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Hedge Fund SAC Capital Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud Charges

Hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors has pleaded not guilty to wire and securities fraud, a day after federal prosecutors in New York charged the firm in connection with an alleged insider trading scheme.

Peter Nussbaum, SAC's general counsel, entered the plea on behalf of the firm, one of Wall Street's biggest hedge funds.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonia Apps told a federal judge in Manhattan that "voluminous" evidence, including "electronic messages, instant messages, court-ordered wiretaps and consensual recordings" existed to prove that SAC Capital knowingly participated in insider trading over a 10-year period.

SAC's owner, billionaire Steven Cohen, is already the subject of a civil case by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to two portfolio managers, Mathew Martoma and Michael Steinberg, who prosecutors say were allowed to execute trades based on insider knowledge.

As NPR's Elise Hu reported Thursday, Cohen says he didn't see a key, incriminating email because he gets too many messages.

The firm issued a statement earlier this week saying it "has never encouraged, promoted or tolerated insider trading and takes its compliance and management obligations seriously."

In March, SAC affiliates agreed to pay more than $600 million in penalties related to charges that they participated in an insider trading scheme involving a clinical trial for a new Alzheimer's drug.

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