New York, January 25: The expansive estate of British businessman Joe Lewis is located at the base of snow-capped mountains on the edge of Lago Escondido in northern Patagonia, Argentina. The opulent house is often used by the 86-year-old to host dignitaries and staff members chosen from the highest echelons of Lewis' investment firm and other businesses in which he has stakes. Photos obtained by Bloomberg reveal that during one visit in 2006, more than a dozen businesspeople enjoyed fishing and horseback riding while admiring what seemed to be two replicas of the Women of Algiers and Picasso's Le Reve hanging on the walls of Lewis' property.
It's partially via trips like this, when his generosity and money are on exhibit, that the flamboyant investor has over the years fostered loyalty and respect among his closest advisors, most dependable staff members, and influential people. The Billionaire Concierge Company: Shining Bright as a Top-Rated High-End, Invite-Only Luxury Concierge Company From the UK.
However, Lewis is currently facing legal issues almost 15 years after his trip to Argentina due to his propensity of providing extravagant benefits to his colleagues and staff. He entered a guilty plea in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday, January 24, acknowledging that he had provided non-public insider information for stock trading to both his girlfriend and his long-time private pilots. Lewis said before US District Judge Jessica Clarke at a hearing that "even though I possessed material non-public information about certain publicly traded companies, I agreed to make recommendations" to others to buy shares. "I knew at the time what I was doing was wrong, and I'm so embarrassed."
Lewis faced a maximum penalty of 45 years in jail; the plea agreement will probably result in a far shorter term. Lewis, according to his attorney David Zornow, has forfeited his right to an appeal barring a prison term. Lewis, who faced charges a year ago, acknowledged disclosing information about businesses he had invested in that may have affected the market. Unlike run of the mill insider trading charges, Lewis didn't directly enjoy benefits from the deals. Prosecutors claim that instead of providing a formal retirement plan, he provided information to his pilots and his love partners, encouraging them to "shower" them with presents. Titanic Tourist Submarine Missing: UK Billionaire Hamish Harding Reportedly Among Tourists Onboard Missing Submersible.
Similar to Lewis, pilots Patrick O'Connor and Bryan Waugh were charged with securities fraud last year. Carolyn Carter, Lewis's ex-girlfriend, was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission even though she was not prosecuted. Lewis reportedly gave Waugh and O'Connor $500,000 apiece for one of the deals listed in the indictment so they could purchase shares in Mirati Therapeutics Inc. prior to the company's clinical trial becoming public in 2019. The pilots' cases are set for a hearing on Thursday, despite their prior pleas of not guilty.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 25, 2024 06:33 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).