Cypriot sentenced to time served in US insider case

* Convicted ex-UBS man already spent 19 months in jail

* Cooperated in insider trading probe of Albertsons’ stock

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK, Dec 22 (BestGrowthStock) – A convicted former UBS AG
(UBS.N: ) (UBSN.VX: ) manager was sentenced on Wednesday to 19
months time served in jail after he cooperated in a U.S.
government insider trading prosecution also involving a former
Jefferies Group (JEF.N: ) hedge fund manager.

Nicos Stephanou, a 36-year-old citizen of Cyprus, was
arrested in December 2008 and immediately agreed to cooperate
in the probe of confidential information leaked about
supermarket chain Albertsons Inc before its 2006 buyout, and
inside tips on other companies.

Prosecutors said Stephanou and others reaped up to $14
million in illegal profits for himself, and family and friends
in Greece, Cyprus and the United States.

“The message has to be sent out that this is not a casual
crime,” said U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan at the
sentencing proceeding in New York. “This is not the way to do
business.”

In the same case last Friday, the judge sentenced Joseph
Contorinis, 46, the former general partner of Jefferies Asset
Management LLC’s Jefferies Paragon Fund to six years in prison
after his conviction on fraud charges. [ID:nN17254766]

Stephanou testified as a government witness at Contorinis’s
trial. Stephanou was jailed until August this year and is
expected to be deported from the United States. Prosecutors
said he would continue to cooperate in government
investigations.

In court on Wednesday, Stephanou expressed his deep remorse
for his conduct and the hurt he caused to his fiancee, parents
and other family members. “It is a heavy burden that I will
carry on my shoulders for the rest of my life.”

The case is one of several brought by U.S. prosecutors in
New York in 2009 over allegations of insider trading at hedge
funds. It is unrelated to a high-profile probe and charges
against Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam and more than
20 others, or arrests and charges in the past month of
consultants accused of leaking company tips to hedge funds.

The case is USA v Stephanou, U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York, No. 09-467.
(Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

Cypriot sentenced to time served in US insider case