July 21, 2024

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Archegos founder Bill Hwang found guilty over fund’s collapse

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A New York jury has found former Wall Street trader Bill Hwang guilty of fraud and market manipulation, more than three years after the implosion of his fund Archegos sent tremors through global equity markets and left major banks nursing billions of dollars in losses.

The verdict on Wednesday came after an eight-week trial in which prosecutors sought to prove that Hwang lied to lenders and “deceived the market” with secretive trading strategies that allowed him to drive up the share price of a handful of media and technology groups, before a series of adverse events led to a sudden sell-off in March 2021.

Hwang, 60, a devout Christian born in South Korea who was once one of the wealthiest evangelicals in America, was expressionless as the verdict was read out, and calmly shook his legal team’s hands when proceedings were over. He remains free on bail until sentencing on October 28. His lead attorney Barry Berke declined to say whether Hwang would appeal against the verdict.

US attorney Damian Williams, whose office in the Southern District of New York brought the case, said Hwang had “lied about Archegos’s positions in these companies and just about every other materially important metric investment banks would use in determining the firm’s creditworthiness”.

During the trial, Berke had argued that Hwang merely “bought these stocks because he loved them” and accused the US government of having “no theory” as to how his client would have stood to benefit from building outsized positions in specific companies.

Hwang was found guilty of 10 out of the 11 charges he faced. Former Archegos chief financial officer Patrick Halligan, who was tried alongside Hwang, was also found guilty on three counts, including racketeering and fraud. Jurors deliberated for about a day and a half before returning their decision.

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2024-07-10 17:37:40

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