Leon Cooperman, the hedge-fund legend accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of insider trading, reiterated Tuesday that he did nothing wrong and defended the role of his son in the case.
An outspoken billionaire who worked his way up from the South Bronx, Cooperman is facing one of the toughest patches of his long career. The SEC accused both Cooperman, 73, and his Omega Advisors Inc. last month with insider trading in Atlas Pipeline Partners securities in 2010. Omega’s assets have plunged almost in half from $9.4 billion in early 2015 as clients have pulled their money.
Cooperman, appearing on CNBC, answered questions about the role of his son, Wayne, who runs hedge fund Cobalt Capital Management. The SEC case cited a Cooperman relative who had reached out to an Atlas executive to complain about suspicious trades.
"He complained because there was unusual activity and options, and he thought somebody knew something," Cooperman said on CNBC adding that he’s Cobalt’s largest investor. "He didn’t throw me under the bus or do anything. We love each other."
His son was betting against Atlas shares, Cooperman said. He also spoke about how the case has impacted Omega.
"The damage to the firm has dramatically impacted the opportunity for professional growth for my 43 partners and associates," Cooperman said in a statement released Tuesday ahead of appearances on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.
He said on CNBC that he could have settled the case with the SEC for “less than half” of what he donates to charity every year. In 2014, the most recent year in which such data are widely available, the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation gave $15.2 million to various causes, according to an IRS filing.
This story was provided by Bloomberg News.