Federal investigators are looking into possible insider trading in Abbott’s 2009 buyout of Advanced Medical Optics for $2.8 billion by baseball players including Hall of Fame slugger Eddie Murray and former AMO head James Mazzo.
Citing "people familiar with the 3-year-old probe," the Reuters news service said securities regulators and prosecutors are investigating whether Murray acted on advance notice of the deal. Murray has not been charged.
Doug DeCinces, Murray’s former teammate on the Baltimore Orioles, agreed to pony up $2.5 million last year to settle SEC charges that he began purchasing shares of Advanced Medical Optics on information from someone inside the company and tipped 3 others who also traded on the confidential information. DeCinces did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.
And in August 2011, a personal injury lawyer in California named Dean Goetz was charged with reaping an illegal $11,000 profit on information that he stole from his daughter, who was a lawyer working at AMO at the time. Goetz paid a $24,000 penalty.
The Murray probe is related to the DeCinces investigation, according to Reuters; those investigations were in turn spurred by the conviction of Galleon Management hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam (who was convicted last year of 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud and is serving an 11-year prison sentence). Investigators have turned up leaks about the Advanced Medical Optics deal from a number of sources, according to the news service, including people who worked for AMO, its law firm, Skadden Arps and its merger adviser, Goldman Sachs Group, "according to court records and people familiar with that matter," Reuters reported.
Mazzo, who’s a senior vice president at AMO now that it’s an Abbott subsidiary, is suspected of being 1 of the leakers, Reuters said. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Other suspected leakers include Goldman Sachs managing partner Matthew Korenberg and Paul Yook, a former portfolio manager at Galleon.