October 17, 2016 / 10:10 PM / 3 years ago

Boston entrepreneur convicted of insider trading

Oct 17 (Reuters) - A Boston-based real estate entrepreneur was convicted on Monday of engaging in insider trading with two friends after learning of India-based Apollo Tyres Ltd’s planned attempt to buy Cooper Tire & Rubber Co in 2013.

Amit Kanodia, 49, was found guilty by a federal jury in Boston on 11 of the 19 counts he faced, including conspiracy and securities fraud. He was acquitted of the other eight counts of securities fraud, prosecutors said.

The verdict was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston. Kanodia, who had pleaded not guilty, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 18.

Kanodia’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

Prosecutors said Kanodia, of Brookline, Massachusetts, learned details about the proposed merger between Apollo and Cooper Tire from his then-wife, who was Apollo’s chief legal officer, more than two months before the deal was announced.

Prosecutors said Kanodia tipped off two of his friends, including Iftikar Ahmed, a general partner of Greenwich, Connecticut-based Oak Investment Partners.

Prosecutors said Ahmed and the other friend, Steven Watson, traded on the confidential information before the deal was announced and shared about $245,000 of their more than $1.17 million in illegal proceeds with Kanodia.Z

Those payments were made to an account Kanodia opened for a charity, Lincoln Charitable Foundation, ostensibly to raise money for flood victims in India, even though he used much of the money for his own financial investments, prosecutors said.

The merger was abandoned in December 2013 after an acrimonious legal battle between Apollo and Cooper Tire.

Both Kanodia and Ahmed were charged in connection with the insider trading scheme in April 2015, and Watson pleaded guilty that August as part of a cooperation deal with prosecutors.

Ahmed fled the United States for India in May 2015. Prosecutors have since separately accused him of embezzling $54 million from Oak Investment Partners.

The case is U.S. v. Kanodia et al, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 15-cr-10131. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)

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