Ex-Nvidia analyst admits insider trading charge

Retail Reuters

By Grant McCool

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former Nvidia Corp financial analyst pleaded guilty on Friday to a criminal charge in the U.S. probe of insider trading at expert networking firms and hedge funds.

Sonny Nguyen, 39, told U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York at the plea proceeding that in 2007 and 2008 he tipped former Primary Global Research consultant Winifred Jiau about chipmaker Nvidia's quarterly financial results before they were announced to the public.

Jiau, a former technology consultant with Primary Global in California, is scheduled to go on trial before the same judge on June 1. Nguyen, who was released on $100,000 bond, is expected to testify at the trial, the court heard.

Nguyen is among at least 14 people who have been charged in the investigation of expert networking firms that match investment managers with public companies.

Nguyen pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud.

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"I provided material nonpublic information to my co-conspirators ... about Nvidia Corporation quarterly financial results and in exchange I received similar stock tips," Nguyen told the judge.

He identified two co-conspirators: Winifred Jiau and Stanley Ng. It was not immediately clear who Ng is.

Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia said in a statement that it put Nguyen on administrative leave after the company was told he intended to admit to involvement in the case.

"He has now resigned. This was a clear violation of law and our company policies," the Nvidia statement said. "We continue to cooperate fully with the New York U.S. attorney's office and the FBI."

Court records indicate that later on Friday a hedge fund manager, Samir Barai, is expected to plead guilty to charges of trading on illegal tips provided by Jiau.

The case is USA v Jiau et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-161.

(Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)