August 4, 2016 / 3:46 PM / 3 years ago

Ex-Wall Street banker says he did not give insider tips to father

NEW YORK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A former Wall Street investment banker proclaimed on Thursday that he was innocent of insider trading charges, testifying that he never tipped his father off to inside information about healthcare mergers.

Sean Stewart, an ex-banker at Perella Weinberg Partners and JPMorgan Chase & Co, took the stand in his own defense and told jurors in federal court in Manhattan that he had a great relationship with his father but never intended to help him profit through insider trading.

“I never gave my father information so he could trade on it,” Stewart testified.

Stewart’s trial began last week, and he testified shortly after prosecutors rested in presenting evidence against him.

Stewart, 35, was charged in May 2015 alongside his father, Robert Stewart, an accountant. Prosecutors say Robert Stewart and a friend made $1.16 million trading on tips about five healthcare deals provided by his son from 2011 to 2014.

The case has resulted in guilty pleas by Robert Stewart, 61, and his friend, Richard Cunniffe, 62, who, according to prosecutors, secretly recorded the elder Stewart saying his son criticized him for not trading on a tip.

Lawyers for Sean Stewart contend their client was unaware of the insider trading scheme. They contend the banker’s father betrayed his son to execute trades based on company names his son mentioned while discussing his work.

The trial stems from one of several insider trading cases pursued by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, which has charged 107 people since 2009.

The trial is the office’s first since it suffered a major setback in 2014 when an appellate court limited the scope of insider trading laws, causing charges against 14 people to be dropped or dismissed.

The case is U.S. v. Stewart, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-cr-00287. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

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