 22.
She took the lead in the prosecution of Steinberg, a portfolio manager at SAC Capital who was convicted for trading on illegal tips about Dell Inc and Nvidia Corp.
Steinberg, who was sentenced in May to 3-1/2 years in prison, is appealing, as are two other fund managers charged in the same alleged scheme whose earlier convictions have become the subject of a closely watched appeal Apps argued in April.
Those defendants are Todd Newman, a former portfolio manager at Diamondback Capital Management, and Anthony Chiasson, co-founder of Level Global Investors, who in 2013 were sentenced to 4-1/2 years and 6-1/2 years in prison, respectively.
They have argued the government should have been required to prove they knew the insider who originally disclosed non-public information received a benefit for the alleged tip.
Some judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals during oral arguments appeared sympathetic to their interpretation of the law during arguments.
Cohen has not been criminally charged, but continues to face a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission administrative case for failing to supervise Steinberg and another portfolio manager and prevent insider trading. He denies wrongdoing.
His Stamford, Connecticut-based firm has meanwhile rebranded itself as Point72 Asset Management as it shifted to focusing on primarily on managing Cohen’s personal fortune. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Bernadette Baum)